Reminder: WSG November Seminar 2015

The second WSG seminar of the academic year will take place in just over a week’s time at 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-members who wish to attend the seminar are very welcome to come but will be asked to make a donation for refreshments.

For the November session seminars organiser Carolyn Williams has scheduled papers on knowledge work, discipline and rebellion.  It promises to be a stirring discussion and will provide an interesting counterpart to the Foundling’s current exhibition, The Fallen Woman in Victorian Britain.

Fallen Woman campaign material
Fallen Woman campaign material

Saturday 28th November 2015, 1-4pm, Foundling Museum
Chair: Felicity Roberts

Tita Chico, ‘Knowledge Seduction
In this talk, I argue that the circulation of and belief in natural philosophy in the long eighteenth century can be understood through the logic of seduction, a well-established topos in literary history.

Andrew McInnes, ‘Resistant Readers in Sarah Fielding’s The Governess
This presentation explores how the act of interpretation is portrayed in didactic children’s literature of the eighteenth century, allowing a glimpse of indiscipline in works which have otherwise been read as straightforwardly disciplinary.

Chrisy Dennis, ‘“We were born to grace society: but not to be its slaves”: Chivalry and Revolution in Mary Robinson’s Hubert de Sevrac, A Romance of the Eighteenth Century (1796)
Mary Robinson’s Romance, written during a period of anti-revolutionary backlash in England, overtly criticises the patriarchal order that pervades Europe.  It offers the reader a new family dynamic – one that is based on equality.

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.