Romantic Europe: The Virtual Exhibition
European Romanticisms in Association’s core project RÊVE (Romantic Europe: The Virtual Exhibition), launched as a pilot at ERA’s inaugural Chawton conference in June 2017. RÊVE stands at 24 exhibits, with further exhibits scheduled for the coming months and many more currently commissioned or under edit. The exhibition currently represents objects, contributors, and collections from eleven European countries, including Denmark, England and Scotland, France, Germany, Hungary, Poland, Ireland, Italy, Spain and Switzerland. Contributions have been scheduled to coincide with recent and upcoming events and anniversaries including the Hungarian Revolution of March 1848, Shakespeare’s birthday, and Constable’s birthday. July’s post from Tim Fulford on “The Eudiometer at Tintern” will speak to the themes of this year’s BARS (British Association for Romantic Studies) conference. RÊVE is presently looking at developing named collections which would capitalise on emerging themes and connections.
ERA has now held two very successful events: the 2017 conference at Chawton House Library, ‘Jane Austen and Germaine de Staël: Reputations, Legacies, Futures, 1817-2017’, marking the joint anniversaries of the deaths of Austen and de Staël, co-organised with Dr. Gillian Dow (Chawton House Library and Southampton) and Professor Catriona Seth (All Souls, Oxford). The 2018 conference at the University of Bologna, ‘Frankenstein: Circuits and Circulations’, co-organised with Anthony Mandal (Cardiff University), Lilla Maria Crisafulli and Serena Baiesi (University of Bologna), similarly marked the anniversary of the publication of Frankenstein. These events, thanks to the efforts of the organisers, have publicised both ERA and RÊVE to the scholarly community and allowed the commissioning of a wide variety of exhibits arising from those events.
Dreaming Romantic Europe
The associated AHRC-funded project Dreaming Romantic Europe (DREAM) led by Professor Nicola J. Watson (Open University) and Professor Catriona Seth (All Souls, Oxford) launched in autumn 2018 and is due to run until June 2020. Its core endeavour is to continue to build RÊVE to 100+ exhibits through running three major workshops and associated satellite events. More generally, it is designed to build an extensive pan-European network of scholars, scholarly associations, and museums. Workshop 1 ‘Consuming Romanticism’ was held November 9-10, 2018, Maison de Chateaubriand, La Vallée-aux-Loups, Paris. The Maison de Chateaubriand was marking the 250th anniversary of Chateaubriand’s birth, staging events and exhibitions including one devoted to Napoleon, ‘L’Empire en Boîte’, so ERA members were delighted to be the guests of the museum as part of these celebrations. 16 participants were asked to address a core question — ‘How did contemporaries construct themselves through objects (broadly conceived) as consumers of Romanticism?’ – through producing an exhibit for RÊVE, consisting of an image plus a micro-essay of no more than 1000 words drawn from original research. They were also asked to reflect upon the experience of rethinking Romanticisms in terms of the microhistories of Romantic objects, addressing questions such as: What has RÊVE so far revealed about previous and potential ways of thinking about Romanticism as a pan-European phenomenon? What has working with the RÊVE format taught us so far? How might we best develop RÊVE as a virtual museum? Workshop 2 is planned for October 2019 in Ravenna at the Museo Byron under the rubric ‘Romantic Authorship’, and Workshop 3 ‘Romantic Media’ is scheduled for June 2020 in association with the Wordsworth Trust in Grasmere
A number of satellite events/panels/workshops have been set up in association with DREAM: a plenary session at the ‘Romantic Interactions’ conference in April this year at Kraców, two panels at the BARS conference in Nottingham in July 2019, and a workshop at Oxford in September 2019.
The exhibition’s presence online has continued to build, through developing the @euromanticism Twitter account, regular email updates, expanding the tagging of blog posts, and monitoring of the website’s visitors. Followers on the @euromanticism Twitter account continue to grow and tweets on the account have reached an audience of over 10000. Over the last six months the exhibition has been visited over 4000 times with visitors reaching the website through online searches, email links and social media. Otherwise, ERA has been expanding. The association now includes the Museo Romanticismo in Madrid and ERA is in the process of building informal and formal relationships with the Polish Society for the Study of European Romanticism, the Keats House in Hampstead, Abbotsford, the Cowper and Newton Museum and a number of others.