I’ve started correcting the proofs for my new book What the Victorians Made of Romanticism. The book will be published by Princeton University Press in the autumn. Correcting proofs is a painstaking business, but so far there are very few errors. Publishers hate authors who change their mind about things once the book has been typeset, because changes at this stage are expensive and delay production. So it’s too late to make any big changes to the book now.
Next week I’ll be giving a talk at the University of Uppsala in Sweden. The talk is called ‘What the Victorians Made of Romanticism’ and will outline some of the main arguments that underpin my new book. I’m looking forward to sharing these arguments and getting to discuss them with people before the book appears. While I’m in Sweden I’ll also be leading the ‘final seminar’ for a doctoral candidate at the University of Uppsala. Unlike in the UK and the US, where there’s a ‘viva voce exam’ or a ‘dissertation defence’ after the thesis is complete, in Sweden they send a draft of the thesis to an external examiner about eight months before it’s finished. That way the candidate gets to incorporate the examiner’s feedback in the final version of the thesis before it’s submitted.
Next week I’m going to the University of Vechta in Germany to give one of the keynote lectures at the ‘Lost Romantics’ conference organised by Norbert Lennartz. Also on the programme are Frederick Burwick, Richard Sha, Richard Marggraf Turley, Michael O’Neill, Lilla Crisafulli and Fiona Stafford. I’ll be talking about the remarkable John ‘Walking’ Stewart. In his seventy-five years, Stewart walked across most of the known world, tramping from India to England, detouring through Ethiopia and into unmapped regions of Africa, visiting the Arab and Mediterranean countries, travelling on foot across much of Europe as far east as Russia and as far north as Lapland, before crossing the Atlantic to walk around North America and into northern Canada. Along the way, he produced a fascinating and eccentric series of books expounding his philosophy. He was friends with William Wordsworth and Thomas De Quincey, and in the last two decades of his life, he was a well-known figure walking London’s streets and engaging passers-by in conversation. My lecture is called ‘Catching up with Walking Stewart’.
I’m delighted to announce that I have been awarded the inaugural Linda H. Peterson fellowship by the Research Society for Victorian Periodicals. The fellowship, worth $17,500, will allow me a period of focussed research time in the Fall of 2017. I’ll be working on a new project called ‘Periodicals and the Policing of Literary Culture’, which examines how periodical writers constructed a position of authority from which to pronounce judgment on the culture around them. Drawing on the work of J.L. Austen and other thinkers who have examined performative utterances, I explore the periodical writers’ self-authorising style. The fellowship is named for the late Linda H. Peterson (1948-2015), Niel Gray, Jr. Professor of English at Yale University. Linda Peterson was a pioneering scholar of periodical studies who served as RSVP vice president from 2009 to 2013. More information on the fellowship is available here.
Next week I’m going to the Lake District to begin a new collaboration with at Dove Cottage, Wordsworth’s former home in Grasmere. I’ll be curating an exhibition that will appear in their museum throughout the autumn. It’s going to be called ‘Wordsworth, Photography, and the Invention of the Lake District’ and it emerges from research that I’ve done for my new book on photographically-illustrated Victorian editions of Wordsworth. I’ll also be going there to give some talks about this research in October. More details soon.