A pan-European organization bringing together individual researchers, scholarly associations and heritage institutions studying Romantic literature and culture.
European Romanticisms in Association
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 currently adds new exhibits weekly, and the exhibition represents objects, contributors, and collections from across Europe, including Denmark, England and Scotland, France, Germany, Hungary, The Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, 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. RÊVE is presently developing named collections, released bi-weekly, which 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 took place in October 2019 in Ravenna under the rubric ‘Romantic Authorship’, and Workshop 3 ‘Romantic Media’ was held online in 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 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.. Over the last year the exhibition has been visited over 20000 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.
ERA brings together existing scholarly associations and heritage organizations devoted to Romanticism. The Core Working Group presently comprises:
BARS (British Association for Romantic Studies): Professor Anthony Mandal, Cardiff University
CETAPS (Centre for English, Translation, and Anglo-Portuguese Studies): Professor Jorge Bastos da Silva, University of Porto.
CISR (Inter-University Centre for the Study of Romanticism): Professor Lilla Maria Crisafulli, University of Bologna.
German Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies: Prof Birgit Neumann, University of Dusseldorf.
Keats-Shelley House, Rome: Dr Giuseppe Albano.
Royal Netherlands Institute in Rome (KNIR) and Utrecht University, the Netherlands, Dr Asker Pelgrom
LitHouses and The Wordsworth Museum and Jerwood Centre at Dove Cottage: Mr Jeff Cowton.
Museo Byron, Ravenna: Professor Diego Saglia, Università degli Studi di Parma.
Museum of Romanticism and Frankfurter Goethemuseum: Dr Joachim Seng and Professor Anne Bohnenkamp.
NARS (Nordic Association of Romantic Studies): Professor Robert W. Rix, Copenhagen University.
Petőfi Literary Museum, Budapest, and ICLM (International Council of Literary Museums): Ms Emese Asztalos.
SERA (Société d’Études du Romantisme Anglais): Professor Caroline Bertonèche, Université Grenoble Alpes
SFEDS (Société Francaise d’Etudes du Dix-Huitième Siècle): Professor Catriona Seth, All Souls College, Oxford University.
AssociationCo-ordinator: Professor Nicola Watson, Open University.
Website: Dr Francesca Benatti, Open University, and Dr Matthew Sangster, University of Glasgow.
News and Upcoming Events
Romanticism in 45 Objects
It is with great pleasure that we announce the latest initiative launching within RÊVE (Romantic Europe: The Virtual Exhibition).
The Maison de Chateaubriand has just launched a collaborative project to build an international virtual collection of responses to the question of “what does Romanticism mean to you today?” To get involved post images, texts, photos, videos or quotes to Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram with the hashtag #DérivesRomantiques.
Faites partie du courant du romantisme !
La Maison de Chateaubriand valorise depuis de nombreuses années l’oeuvre de l’écrivain et le romantisme apparu en Allemagne à la fin du XVIIIe siècle.
Avec le projet ” Dérives romantiques “, la maison de Chateaubriand a pour objectif de permettre au grand public de se réapproprier ce courant en utilisant les réseaux sociaux.
Que vous soyez plutot Facebook, Twitter ou Instagram, l’idée principale de ce projet est de concrétiser sur les réseaux sociaux le romantisme sous toutes ses formes : image, texte, citation, vidéo…en répondant à la question : qu’est-ce- que le romantisme pour vous aujourd’hui ?
Pour répondre à cette question, il vous suffit de poster sur votre compte ce qui s’apparente pour vous au romantisme en utilisant le hashtag #DérivesRomantiques.
Laissez votre esprit dériver ! Votre participation sera ensuite mise en ligne sur le site dédié à ce projet et rejoindra l’exposition virtuelle du romantisme contemporain.
Thursday 1 October, 2020, 5.00pm BST (UTC +1)
This event is captioned.
Dove Cottage is the place where William Wordsworth produced most of his greatest and best-loved poems. After being restored as part of a multi-million pound project, it is open to the public again and ready to inspire a whole new generation of poets. Who better to celebrate this important moment with than the Poet Laureate, Simon Armitage?
Simon Armitage was born in West Yorkshire and is an award-winning poet, playwright and novelist. In 2010 he was awarded the CBE for services to poetry and in 2019 he was appointed Poet Laureate. This year we have invited him to take over Dove Cottage for an exclusive performance combining his own poetry and his favourite Wordsworth poems, bringing to life the house that Wordsworth lived in 200 years ago.
Tune in on 1 October for this one-of-a-kind, online only performance. Experience the newly restored Dove Cottage, take in the beauty of Grasmere and its spectacular surroundings, and hear the poetry of two Poet Laureates as you’ve never heard it before. This live broadcast will not be available after the event, so make sure that you book your ticket!
On Sunday 28th June 2020 members of European Romanticisms in Association came together for the third meeting of the AHRC funded Dreaming Romantic Europe network, led by PI Professor Nicola J Watson (Open University) and Co-I Professor Catriona Seth (University of Oxford). While the workshop was due to have been hosted by Jeff Cowton at Dove Cottage in Grasmere in honour of the 250th anniversary of William Wordsworth’s birth, the Covid-19 pandemic meant that some changes had to be made to this original plan. Not to be deterred however, the organising committee reimagined the workshop as a digital conference, which was held over Zoom, hosted by Cowton and the Wordsworth Grasmere.
While the workshop may not have taken the form originally envisaged, the virtual format was a resounding success. In addition to allowing us to open up registration to auditors from across the world who may not otherwise have been able to attend, the digital nature of the meeting spoke well to the workshop theme of “Romantic Media” and, in keeping with RÊVE, the virtual exhibition at the centre of the project, provided an exciting glimpse into the potential which digital projects hold for connecting scholars of Romanticism working in universities and heritage organisations around the globe.
Although we couldn’t physically be at Dove Cottage, the Wordsworths’ home came to us as we kicked off the first day of the workshop with a video tour of the house and garden, so expertly delivered by Jeff Cowton, that we felt we might have actually been there. This was followed by a warm welcome from Watson and Seth who introduced the project, RÊVE, and the central question of the workshop: “Which media served to materialise and/or transmit Romantic ideas and sentiments across Europe?” Next up our panels got underway with the first of three sessions composed of ten minute talks on a single object, suitable to be exhibited in the virtual exhibition. Session one, chaired by Professor Barbara Schaff, addressed the theme of “Paper,” with speakers considering how objects such as letters and manuscripts transmitted Romanticism not only through their content but through the materiality of their form. After a short break, and a chance for our speakers to respond to the wealth of questions and join in with the lively conversations taking place in Zoom’s chat pane, we returned for the second part of the afternoon. Session two, chaired by Professor Nicola Watson, looked at Romantic “Views,” from mountains and buildings, to scenes glimpsed in mirrors and captured on wallpaper. Sunday concluded with virtual cocktails, accompanied by a viewing of three artworks: Louise Ann Wilson’s “Dorothy’s Room”, Ellen Harvey’s “The Disappointed Tourist”, and Edward Wates’s calligraphy of Wordsworth’s ‘The world is too much with us’ with a reading from Jeff Cowton.
The workshop resumed on Monday with our third panel, which was chaired by Professor Caroline Bertonèche. Speakers in Session three turned to Romantic science with papers on the topic of “Stars, stones and other bodies,” which explored bodies celestial and anatomical, animate and inanimate. Our penultimate session consisted of a roundtable, led by Dr Sally Blackburn-Daniels with Jeff Cowton (Wordsworth Grasmere) and Dr Anna Mercer (Keats House) on RÊVE in the museum. Cowton and Mercer reflected on the impact which the project has had on their curatorial and outreach practice and how the RÊVE might offer new ways of thinking about the museums in the future. To bring the day to a close, Catriona Seth led the final discussion of the workshop, opening the floor to invite speakers and auditors to reflect on the workshop, RÊVE, and Romantic Media, old and new.
Overall, the workshop stood as testament to the potential of media, material and immaterial, physical and virtual, to transmit ideas both in the Romantic era and now, and to offer a suggestion as to how Romanticists across the continent and further afield can still gather, engage, and collaborate in the age of Covid-19 and climate emergency. Last but not least, we’d like offer our thanks to Jeff Cowton and Wordsworth Grasmere for a warm virtual welcome, to everyone who worked so hard put the conference together and to move it online, and to all our speakers and attendees from around world who braved technology and time differences to contribute such fascinating, rich, and productive papers, questions, and discussion.
You can find details of the full programme here and you can revisit some of the workshop’s highlights on Twitter under the hashtag #RomanticMedia.
You can also find reports on Workshop 1 “Consuming Romanticism”and Workshop 2 “Romantic Authorship here and here.
AHRC-funded project DREAMing Romantic Europe and RÊVE (Romantic Europe: The Virtual Exhibition)
Our third project workshop was to have been held in June 2020 in beautiful Grasmere, Cumbria, as guests of the Wordsworth Trust, in conjunction with the Wordsworth250 celebrations and the opening of the redisplayed Dove Cottage. In the light of current circumstances, we have moved this event online, and this means that we have the wonderful opportunity of inviting colleagues from right around the world to come and join us on Sunday June 28th and Monday June 29th 2020.
It seems fitting that this collaboration to build a virtual exhibition of Romanticism should entail a virtual event, and stimulating that such virtuality resonates so powerfully with our chosen theme of ‘media’. The core question for our invited speakers was ‘Which media served to materialise and/or transmit Romantic ideas and sentiments across Europe?’ They were invited to present an ‘exhibit’ to RÊVE. Speakers have been asked to produce a 10-minute presentation, consisting of a single image plus a script running to about 1000 words. This ‘exhibit’ can be either scholarly or creative in mode. Auditors of sessions will be able to participate in discussions via the chat pane which will be moderated by the session chair.
You will find a link to the programme below. If you wish to attend all or any of the online sessions, please contact project assistant Alice Rhodes (firstname.lastname@example.org) to register your interest and e-mail address with her.
Wordsworth Grasmere have put together a detailed ‘virtual’ programme of events to celebrate Wordsworth’s 250th birthday today (7 April). They’ll be exploring why Wordsworth matters today, what he can offer us and why we should celebrate. This will be a mix of newly commissioned videos (featuring the Poet Laureate, the Wordsworth Trust’s Chairman and Director) alongside videos from their YouTube channel that demonstrates the range of their work. There will also be blogs and social media posts – and of course lots and lots of poetry. You can join in the celebration at:
We are delighted to announce the launch of the first collection, Romantic Authorship, within RÊVE (Romantic Europe: The Virtual Exhibition). A new collection will be released every month from March 2020 onwards.
The collections are designed to bring together individual exhibits from locations across Europe to facilitate productive juxtapositions and conversations. They are meant to make it easier to use the virtual exhibition. They are also meant to serve as a model for how users might themselves construct their own collections from within the virtual exhibition more generally.
Each collection consists of a virtual vitrine which contains between 6 and 12 exhibits. Each vitrine comes with a short introduction offering an overview of the collection and its choice of exhibits. In addition to the core featured exhibits, you will also find pointers to other, related exhibits held within RÊVE as a whole.
On Friday 18th October 2019 members of European Romanticisms in Association were lucky enough to gather in the beautiful Italian city of Ravenna for the second meeting of the AHRC funded Dreaming Romantic Europe network, headed up by PI Professor Nicola J Watson (Open University) and Co-I Professor Catriona Seth (University of Oxford). The workshop, which took place in the Antichi Chiostri Francescani, next door to Dante’s tomb and just a short walk from Lord Byron and Teresa Guiccioli’s home in Ravenna, addressed the theme of “Romantic Authorship.” Over two days, delegates explored how the ideology and celebrity of Romantic authorship was supported, elaborated, and transmitted by objects through a fast-paced series of diverse, original, and thought-provoking presentations. We were delighted to welcome speakers working in academia and heritage across Europe, with representation from France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Switzerland and the UK.
On Friday, attendees began the day with an introduction to the project from Professor Nicola Watson before making the short walk to Palazzo Guiccioli, home of Countess Teresa Guiccioli, where Lord Byron lived between 1819 and 1821. The building is also the location of the forthcoming Museo Byron, which is currently under construction. Once complete the museum will house material on poet, the countess and their relationship along with further galleries dedicated to the history of the Risorgimento. Delegates were treated to an exclusive tour of the building, led by Professor Diego Saglia before returning to the Chiostri Francescani for the first round of presentations. Using the model of our successful first workshop at Maison de Chateaubriand, La Vallée-aux-Loups in November 2018, the afternoon sessions took the format of ten minute talks on a single object, suitable for exhibit in RÊVE. What followed was a series of incisive and insightful papers which explored both the objects of Romanticism and their role in shaping the celebrity of those who owned, created, used or encountered them. Clustered around five broad themes – “Placing and Displacing the Author,” “Authorial Affinities Across Europe,” “The Author and Posterity,” “Contact-Relics and Imaginary Conversations” and “Other Arts,” the presentations dealt with a huge variety of objects. From items of clothing and manuscripts, to ballets, buildings and lost objects, speakers explored both the materiality and immateriality of European Romanticisms. With lots to think about following a wonderful first day, delegates were able to continue conversations over the workshop dinner.
Saturday got underway with an excellent cluster of talks which together presented a collection of proposed RÊVE exhibits focused on the “Author In/And a Landscape”. The rest of the morning was dedicated to reflections on collaborations, communities, collections and the opportunities for developing the virtual exhibition in these areas. Attendees heard about a number of exciting projects and organisations which could provide RÊVE with future collaborators and models, including: the Museo del Risorgimento, Bologna; The Antique and Romantic Skies in Europe project; the Swiss Guestbook project; the Keats House Museum; Deutsches Romantik Museum, Frankfurt; Maison de Chateaubriand; and the Wordsworth Trust. Lastly, the workshop drew to a close with an activity to create collections, with participants exploring a gallery of images from the virtual exhibition which were displayed around the room, before proposing themed collections into which the objects could be gathered. As the delegates prepared to depart and to make the most of their remaining time in Ravenna, the group reflected on the workshop and RÊVE, recording a virtual audio guestbook of responses to the project.
Overall the workshop was a huge success, generating a wealth of new ideas about and approaches to the objects of European Romanticism. We’d like to extend our thanks to everybody who made it possible through their hard work, organisation, and sponsorship, particularly the Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di Ravenna, Erika Fabbri, the Museo Byron, Professor Diego Saglia and all of our participants whose exhibits we look forward to featuring in RÊVE in the near future.
The Liberal Revolutions of 1820 and their Impact on Literary Culture CFP
UNIVERSITY OF MINHO, BRAGA, PORTUGAL, 29-30 June 2020
Taking advantage of the bicentenary celebrations of the liberal revolutions that occurred in southern Europe (Portugal, Spain, Italy and Greece) around 1820, but with repercussions in other regions and cultures, this international conference aims to constitute a forum of discussion around the impact that these revolutions had on the literary culture of several countries. Driven by the republican ideals of the French and American Revolutions and by the various independence and nationalist movements, the liberal and constitutionalist wave that swept across several European nations (and their respective colonies) in the first decades of the nineteenth century aimed to completely eradicate the absolutism and feudalism that still prevailed within these monarchist nations, at the end of the Napoleonic invasions. Thus, we are interested in analysing the impact that these movements and striking events had on the literary culture of the nineteenth century, particularly in the works that were then produced in several countries; but we are also interested in exploring the decisive role that many writers (in several languages), some of whom in exile, had in these same movements and events. The ultimate goal of the conference will be to find, in this convergence of different cultures in transition, common literary currents or traditions of a strongly liberal political nature.
In the context of this political liberalism and its literary culture, the prevalence of the British constitutional tradition and its republican adaptation by the American Revolution have been singled out as the main motives for the democratic revolutions that took place in the Atlantic world. Nevertheless, the Iberian traditions of freedom – as well as the literature that sustains them – are usually forgotten in this context. Most notably, the Portuguese Revolution of 1820 is strangely absent from many existing historical and literary accounts. However, if we can say that the position of Portugal in this Atlantic context at the beginning of the nineteenth century was central, we can also say that this context is the main explanatory key to understand the motives of the Portuguese Revolution of 1820. From historical and literary perspectives alike, this can be seen as a process of independence, as the abolition of the Old Regime, as the constitution of freedom, and as the foundation of a Portuguese liberal constitutional tradition. But, also, as a response to the extraordinary international challenges that were imposed on Portugal’s independence – by countries such as France, Great Britain, Spain and Brazil. In short, the Portuguese Revolution of 1820, whose main objective was the founding of a new liberal Portugal, combined both liberalism and nationalism, in the manner of the Atlantic Revolutions; and, more relevantly, with that collective manner and purpose attracted and promoted many individual creators.
Paper proposals (for 20 minute-presentations) around this more general theme and/or the following particular aspects are welcome:
. Representations of the liberal revolutions in the literary culture of the period and of later periods
. The role of periodicals and of illustration in the (creative) representation of the liberal revolts
. The links between liberalism and the romantic movements in the European and non-European context
. Issues of political liberty and freedom of literary creation inaugurated by the liberal revolutions
. The literary places of European and non-European liberalism: genesis, memory, recreation
. The emergence of the national literatures and nationalist and independence issues in the period
. Legends and myths associated with the romantic liberal revolt, including the figure of the hero (revolutionaries and martyrs)
. The perspective of the Other – the liberal revolts seen from the literary culture of other countries
. Literary images of refugees and exiles in the context of the liberal revolutions and/or writers in exile
. Literary representations of secret societies in the context of the liberal struggles (the example of Carbonaria)
. Liberalism and literary genre: The importance of the historical novel in the representation of the liberal conflicts; the role of lyric and drama in the period
. The diffusion or expansion of literary culture in the context of the liberal revolutions; reception and translation issues
Submission – abstracts (between 200 and 300 words), with titles, keywords (5) and bionotes (100 words) should be sent to the following e-mail address: email@example.com.
The languages of communication are the following: Portuguese, English, Spanish, French and Italian
The paper proposals will be analysed and selected by the scientific committee. At the end of the conference, the organising committee plans to make a peer-reviewed selection of the texts presented for publication: in electronic format and in book form (the latter on request).
Submission of proposals: until October 31, 2019
Notification of acceptance: until December 31, 2019
Conference registration (online): until January 31, 2020
Programme publication (online): March 31, 2020
Registration (for attendants): until May 31, 2020
Conference: June 29 and 30, 2020
Our first session kicked off on Thursday to a packed-out audience. The panel featured a series of micro-talks in which seven senior scholars of Romanticism presented their research in the form of an exhibit for RÊVE. Objects ranged across Europe and varied from texts and domestic items to the buildings which might contain them, with each talk using a single image to spark broader discussions about the materiality (or immateriality) of Romantic objects, their circulation, and the narratives of fact or of fantasy which might be constructed around them. The stellar line up of speakers included: Professor Deidre Shauna Lynch, who introduced us to ‘The Handwritten Title-Page of a Transcription of Keat’s Poems, 1828’; Professor Emma Clery who presented ‘A Circular Note from Herries & Co.’; Professor Anthony Mandal, who explored ‘The offices of the Minerva Press, Leadenhall’; Professor Penny Fielding with ‘Margaret Chalmers and a Tea-cup’; Professor Sonia Hofkosh, who discussed ‘Byron’s Screen’; Professor Diego Saglia, who spoke on ‘William Beckford’s Pavilion’; and Professor Ian Haywood who concluded with ‘A Map of the Republic of Europe’. The panel ended with discussion which drew attention to the ways in which the seven talks spoke to each other in productive and sometimes unexpected ways and considered how the objects in the virtual exhibition might come together as a collection or collections.
BARS delegates continued Dreaming Romantic Europe on Sunday, at our ECR Workshop. The first half of the workshop followed a similar format to Thursday with presentations from Alice Rhodes on ‘A ha’pennyworth of sedition, 1796’; Anne-Claire Michoux on ‘The petition for Robert Lovell Edgeworth to be permitted to stay in Paris, 1803’; Dr Teresa Raçzka-Jeziorska on ’40 verses of Mickiewicz’s “Pan Tadeusz” given to Ambroży Grabowski for “Autographs of Illustrious Men’’’; and Dr Charlotte May on ‘The decanter given to Byron by Samuel Rogers’. The second half of the workshop involved discussion, led by Professor Nicola Watson, on the project of RÊVE more broadly. The workshop generated fruitful and though-provoking conversations on methods of recording visitor engagement with the exhibition; ways of incorporating RÊVE into teaching; and the opportunities and challenges afforded by presenting research as short-form object biographies, exemplified by Watson’s exhibit on ‘William Cowper’s lavender-water bottle’. Dr Anna Mercer and Dr Charlotte May also provided valuable insights on the project from the perspective of their work with heritage organisations.
Discussions also continued on Twitter, where live-tweeting of our panels reached an audience of over 12000. It was a privilege to be part of such a wonderful conference and huge thanks goes to the BARS 2019 organisers, all the speakers involved in the panels, and everyone who came to listen and offer their enthusiastic thoughts on the project.
We look forward to featuring the exhibits mentioned above on the website in the coming months.
On Friday 9th November 2018, members of European Romanticisms in Association (ERA) met in the idyllic grounds of Maison de Chateaubriand in La Vallée-aux-Loups, just outside Paris, for the first workshop of the AHRC funded Dreaming Romantic Europe network (PI Professor Nicola J Watson, Open University, Co-I Professor Catriona Seth, University of Oxford). The workshop, titled ‘Consuming Romanticism’, brought together scholars and heritage professionals from across Europe, including colleagues from institutions in Denmark, France, Hungary, Italy, Portugal, and the United Kingdom, to explore the key question ‘How did contemporaries construct themselves through objects (broadly conceived) as consumers of Romanticism’ over two days of stimulating and productive presentations and conversation.
After a wonderful tour of the house in which François-René de Chateaubriand lived between 1807 and 1817 and a visit to Maison de Chateaubriand’s current exhibition on Napoleon Bonaparte, ‘L’empire en boîtes’, the afternoon got underway with a series of ten-minute papers, each including a single image and exploring an iconic Romantic object. The innovative format of the presentations, which aimed to generate contributions for Romantic Europe: The Virtual Exhibition (RÊVE), was a huge success, allowing attendees to think and speak about European Romanticisms in new ways and to approach the concept of the Romantic object from new angles. The diverse range of proposed exhibits and interpretations was particularly inspiring, with papers addressing objects from travelling boxes, furniture, automata, artworks and publications to tombs and monuments, and even trees, clouds and mountains. It was agreed that the format of the afternoon had made for an engaging first day and as the evening drew to a close, conversations continued to flow on the journey back towards Paris.
On Saturday morning discussions kicked off with a host of thought-provoking presentations reflecting on the development of RÊVE, the concept of the pan-European and the virtual exhibition, and process of writing and rethinking Romanticism through short-form histories of material (or sometimes immaterial) objects. The presentations sparked a range of lively and fruitful conversations around topics including: how to design, organise, map, and guide visitors through the collection; how to bring the project to new audiences, communities, and collaborators; the ability of the exhibition to draw new links between objects, their owners, and their locations; and the way in which the exhibition allows us to bring inanimate objects to life through the stories we tell about them. The wealth of ideas from all participants demonstrated the huge potential which the exhibition holds for fostering new ideas about and approaches to Romanticism, its study, and its dissemination and, as Catriona Seth summarized, established the “10 Cs” at the centre of the project: conversation, connections, commissions, crowds, circulation, circles, categorization, curiosity, comparison and curation.
Finally, after a steering group meeting to discuss the details of the second workshop which will be held next year in Ravenna, Italy, all that remained was to thank Bernard Degout, Veronica Martin Baudouin, Anne Sudre, Pierre Téqui, and the rest of the team from Maison de Chateaubriand for hosting and live-tweeting the event and to all the participants and contributors for their enthusiastic involvement.
Dreaming Romantic Europe Network AHRC Grant
ERA is delighted to announce that the project Dreaming Romantic Europe has been funded by an AHRC Network Grant from 1 September 2018 through to 31 July 2020. Initiated from within the ERA network, the project (PI Professor Nicola J Watson, Open University, Co-I Professor Catriona Seth, Oxford University) will run three workshops in Paris (in association with the Maison Chateaubriand), Ravenna (with the Museo Byron), and Grasmere (with Dove Cottage) with the aim of developing and reflecting upon RÊVE (Romantic Europe: The Virtual Exhibition) both as an intellectual venture and a pedagogical resource and model.
Reputations, Legacies, Futures: Jane Austen, Germaine de Staël and their contemporaries, 1817-2017 (Chawton House Library, Hampshire, 13-15 July 2017)
Keynote Speakers: Benjamin Colbert, University of Wolverhampton; Alison Finch, University of Cambridge; Deidre Lynch, Harvard University.
Call for Papers: July 1817 saw two deaths – of Jane Austen, an English novelist with a solid but relatively modest success, and of Germaine de Staël, a long-standing superstar of pan-European intellectual, political and literary life. Over the two centuries since, the relative reputations of these two writers have re-aligned in ways that would have astonished their contemporaries, admirers and critics alike. This joint anniversary provides an unrivalled opportunity to bring scholars together to reflect on the connections, continuities, and contrasts between these two writers’ careers both in their lifetimes and after, and to think about the waxing and waning across Europe and beyond of the literary reputations of eighteenth-century and Romantic-period women writers more generally.
The organisers invite submissions of 20 minute papers. Topics might include, but are not limited to:
Connections and continuities between Austen and Staël (including, for instance, Austen’s familiarity with/awareness of the writings of Staël and vice versa, or their dealings with the firm that published them both, John Murray)
The reputations and reception of women writers in Europe and beyond, both in their own lifetimes and subsequently
Contemporary and subsequent models for the woman writer, thinker and genius
The celebration of women writers, including portraiture, biography, the fame of associated place, commemorative events
The sale, import, export, translation, abridgement, extraction, illustration, adaptation of the works of women writers from their lifetimes to the present
Echoes, influence, and reiterations, especially those women writers described as ‘other’ Austens and Staëls in Europe and America
The changing relative placement of these writers in relation (for instance) to notions of the centre and the periphery, the cosmopolitan and the national, the hierarchies of genre
The futures of reading and teaching women’s writing of the period
Other anniversaries associated with women writers falling in 1817 (such as, for instance, the career-defining publication in London and Paris of Sydney Owenson/Lady Morgan’s France).
Departing into the Romantic Universe: August Wilhelm Schlegel (Freies Deutsches Hochstift – Frankfurter Goethe-Museum, 5 September-12 November 2017)
September 5th 2017 marks the 250th anniversary of one of the central characters of German and European Romanticism: the author, translator and philologist August Wilhelm Schlegel (1767–1845). He was the most cosmopolitan of the German romanticists, a ‘universal poet’ and a ‘universal scholar’ whose thirst for knowledge extended far beyond its literary aspects. Being used to crossing cultural, artistic and scientific frontiers, he was always searching for differences on his journeys in order to find common ground between European and Indian culture. From 1804 until 1817 he lived together with Germaine de Staël, acting as a teacher for her children as well as a conversation partner and consultant concerning questions of German, French and European culture. In the process he brought the ideas of German Romanticism to Europe.
Like no other of his contemporaries, August Wilhelm Schlegel acted as a mediator between cultures: his translations of great works of world literature in different languages like English, Spanish, Italian and Portuguese are still well respected, particularly his Shakespeare translations, which are exemplary even by today’s standards.
For a long time, the outstanding importance of August Wilhelm Schlegel for German and European Romanticism was underestimated. It is only recently that this innovative and versatile author and intellectual could be fully rediscovered by working through the testimonies of his life and works, many of which can be found in the collection of Freies Deutsches Hochstift.
The exhibition at the Freies Deutsches Hochstift on the occasion of August Wilhelm Schlegel’s 250th birthday wants to bring to life this ‘universal poet’ by showing originals (work manuscripts, correspondence, portraits, graphics, Schlegel’s Indian miniature collection etc.) that are little known at present. In addition, it will offer multi-media-based access. The centre of the exhibition will be Schlegel’s intercultural work that flourished anew at every single place in Europe that he visited.
On the 28th August 2017 – the day which marks Goethe’s birthday – there will be a preview of the exhibition. After the official opening on 5th September 2017, the exhibition will be on display until the 12th November 2017. After that, the exhibition will be modularized to be adapted to the needs of the locations to follow: Ernst-Moritz-Arndt-Haus in Bonn, University Library of Philipps-University in Marburg and the Literature Museum Romantikerhaus in Jena.
Read More About RÊVE
ERA’s online research project, Romantic Europe: The Virtual Exhibition (RÊVE) launched in summer 2017. The virtual exhibition is designed to address both an academic and a general audience as an interdisciplinary project showcasing and sharing Romantic texts, objects, and places through collaborations between academic researchers, museums, galleries and other cultural groupings. It is now supported by BARS (the British Association for Romantic Studies) and is the core research project of the AHRC-funded project Dreaming Romantic Europe (PI Professor Nicola J. Watson, Open University) and Professor Catriona Seth (Co-I All Souls, Oxford).
If you are interested in becoming a member of the core working group, please contact the Association Co-ordinator, Professor Nicola Watson, in the first instance.