All attendees are invited to bring a 5-minute presentation, from any discipline and period covered by the group, exploring any of the following themes:
Gender, the public and the private * Women, publication and anonymity * Women and religion * Women, violence and revolution * Gender and genre * Women and the nation * Preaching women * Women and the Bible * Dissent
WSG member Miriam Al Jamil has written a round-up of our recent Annual Workshop, this year titled What is the place of Aphra Behn in Restoration Culture, at which Professor Elaine Hobby and Claire Bowditch gave a keynote talk on this important playwright, translator, and spy for Charles II…
“The annual workshop this year had Aphra Behn as its theme, and her significance was amply demonstrated by the variety of presentations made by attendees.
Elaine Hobby began the day by introducing the 8-volume Cambridge Edition of the Writings of Aphra Behn which is currently in progress. She pointed out the huge advances made in Behn scholarship since Janet Todd’s edition of the 1990s, highlighting the recent interest in attribution and translation studies. Assisted by Claire Bowditch, we explored possible literary and cultural allusions in example texts such as The False Count(1681). Comparisons of printed editions of Behn’s work prompted questions about authorial interventions and their motivations, and the practicalities of corrections made by printers. Elaine outlined the advantages which computerised textual analysis can offer debate concerning attribution, so that forms of expression can be collated to clarify any judgement. Her insights into the complexities of editing such a large and varied literary production were intriguing and much appreciated.
The variety of connections that can be found in Behn’s work was reflected in the topics covered in the presentations in the afternoon. We considered the participation of women in the creation of the Mostyn Library and the objectification of book and women alike in the correspondence of Thomas Mostyn; the achievements of significant female publishers such as Mrs. S.C. Hall; Lady Anne Halkett’s MS autobiography; along with issues such as the bitter rivalry between Delarivier Manley and Richard Steele. We learned that Behn like Anne Finch was from the Wye area in Kent, and we read Finch’s poem referencing her sister poet. We heard about the difficulties of finding details about the dances which were part of Restoration plays.
If the discussions of the day are any indication, there is a wealth of interest in Behn and the women writers who succeeded her, so there is great cause for optimism and anticipation of new discoveries to come.”
Thanks to the organisers and all the contributors to the workshop for making this year’s event such a success, and to Miriam for taking the time to give us her thoughts.
We are very fortunate that Dr Claire Bowditch is going to join Professor Elaine Hobby at our annual workshop to speak about their new research on Aphra Behn. They are co-editing a new edition of the complete writings of Aphra Behn for Cambridge University Press.
The title of their keynote paper is ‘What is the place of Aphra Behn in Restoration Culture’, and the afternoon session at which delegates are invited to give 5 minutes papers will open up a discussion across disciplines and backwards and forwards in time.
A few spaces are still available. Registration will close on the 29 April, so please contact us promptly to reserve a place.
We look forward to seeing you at what promises to be another great workshop!
UPDATE: The workshop is now full – thank you to everyone for such a great response. We are keeping a waiting list: if you would like your name to be added, please contact us using the information on our booking form.
We’re delighted to announce that Professor Elaine Hobby has agreed to be our keynote speaker for our annual workshop on the 9th May, and she will be giving a paper on Aphra Behn. Registration for this event is now open: for more details please view our workshop page.