WSG members online: Early Modern Medicine blog and the Orlando Project

Now that the academic summer break is well and truly over, WSG wants to highlight the rigorous research of WSG members online.  Over the past twenty years the internet has allowed new academic formats to take root and flourish and two great examples are the Orlando Project, co-run by WSGer Isobel Grundy, and the Early Modern Medicine blog, co-edited by WSG committee member Sara Read.

Orlando Project logo
Orlando Project logo

The Orlando Project is a textbase of women’s writing in the British Isles from the beginnings to the present.  Collaboratively authored and published by the University of Cambridge online since 2006 and available by subscription, the database is usually open access every March, Women’s History month.  Recent entries from WSG’s time period include Lady Hester Pulter (1605-1678) a significant poet who has remained unknown because she did not circulate her work, even in manuscript; Margaret Calderwood (1715-1774) a journal writer; Maria Susanna Cooper (1737-1807) a novelist and poet; and Isabella Hamilton Robinson (1813-1887), an erotic (possibly fantasist) diarist.

The Early Modern Medicine blog was founded by the University of Hertfordshire’s Dr Jennifer Evans and is a fast-growing collection of short essays on all aspects of early modern health, medicine, and gender.  Previous posts include discussions of postpartum incontinence, the therapeutic use of human body parts, and prayer and spa cures.  Jennifer and Sara also welcome guest bloggers and book reviewers.

In some ways the Orlando Project and the Early Modern Medicine blog represent two poles in the kind of innovative scholarly work, on women’s and gender studies in the early modern period and eighteenth century, that can be presented and disseminated online.  And as a group that prides itself on its independent, radical approach, WSG is happy to have connections with both.

WSG Foundling Museum talk

Jacobus Reuff, Lying in room with attendant, child and midwife, Woodcut, 1616. L0006501. Image courtesy of Wellcome Library, London Copyrighted work available under Creative Commons Attribution only licence CC BY 4.0
Jacobus Reuff, Lying in room with attendant, child and midwife, Woodcut, 1616. L0006501.
Image courtesy of Wellcome Library, London
Copyrighted work available under Creative Commons Attribution only licence CC BY 4.0

UPDATE, 2 December 2015: Unfortunately this talk has been postponed for unavoidable reasons. We will post details when a new date has been set.

WSG is excited to announce that on 6 December 2015, committee member Sara Read will give a talk at the Foundling Museum.  She will be discussing customs and experiences of childbirth during the early modern period.  The talk begins at 2pm, followed by an interpretation of Baroque music at 3 from pianist Louise Cournarie.

The talk and performance are free to visitors of the Museum.  Sara is speaking as part of WSG’s commitment to developing its relationship with the Foundling, which is hosting our seminar series and workshop during the academic year 2015-2016, and we hope to be able to announce details of further collaborations in the future.  Those interested in Sara’s work can follow her on Twitter; her handle is @floweringbodies, while WSG tweets at @WSGUK.

Women’s Writing in the Nineteenth Century seminars

WSG member Susan Civale has organised a series of seminars to be hosted by the International Centre for Victorian Women Writers at Canterbury Christ Church University in 2015-2016.  Entitled “Women’s Writing in the Nineteenth Century”, several of the sessions may be of interest to scholars with interests towards the end of WSG’s time period.

Dr Sophie Gilmartin (RHUL), Tuesday 20 October 2015
Professor Angela Wright (Sheffield), Thursday 26 November 2015
Dr Felicity James (Leicester), Thursday 28 January 2016
Dr Matt Rubery (QMUL), Thursday 25 February 2016

The seminars are all open to the public, take place at 5.15pm, and details of rooms can be found here.  For more information, please email Susan.

Susan has also been awarded a Visiting Research Fellowship at Chawton House Library this year to pursue her research on the fiction of Mary Robinson (1757-1800).  She will take up her Fellowship in April 2016, and will write about her research for the WSG blog.

Valerie Schutte: Mary I and the Art of Book Dedications

WSG member Valerie Schutte has just had her book Mary I and the Art of Book Dedications: Royal Women, Power and Persuasion published with Palgrave Macmillan (£60 hardback).  It is the outcome of her doctoral research, and argues that dedications and the negotiations accompanying them reveal both contemporary perceptions of how statecraft, religion, and gender were, and the political maneuvering attempting to influence how they ought to be.  It is part of Palgrave’s Queenship and Power series, for which Valerie is also currently co-editing, with Sarah Duncan, The Birth of a Queen: Essays on the Quincentenary of Mary I (2016).

Valerie Schutte, Front cover of Mary I (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015)
Valerie Schutte, Front cover of Mary I (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015)

Valerie earned her PhD from the University of Akron.  She has a further research project underway, an edited collection on “Unexpected Heirs in Early Modern Europe”, for which she is currently seeking chapter proposals:

This collection seeks scholarship on queens and kings who were not expected to become rulers in their own right. In the early modern era many unexpected heirs came to power, but how, why, and the repercussions have never been the subject of one singular volume. The collection will be submitted to the Queenship and Power series (Palgrave Macmillan) edited by Charles Beem and Carole Levin, with planned publication for late 2017/early 2018.

This volume seeks proposals for submissions that consider unexpected heirs and how they achieved their queenship and kingship. Particularly sought are papers that explore issues facing these monarchs before and after their accessions, how they were educated and prepared for ruling, or their lack of preparation, familial relationships, and obstacles to obtaining power. Proposals on unexpected male and female heirs are welcome, as are papers that examine heirs who did not go on to be queens or kings. The intention for the volume is to engage in the actual lives and cultural afterlives of illegitimate children, daughters, and younger sons and the reception of such heirs.

Chapter proposals of 500 words, accompanied by a brief biography, must be submitted to unexpectedheirs@gmail.com by 1 January 2016 to be considered. Accepted authors will be notified by March 2016, and complete essays will be due by 15 October 2016.

WSG member Sara Read’s new book: Maids, Wives and Widows

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Sara Read, Front cover, Maids, Wives and Widows (Pen & Sword, 2015)

Following on from Julie Peakman’s new biography of the Georgian courtesan Peg Plunkett, WSG would also like to highlight WSG member (and WSG’s chief Twitterer) Sara Read’s new book Maids, Wives and Widows: Exploring Early Modern Women’s Lives 1540-1740, which came out in May.  It is available from Pen & Sword books, and for a limited time is only £15.99 (rrp £19.99).  Maids, Wives and Widows explores the everyday lives of early modern women, from menstruation, childbirth, and bodily care, to employment, literature, and food and drink.

Sara is a Lecturer in English at Loughborough University.  She is the author of Menstruation and the Female Body in Early Modern England (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013), and her latest project investigates female obesity in early modern England.  She co-edits the fantastic Early Modern Medicine blog with Dr Jennifer Evans.