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.

Reminder: WSG September Seminar 2015

The first WSG seminar of the new academic year will take place in just over a week’s time.  This will be the first in WSG’s new home, the Foundling Museum.  Directions for getting to the Museum can be found here.  Doors open after 12.30pm with the session starting promptly at 1, and tea, coffee and biscuits at about 2.30pm.  Non-WSG members who wish to attend the seminar are welcome to come but will be asked to make a donation for refreshments.

For the September session seminars organiser Carolyn Williams has serendipitously gathered together a number of papers with musical and collecting themes, which chimes well with the Foundling’s own history.  The Museum was founded to tell the story of the Foundling Hospital, the first charity for children in Britain.  One of its first major supporters was the composer George Frideric Handel, and today the Museum holds an important archive related to his life and works, and holds a regular music programme.

Saturday 26th September 2015, 1-4pm, Foundling Museum
Chair: Angela Escott

Diana Ambache, ‘Women composers of the late 18th century’
This paper presents two Enlightenment composers. Sophia Dussek (1775-1830) was part of the lively musical scene in London. Marianne Martinez (1744-1812) wrote the 1st classical Symphony by a woman.

Paula Higgins, ‘Suppressing the Suppression of Fanny Hensel: Textual Ellipsis and Other Signs of Biographical Censorship’
A tell-tale sign of the longstanding gender politics in which Fanny Hensel (1805-1847) and her quest for musical authorship have become enmeshed are repeated attempts on the part of biographers to shield her brother, Felix Mendelssohn from accusations of thwarting his sister’s ambitions.

Elizabeth Weinfield, ‘Isabella d’Este: Patronage, Performance, and the Viola da Gamba’
This paper will explore Isabella d’Este (1474-1539) and her role as a major patron of music in Renaissance Italy.

Arlene Leis, ‘Sarah Sophia Banks as a Collector’
This talk will focus on the rich paper collections amassed by Sarah Sophia Banks (1744-1818), now housed in the British Museum and British Library.

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 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.