Abstract: This presentation explores the Victorian fascination with the doll and the various ways in which this most fraught and symbolic of objects was brought to life in literary and cultural texts of the period. It will consider the doll’s didactic and imaginative uses and what its persistent animation can tell us about Victorian attitudes towards childhood, imagination and the material world.

Eugenia Gonzalez (Birkbeck)

Listen to an audio recording of Eugenia Gonzalez’s talk below:
Panel Discussion with Richa Dwor (Leicester), Naomi Hetherington (Birkbeck), and Nadia Valman (QMUL). For more information on this event and audio recordings, please click here

Abstract: Tate Britain Curator Martin Myrone discussed the Sublime as spectacle in relation to the exhibitions Gothic Nightmares (2006) and John Martin: Apocalypse (2011–2012). Martin’s writings and exhibitions explore Romantic painting as spectacle, revisiting and reinventing the multisensorial practices and possibilities of Romantic period culture.

Listen to an audio recording of Martin Myrone’s talk below:
Abstract: The writer and artist Mabel Dearmer worked at the heart of the 1890s vanguard, contributing illustrations to The Yellow Book and The Studio and to books published by John Lane at the Bodley Head. She adopted a visual style redolent of Aubrey Beardsley’s poster art and characterized by a Japanese-influenced asymmetry, bold colour-blocking, and heavy use of outline. Yet her images were largely used in the service of children’s literature. Can an image be formally decadent while remaining morally palatable? This lecture considers Dearmer’s artistic production in its social contexts. It particularly highlights her activity in two aesthetic worlds: the High Anglican community of her husband, the Rev. Percy Dearmer, with its ritualism and guild socialism, and the Yellow Book circle.

Diana Maltz (SOU)

Audio of Diana Maltz’s talk TBP

Abstract: The notion of ‘hindsight’ is relevant to The Mill on the Floss in two ways. The novel itself is a historical one, and places its characters under the sign of hindsight, to ambivalent effect; and as contemporary readers we of course have the benefit of 150 years of subsequent social and cultural history to predispose us to certain ways of looking back on the novel. The paper seeks to make explicit some of this social history in subsequent readings of the novel; but also to allow the novel’s own commitments, embedded in their historical moment, to speak back to us and challenge our current predominant common sense.

Simon Dentith (Reading)

Listen to an audio recording of Simon Dentith’s talk below:
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