Call for Participants: Institutions of Literature

The AHRC-funded ‘Institutions of Literature, 1700-1900’ research network is pleased to invite expressions of interest from scholars working on the histories and practices of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century institutions and from stakeholders and curators who work in surviving institutions originating from this period.  During 2017, the network will run workshops in Glasgow, London and York and conduct a series of online discussions in order to explore collaboratively the ways in which the literary institutions of this era arose and operated.  The network will also consider the ongoing consequences of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century institutional practices and interventions for twenty-first-century institutions.

Between 1700 and 1900, institutions came to play integral roles in literary culture: teaching people how to value writing; providing sites for discussion and networks for circulation; serving as archival repositories; raising and disbursing money; inventing new genres; distributing laurels and condemnations; and authoring works and conducting readings.  However, these important mediations have hitherto been underexplored, in large part due to the scale of institutions’ operations.  Institutional histories tend to be more difficult to map than the histories of prominent individuals.  They commonly involve numerous agents, span multiple generations and rely on archives that are often incomplete, extremely extensive, or both.  To help to negotiate this complexity, the network will bring together scholars and institutional stakeholders from a wide range of backgrounds and disciplines to explore the ways in which different institutions mediated literature. Through doing so, it will seek to trace collaboratively common practices and ideologies.

The network’s three workshops will each take as a theme a major way of understanding institutional practices.  The first, ‘Institutions as Curators’, will be held at the Hunterian Museum’s new premises at Kelvin Hall in Glasgow on the 31st of March and the 1st of April 2017.  This workshop will explore the changing manners in which institutions have conceived of and organised both disciplinary knowledge and physical collections.  The second, ‘Institutions as Networks’, will be held at the Society of Antiquaries in London on the 13th and 14th of July 2017.  This meeting will examine how institutions have served to connect and organise groups of people and things, considering the hierarchies that inhere in such arrangements and the points of connection between different clusters and ideals.  The final workshop, ‘Institutions as Actors’, will be held at King’s Manor, York in December 2017.  This concluding event will examine institutional identities, looking at how ideas and practices embed themselves and considering the points at which institutions themselves – as opposed to their officers and stakeholders – become perceived to be capable of performing actions.

Each workshop will feature a combination of papers from participants, roundtable discussions and more open sessions designed to facilitate the sharing of perspectives and expertise.  The funding kindly provided by the AHRC will allow us to keep the workshops free of charge for all participants and will let us provide travel and accommodation for the speakers at each event.

If you are interested in being involved with the network’s discussions, please email an expression of interest to Matthew Sangster, Jon Mee and Jenny Buckley at institutionsofliterature@gmail.com.  Please include your name, affiliation(s) (if applicable), a brief biographical statement (of around 100 words) and a short description of the institutions and topics in which you are currently most interested (around 250 words).  Please also indicate whether you would like to give a twenty-minute paper on your work at one of the workshops, or whether you would rather speak as part of a roundtable discussion or another kind of collaborative session.

The deadline for submitting expressions of interest is Monday December 19th; we’ll get back to you swiftly after this date.

You can also follow the network’s activities on our website, http://institutionsofliterature.net/.

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‘We Used to Correspond’ the letters of Barbara Pym and Philip Larkin (10th December 2016)

‘We used to correspond’: the letters of Barbara Pym and Philip Larkin

10 December 2016, 6.00pm — 8.00pm


Venue: Blackwell Hall, Weston Library, Broad Street, Oxford, OX1 3BG


Reading of the letters of Philip Larkin and Barbara Pym by Oliver Ford Davies and Triona Adams, with introduction by Anthony Thwaite, OBE.


When Philip Larkin first wrote to Barbara Pym in 1961 it was the minor poet approaching the celebrated novelist. While their literary fortunes were to change dramatically the correspondence and the friendship remained steady over nearly 20 years. Highly entertaining, fascinating and often deeply moving, the Pym-Larkin letters tell the story of an extraordinary relationship between two very different characters united in their passion for the written word and of fall and rise of a literary career.


Tickets cost £20, including refreshments.


To book please contact the Friends of the Bodleian Administrator on 01865 277234 or at
fob@bodleian.ox.ac.uk.

Further details at
http://www.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/bodley/friends/fob-events/2016/we-used-to-correspond

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GLAM Meeting – 11th April

The next GLAM meeting will be held in the Brotherton Library Gallery at the University of Leeds on April 11th 2016.

The meeting will discuss the results of our literary rights survey, include speakers from Elizabeth Gaskell’s House and the Brontë Parsonage and will wrap up with our business meeting.

If you have any queries about the meeting or would like to attend, please contact Joanne Fitton (J.C.Fitton@leeds.ac.uk).

 

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Archivist as Interpreter – BL event

A reminder of the Archivist as Interpreter event being held at the BL on Friday 4th March. This event will explore the ways in which archivists and cultural heritage professionals interpret their collections.

For more information and to book a place at the event, please see here.

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Alice in Wonderland at the BL

Don’t forget that the British Library exhibition on Alice in Wonderland in the Front Hall Gallery is still open to explore until April 17th. Curated by Helen Melody, the exhibition celebrates 150 years since the publication of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

Find out more about the exhibition here and more about a range of events being put on by the BL to compliment the exhibition on their Events Calendar.

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Heritage Lottery Funding allows exciting expansion of Seven Stories literary collections

Here at GLAM we are thrilled to announce that in November 2014 Seven Stories was awarded £341,500 from Heritage Lottery Fund’s ‘Collecting Cultures’ programme (the only institution in the North East to have received funding in this round). The funding has enabled Seven Stories to make several artwork purchases.  It has also supported acquisition-related costs of a number of archives received by donation, including the following:

Beverley Naidoo Archive

The archive of the award-wining author of Journey to Jo-Burg (1985) includes material relating to her published novels, short stories and anthologies, draft material and correspondence, as well as her non fictional titles and research into equality, diversity and multiculturalism in children’s literature.  The collection also includes educational resources, fan mail and responses to Beverley’s work.  This archive has already been the inspiration for a fantastic theatre in education project with Shotton Hall Academy in County Durham.

Elisabeth Beresford Archive

The archive of Elisabeth Beresford (The Wombles) represents her entire career and includes manuscripts, proofs, correspondence, notes, research papers, and publicity material relating to most of her titles for children. Unsurprisingly, the bulk of the papers relate to the Wombles books, television series, merchandise, and continuing legacy. However, Beresford’s earlier career as a writer of adventure stories (such as her Magic series) is also strongly represented as well as her other writings for print and television, of which she produced a considerable amount throughout her life.

Michael Morpurgo Archive

The collection comprises draft manuscripts, photographs, notebooks and related correspondence from Morpurgo’s first publication It Never Rained (1974) to his most recent An Eagle in the Snow (2015).   Highlights include material relating to the adaptation of War Horse from book to stage to screen; research notes and drafts of Morpurgo’s many talks and lectures including his iconic Dimbleby lecture, ‘Set our Children Free’ (2011); manuscripts of unpublished early work; typewritten manuscripts from Ted Hughes of the poems he wrote for All Around the Year (1979), an early collaboration with Morpurgo.

The Morpurgo archive will be showcased in a major exhibition, to be launched at Seven Stories on 1 July 2016.

Research for the Michael Morpurgo exhibition is being supported through a new Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) between Seven Stories and Newcastle University’s School of English Literature, Language and Linguistics, and funded by InnovateUK and the Arts and Humanities Council (AHRC).  This is the first KTP involving an English department; to date the KTP scheme has usually been used to support collaborations in the field of science and technology.

 

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GLAM Survey of Rights in Literary Collections LIVE!!

The long anticipated GLAM survey of rights in literary collections is here!
 
The survey has been designed in survey monkey for all members to participate. It will be open for 6 weeks (closing 19th January). Please follow the link below:
 
Results will be reported on the GLAM website and fed back to members at the next meeting on 11th April in Leeds.
 
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Pansies! Nottingham acquires a newly-discovered Lawrence typescript!

With the assistance of the ACE/V & A Purchase Grant Fund and the Friends of the National Libraries, The University of Nottingham recently purchased a Typescript of D H Lawrence’s Collection of Poems ‘Pansies’, with an accompanying letter to Charles Lahr, both dated 1929.

This typescript quite significantly shows that Lawrence typed the Poetry collection a fourth time in order to elude the censors. These items have not apparently been seen by any of the various scholars working on Lawrence’s life and works since his death in 1930 and so this is a very exciting purchase!

Further work needs to be undertaken to ascertain its full significance.

Nottingham have now catalogued the Pansies typescript and the description is available on their online catalogue. To find a description of this, and more information about the acquisition, please visit the Nottingham blog here.

Please also check out the press release issued to celebrate the event!

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Romance, Research & Archives

See page for author [CC BY 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

[See page for author [CC BY 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

As a cataloguer who has worked mainly on literary archives, the second highlight of the first few days of October (the GLAM meeting being, obviously, the first) was the 2nd October edition of the DBSA podcast (transcript here).

The DBSA podcast is hosted by Sarah Wendell, co-founder of the romance novel review site Smart Bitches, Trashy Books. Normally focusing on interviews with romance authors, editors, and readers, this episode featured an interview with Rutgers University (New Jersey) digital archivist Caryn Radick, and raised some fascinating questions about the intersection between the romance genre and the archives world.

It’s probably fair to say that the usual concerns of a literary archivist are on collecting, cataloguing and outreach – how do we acquire archives, and how best to describe and promote them?  Interestingly, Caryn Radick has flipped this script and is working on a project investigating how romance writers use archives for research.

The interview ranges widely-topics covered include what an archivist does; the research resources that might be of interest to romance authors; how to find and access archives, and how they differ from (and can be more intimating than) libraries. The discussion also touches on digital archives and online access; the way that certain people’s voices are just not captured in the archival record; novels and TV shows that feature archives and manuscripts (namecheck: Dracula); and, importantly, whether the often-denigrated romance community is being adequately documented.*

On the original question of the kinds of archival research that romance authors do, Caryn’s research indicates that:

A lot of them just really, said they really want to get those details of time and place correct, but they also like to get a voice that represents the time period or place that they’re looking at.?One of the things I really appreciated was there was a certain amount of reverence and enthusiasm for using archival materials which reflects what it was like for me when I was first getting into the profession. The aspect of, wow, this is a diary that somebody wrote in the nineteenth century, and I can’t believe you’re letting me touch this.”

 Caryn is a terrifically eloquent advocate for archives (the podcast is worth a listen for that alone) and Sarah Wendell, for her part, is a very sympathetic interviewer. In fact, Sarah’s summary of what archivists do by way of accessibility and outreach is one of the best elevator pitches I’ve ever heard for the profession:

So part of your job is, we have all this old stuff, and we need to make it available to people who are curious about all of this old stuff, and it’s not just for us at the university; everybody can have access to all of our old stuff.

 I found this multi-faceted approach to the ways that the romance genre interacts with archives very stimulating. Just some of the things I was left wondering…

 ->How are we doing when it comes to collecting genre fiction archives and documenting those communities?

->Would it be helpful to create a list of literary archives sorted by genre?

->It’s now common to use story-telling when interacting with kids, but could we do more to market our story-rich research collections to creative writers? (One outlet or inspiration for that kind of outreach might be Two Nerdy History Girls, a history/writing blog by Loretta Chase and Isabella Bradford, two well-known historical romance authors.)

->The eternal bugbear: what can we do to make archival research less scary?

And if you’ve been wondering yes, but what have romance writers ever done for us? well, it turns out that there are, indeed, archivist romance heroines. Take a listen to find out more…

(Lucky librarians: this list by Wendy the Super Librarian has librarian heroines covered.)

*If you’re interested in the reception of romance as a genre, Kelly Faircloth’s article How Romance Novelists Got Such a Silly, Sappy Rap is an excellent introduction and her article on How Harlequin Became The Most Famous Name In Romance is a must read for anybody interested in publishing history.

Charlotte Mash, Project Archivist, Bodleian Library

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Noël Coward Archive

The Cadbury Research Library has just finished hosting a four-week internship focusing on the Noël Coward archive held there. The internship was funded by the Coward Foundation and the successful applicant was Lucy Mounfield.

The Coward archive at Birmingham is extensive but not fully catalogued. We do have a basic box listing available on our online archive catalogue as a PDF document. Lucy’s internship was divided into a number of small projects including:

Indexing the telegram log books in the collection. Listing the names of correspondents and adding keywords to aid research:

  • Repackaging and basic conservation work
  • Compiling a Noël Coward Resource Guide
  • Writing promotional articles for UoB Careers Network and CRL Newsletter
  • Curating an online exhibition re Coward, using the CRL Flickr page
  • Assisting our Conservator prepare materials for display in our upcoming physical exhibition titled ‘Noël Coward: an entertainer abroad’ which will open next week

We are hoping this is the first stage in trying to obtain funding to fully catalogue the whole of this important, albeit under-used, collection.

 

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