Fourth Session

Thursday 1st February, 6-8pm, KCL Music Department, Strand Campus, SWB20

Oscar Wilde, Henry James, George Alexander and Victorian Middlebrow

John Stokes (KCL), Sarah Chambre (KCL) and Lucie Sutherland (Nottingham)


Henry James, Preface to Theatricals: Second Series (1895)

Henry James, Preface

Bernard Shaw, ‘The Drama’s Laws’, Saturday Review (12 January 1895)

Bernard Shaw, The Drama’s Laws

William Archer, ‘Epilogue Statistical’, The Theatrical World of 1897 (London: Walter Scott, 1898), 351-77

William Archer, Theatrical World


Third Session

Thursday 7th December, 6-8pm, KCL Music Department, Strand Campus, SWB20

How ‘Mass’ was Romantic-Period ‘Mass Media’?: Approaches to the History of Ephemera

Gillian Russell (University of Melbourne)


Charles Dickens, ‘Bill-Sticking’, Household Words, 22 March 1851 – digital facsimile from Dickens Journals Online


Gillian Russell, ‘”Announcing each day the performances”: Playbills, Ephemerality, and Romantic Period Media/Theater History’, Studies in Romanticism, 54 (Summer 2015)

Gillian Russell SiR Playbills


Second Session

*Tuesday* 28th November at 6 PM (with the Centre for Enlightenment Studies)

Educating the Vox Populi: John Thelwall’s Institutions of Learning, 1794-1834

Judith Thompson (Dalhousie University)

Venue: Anatomy Museum, KCL Strand Campus (King’s Building, 6th floor)


Thelwall, from The Peripatetic  (1793) vol I  vol II  vol III

Thelwall, from political lectures & writings  (1795-96) Political Lectures

Thelwall, from elocutionary lectures and pedagogy

From Mr Thelwall’s Introductory Discourse (1805) (pp. 1-16 only)

From Plan and Objects of Mr Thelwall’s Institution (1813) (pp. 1-16 only)

Thelwall, from late journalism – The Panoramic Miscellany (1826) On Periodical Literature

Correspondence of Thelwall and Birkbeck (Nat. Lib. Scotland) Birkbeck and Thelwall

Further Reading:

Kelly, T., A History of Adult Education in Great Britain, 3rd rev. ed. (Liverpool UP, 1992) ch. 6-8

McCann, A., “Romantic Self-Fashioning: John Thelwall and the Science of Elocution”, Studies in Romanticism 40.2 (2001): 215-32. (online)

Mee, Jon, “Discordant Opinions,” from Ch.3 of Conversable Worlds: Literature, Contentio & Community 1762-1830. (Oxford UP, 2011): 149-156

Thompson, J. “From Forum to Repository: A Case Study in Romantic Cultural Geography”, European Romantic Review 15.2 (2004): 177-91. (online)


First Session

16th November at 6 PM:   ‘Minding the Middle’

Presenters: Laura Tunbridge (Oxford) and Wiebke Thormählen (Royal College of Music)


Juliette Atkinson, ‘The Most Thrilling and Fascinating Book of the Century: Marketing Gustave Flaubert in Late Nineteenth-century England’, in Transitions in Middlebrow Writing, 1880-1930, ed. Kate Macdonald and Christoph Singer (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015), 163-182

Juliette Atkinson

Ruth A. Solie, ‘“Girling” at the Parlour Piano’ in Music in Other Words (University of California Press, 2004), 85-117 *please read pp. 85-97 and 108-10*

Ruth Solie

Christina Bashford, ‘Historiography and Invisible Musics: Domestic Chamber Music in Nineteenth-Century Britain’, Journal of the American Musicological Society 63/2 (2010), 291-360 *please read pp. 291-4 and 304-13*

Christina Bashford

Venue: KCL Music Department, Strand Campus, SWB20

SHOWS OF LONDON: The Mono-Poly Symposium.  Friday 26th May 2-6pm

Lecture Theatre  K 3.11. KCL Strand Campus

Speakers:  Nicholas Gaskill (Rutgers); James Grande (KCL); Michael Ledger-Lomas (KCL); Josephine McDonagh (KCL); Lynda Nead (Birkbeck); Charlotte Ribeyrol (Oxford);  Jonathan Sachs (Concordia University); Arman Schwartz (Birmingham); John Stokes (KCL); Jessica Valdez (Hong Kong University)


Dudley Cleaver, The Handel Festival at the Crystal Palace.  Victoria and Albert Museum


There will be a reception following the symposium in SWB20

For full programme, click here

Mono Poly Symposium Programme

All are welcome.

MONO-POLY is a series of discussions organized by Flora Willson ( and Josephine McDonagh (


 Jacques-Ignace Hittorff, L’Architecture polychrôme chez les Grecs (Paris, 1851).

In this series we will consider the reach and significance of the taxonomy of mono versus poly – one versus many– in nineteenth-century thinking and cultural forms. From monochromy to monodrama, from polytheism to polygenesis, monomania, monodies, and monosyllables, mono/poly seems to pervade all kinds of intellectual and cultural production. The questions we will address include: was this emphasis on one and many new for the nineteenth century, or were earlier periods similarly drawn to its organisational potential? Is there any significant symmetry between the diverse formations of mono and poly? Or are they independent and self contained? And how might the discursive formation of mono/poly relate to the question of the individual and the crowd (if at all)? Finally, does mono/poly offer an alternative way to make meaningful connections across diverse cultural forms in the nineteenth century and disciplinary boundaries in the twenty-first?

For full programme, see

Spring 2017

MONO-POLY: C19th Taxonomies of the One and the Many

Sixth Session

23rd March at 6 PM:   ‘Individuals and Crowds’

Presenters:   Rowan Boyson (KCL) and Oscar Cox-Jensen (KCL)

Rowlandson The Ballad Singer 1789

Rowlandson, The Ballad Singer (1789)


Rowlandson, The Ballad Singer (1789)  (above)

‘Law for the Poor’, Examiner, June 1836   ‘Law for the Poor’ Examiner 19 June 1836

Extract from Wordsworth, Book 7, The Prelude (1850)  Wordsworth Prelude 1850

Nancy Rose Marshall,   City of Gold and Mud:  Painting Victorian London (Yale University Press, 2012), chapter 2, ‘The Whirl and Rush of Humanity’    Marshall City of Gold 2015

Extracts from Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri, Multitude: War and Democracy in the Age of Empire (Hamish Hamilton, 2005)  Hardt and Negri, Multitude Extracts

Venue: KCL Music Department, Strand Campus, SWB20


Fifth Session

2nd March at 6pm: Monoworks: Tennyson’s Maud and Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique

Presenters: Isobel Armstrong (Professor Emeritus, Birkbeck) and Flora Willson (KCL)


[Maud by Edmund J. Sullivan. The illustration originally appeared in Tennyson’s Maud and is here reproduced from Thorpe’s E. J. Sullivan, p. 84.Scanned image  by George P Landow.  Source:


Reading :

Alfred Tennyson, Maud: A Monodrama  (full text available here, with a  link to a recording of a reading of Maud by Jeremy Hardingham – )

See especially:   Part I: I, II, VII, XVII, XIX, XXII;   Part II: II, V;  Part III:  VI

William B. Carpenter, Principles of Mental Physiology (1875),   ‘Mollusks’ (pp. 48-510), and ‘Mania and Monomania’ (pp. 650-675)carpenter-principles-of-mental-physiology

Francesca Brittan, ‘Berlioz and the Pathological Fantastic: Melancholy, Monomania, and RomanticAutobiography’, 19th-Century Music, Vol. 29, No. 3 (Spring 2006), pp. 211-239brittan-berlioz-and-the-pathological-fantastic1

To listen to Berlioz Symphonie Fantastique, use this link:

Fourth Session

9th February at 6pm:   Indigo

Presenter: Caroline Arscott (Courtauld Institute)

Respondent:  Kate Nichols (University of Birmingham)

In this session we will discuss Caroline Arscott’s essay, ‘Dyeing, Bleaching, Printing:   William Morris’s Printed Textiles’ (download below).   Kate Nichols will respond.


Venue: KCL Music Department, Strand Campus, SWB20


Caroline Arscott, ‘Dyeing, Bleaching, Printing:   William Morris’s Printed Textiles’

available from  or

Next session:

Third Session

19th January at 6pm: Monopolylogues

 Presenter: Jo Hicks (Newcastle/KCL)

Jo Hicks will introduce some solo performances featuring multiple characters, or “monopolylogues” as they were often called. Impersonation is partly at issue here, but also the manner in which performers chose to move between different voice types and mannerisms.

Venue: KCL Music Department, Strand Campus, SWB20


John A. Degan, “Charles Mathews’ ‘At Homes:’ The Textual Morass,” Theatre Survey 28, no. 2 (1987): 75-88.     degan

Susan L. Ferguson, “Dickens’s Public Readings and the Victorian Author [excerpt],” Studies in English Literature, 1500-1900 41, no. 4 (2001): 729-749 (729-738).  ferguson

“The Mail Coach [excerpt]” from an 1822 edition of Mathew’s “At Home.”  mathews

Images of three monopolylogue performers: Charles Mathews, Fanny Kelly, and W. S. Woodin. monopolylogue-images

Autumn 2016

2nd session

24th November at 6pm: Serial System

Presenters: Mark Turner (KCL) and Seb Franklin (KCL)

Venue: KCL Music Department, Strand Campus, SWB20



Extracts from The Household Book of Receipts (1847)

Two short articles from Sell’s World’s Press (1885)

Intro to Frederick Taylor, The Principles of Scientific Management (1911)


Extract from Silvia Federici, Calaban and the Witch (2004)

In addition to these, please read Christina Rossetti’s ‘Goblin Market’:

20th October at 5pm: A Mono/Poly Roundtable: Religion, Race and Colour

1st session

Presenters: Brian Murray (KCL), Cora Kaplan (QMUL) and Nick Gaskill (Rutgers)

Venue: KCL Music Department, Strand Campus, SWB21


Extracts from James Cowles Prichard, The Natural History of Man (1855); Robert Knox, The Races of Men (1850); Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre (1847)   prichard-and-knox

David Batchelor, The Luminous and the Grey (2014)  Chapter 1  batchelor

Extracts from Walter Pater, ‘A Study of Dionysus’ (1897)  paterdionysus

 Autumn 2015

Strange Friendships, Unseen Rivalries, and Lost Paths of Literary Influence, 1880-1910

besant & bradlaugh

'When Bradlaugh Triumphs'
Annie Besant and Charles Bradlaugh were close allies during their campaign for birth control. 
But Besant later rejected his atheism, and cut her ties to the Fabian Society, in favour of Theosophy.

On 12th December 2015, the Department of English at KCL hosted an international conference themed around strange collaborations and unexpected patterns of literary influence at the turn of the century. This was a fluid and formative era, when disparate writers were brought together by common interests or provisional groupings, even if aesthetic or political questions were to drive them apart in subsequent decades. A particular focus was interlinked social circles within fin-de-siècle London, and the present need to complicate and blur categoric labels such as ‘aesthetic’, ‘decadent’ and ‘imperialist’. Our keynote speaker was Professor Ronald Schuchard (Emory University), author of The Last Minstrels: Yeats and the Revival of the Bardic Arts.


The Council Room, Strand Campus, King’s College London.

9.30 – 10:        Registration

10-10.15:         Introduction from Dr Alex Bubb

10.15-11.15: Keynote: Professor Ronald Schuchard (Emory University)

‘Spiritual Dramas: Yeats’s Friendships with the Tragic Generation Revisited.’

11.15-12.45:    Panel 1: Oscar Wilde’s More Eccentric Satellites
 Chair: Professor John Stokes (King’s College London)

‘ Oscar Wilde and Jean Lorrain’
Alexandre Burin (King’s College London)

‘Dialogic Illustration in the Woman’s World, or, the Battle of the Putti’ Petra Clark (University of Delaware)

‘Vampiric Intertextualities: Image and Text in Wilde and
Beardsley’s Salomé
Joseph Thorne (Liverpool John Moores University)

12.45-1.30:      Lunch

1.30-2.30:        Roundtable: a Series of Encounters

Dr Ana Parejo Vadillo (Birkbeck)

Dr Alexander Bubb (King’s College London)

Jad Adams (Institute of English, School of Advanced Study)

Susie Paskins (Birkbeck)

2.30-4:             Panel 2: International Aestheticism
Chair: Professor Jan Montefiore, (University of Kent)

‘“Underground” Influence:  Théophile Gautier, Oscar Wilde, Ezra Pound’
Dr Sasha Colby (Simon Fraser University, Vancouver)

‘Capital Translators: Men of the Lutetian Society’
Prof Bénédicte Coste (University of Burgundy, Dijon)

‘Aestheticism in the American South: Oscar Wilde and Lafcadio Hearn in New Orleans, June 1882’
Dr Stefano Evangelista (Oxford University)

4-4.20:             Tea

4.20 – 6.15:     Panel 3: Decadent Periphery / Decadent Alliances
Chair: Dr David Sergeant (University of Plymouth)

‘Edmund Gosse’s Flirtation with the Fin de Siècle’
Dr Kathy Rees (Anglia Ruskin University)

‘Oxford Characters: Pater and the Priest’
Prof Laurel Brake (Birkbeck)

‘The Pitman and the Poets: Joseph Skipsey and the Rhymers’ Club’
Gordon Tait (University of Hull)

‘R.L. Stevenson, Mona Caird and the Marriage Debates of 1888’
Dr Lena Wånggren (University of Edinburgh)


‘The Medium of the Unconscious’ 

Professor Susan Zieger, University of California Riverside

Monday November 23rd, at 6:15pm. Room 6.32, Virginia Woolf Building, 22 Kingsway


Professor Susan Zieger of University of California Riverside presented some of her new work for her forthcoming book Victorian Media Dreams. The section she is presented is on ink-gazing and the relationship of nineteenth-century media to the unconscious.The discussion was on Monday November 23rd at 6:15pm at KCL Room 6.32, Virginia Woolf Building, 22 Kingsway.
Professor Zieger gave a short presentation of the pre-circulated work and Dr Seb Franklin offered a formal response.


A Dickensian Drama

Is She His Wife? or, Something Singular!

Thursday 17th of September 2015 – Friday 18th of September 2015

King’s College London and the Charles Dickens Museum

Supported by the British Association for Victorian Studies (BAVS):
and the Faculty of Arts and Humanities, King’s College London.

Although not usually remembered as a dramatist, Dickens wrote several plays, including the one-act comedy Is She His Wife? or, Something Singular!  In staging this diverting play, we aimed to recreate the style, music, and performance techniques of Dickens’s early theatricals as closely as possible.

These performances, and the accompanying symposium, formed the basis of a practice-led research project, as well as promoting public awareness of Dickens’s more obscure works, and provoking questions about Dickensian theatricals and Victorian drama more widely.

Details of the TWO events:

17 September:

A performance of the play, open to a public audience.

Introduced by Professor Michael Slater, and followed by a wine reception and Q&A with the production team.

Council Room, King’s College London (Strand Campus), 7pm.

18 September:

‘Dickens and Drama’ symposium, followed by the second performance of the play.

Keynote speakers: Professor Jim Davis (Warwick), Dr Peter Orford (Buckingham), Dr Caroline Radcliffe (Birmingham).

This was followed by a wine reception and Q&A with the production team.

logoKings College London Logo


Monday 23rd February

‘Passage to England: Indian Travellers in Fiction and Memoir’

Curated by  Dr Alexander Bubb, King’s College London


Room 6.01
Virginia Woolf Building
22 Kingsway

The arrival in of the Indian traveller – diplomat, intellectual, sailor, soldier, nursemaid, prince, religious evangelist or student – the imperial capital. As recent scholarship has shown, this was a frequent and much-documented occurrence. This session will deal with four texts that are particular attuned to travel and mobility – whether that be the voyage itself, as diarized by M.K. Gandhi in 1880s, or the navigation of the London Underground undergone by the protagonist of Mulk Raj Anand’s novel of student life in the 1920s. We will also see how Indian travel is staged and fictionalized: as a moral fable (Gandhi), as social anthropology (Malabari), and as satire (Kipling).

Suggested Reading:

Ghandi, M.K., ‘London Diary‘ [1888], Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi, i, 11-21.

An Autobiography, or the Story of my Experiments with Truth (Penguin, 2001), pp.76-8.

B.M. Malabari, The Indian Eye on English Life (London, 1893), pp.36-49.

Rudyard Kipling, ‘One View of the Question‘, Many Inventions (London, 1893), p.71.

Mulk Raj Anand, The Bubble: A Novel (Liverpool, 1988), pp.1-14

Wine and snacks will be served.  Please contact with any inquiries.

Monday 26th January

‘Music and Mobility’

Curated by  Dr Jonathan Hicks, King’s College London


Room 6.01
Virginia Woolf Building
22 Kingsway.

Music was very much on the move in nineteenth-century London. Yet there is little scholarly literature directly addressing musical mobility in the Romantic and Victorian periods. The aim of this session was to consider how existing work on the historical mobilities of culture (Greenblatt), objects (Plotz), and fiction (Rigney) might have a bearing on musicological enquiry. At the same time we asked how the history of nineteenth-century music making might contribute to more general debates about mobile experience, both within the humanities and in the related discipline of geography (Cresswell and Merriman). In order to bring these debates into focus, we considered how some aspects of nineteenth-century London’s musical life – street singing, pleasure garden performance, and promenade concerts – might benefit from being studied under a rubric of mobility.

Stephen Greenblatt, “Cultural mobility: an introduction” and “A mobility studies manifesto,” Cultural Mobility: A Manifesto, edited by Stephen Greenblatt, pp. 1-23 and 250-253 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009)

John Plotz, “The Global, the Local, and the Portable” and “Is Portability Portable?” in Portable Property: Victorian Culture on the Move, pp. 1-23 and 170-182 (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2008)

Ann Rigney, “Procreativity: Remediation and Rob Roy,” in The Afterlives of Walter Scott: Memory on the Move, pp. 49-77 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012)

Tim Cresswell and Peter Merriman, “Introduction” to Geographies of Mobilities – Practices, Spaces, Subjects, pp. 1-18 (Farnham: Ashgate, 2011)


Thursday 27th November

‘On Binding

Professor Isobel Armstrong, Birkbeck, University of London
Dr David Russell, King’s College London


Room 6.01
Virginia Woolf Building
22 Kingsway.

David Russell considered how psychoanalytic notions of unbinding might help us unravel Great Expectations, and escape the limits, as analysts, of being bound to the object of study. Isobel Armstrong approached the theme through family ties in Great Expectations, and inquiry into the composition  and nature of such bonds.

Thursday 20th November

‘Modernism and Street Music’

Curated by Professor Anna Snaith, King’s College London

Room 6.01
Virginia Woolf Building
22 Kingsway.


‘Civilisation is noise. At least modern civilisation is. And the more it progresses the noisier it becomes’ (D. McKenzie, The City of Din: A Tirade Against Noise, 1916, p.25)

The auditory environment of modernist London changed with new ways of recording, producing and transmitting sounds. In this session, we will investigate the noisy, urban soundscape of literary modernism through attention to three writers: Virginia Woolf, Luigi Russolo and Jean Rhys (alongside related contextual and critical texts). Their differing engagements with street music take us not only to the radical interdisciplinarity of literary modernism, but also to the cultural politics of definitions of music versus noise, human versus mechanical sound and the workings of sonic production and reception in the city.


Kate Flint, ‘Sounds of the City: Virginia Woolf and Modern Noise‘ in Literature, Science, Psychoanalysis: 1830-1970 (2003) pp. 181-194.

Daniel MacKenzie, The City of Din: A Tirade Against Noise (1916), pp. 28-39, 60-69.

Jean Rhys, ‘Let Them Call it Jazz‘, The London Magazine  (1962), pp. 91-105.

Voyage in the Dark, (1934) pp. 22-3, 34-5.

Luigi Russolo, ‘The Art of Noise: Futurist Manifesto‘, (1913) pp. 23-29.

James Winter, ‘Enjoying‘, in London’s Teeming Streets: 1830-1914 (2013), pp. 65-79 (Also available on Google Books).

Virginia Woolf, ‘Street Music‘ in The Essays of Virginia Woolf  Vol. 1, ed. by Andrew McNeillie (1989), pp. 27-32.

Thursday 23rd October

‘Fiction and Lives’

Nancy Henry – University of Tennessee

Room 6.01
Virginia Woolf Building
22 Kingsway


Using the work of George Eliot, Elizabeth Gaskell and Charlotte Riddell, Nancy Henry explored the interplay between life-writing and fiction. In her paper,  ‘Fiction and Lives’, Henry investigated how biographers have used fiction to fill gaps in our knowledge of authors’ lives, and in turn, how authors’ experiences appear in fiction where we do not expect it.


19th Century Aesthetics

Ambiguity and Resistance in William Empson and Paul de Man

Curated by Dr David Russell, King’s College London.



Monday 2nd June 

Room 7.01,  Virginia Woolf Building, 22 Kingsway, London WC2B 6NR

Following on from previous discussions on I.A. Richards and his recommendations about modes of apprehending literature and the world, we will considered the question of aesthetic ambiguity and resistance in works by William Empson and Paul de Man.


William Empson, Preface*,Chapter One*, Chapter Seven, and Chapter EightSeven Types of Ambiguity, (1930).

Paul de Man, ‘The Resistance to Theory‘, Yale French Studies, 63, (1982). (Access via JSTOR)

19th Century Aesthetics: Then and Now

I. A. Richards and Nineteenth-Century Aesthetics in the Twentieth Century

Curated by Professor Isobel Armstrong, Birkbeck, University of London.



Wednesday 5th March

Research Forum South,  Courtauld Institute of Art, Somerset House, Strand, London WC2R 0RN. 

Professor Isobel Armstrong, author of The Radical Aesthetic (2000), introduced this session, which continued the series on nineteenth-century aesthetics. In this session, we focused on the legacy of I.A. Richards’ 1929 text, Practical Criticism. By looking at this early twentieth-century aesthetic criticism which established close reading, we discussed ways of bridging the gap between nineteenth-century and contemporary approaches to aesthetics.


Isobel Armstrong,’ Textual Harassment‘, The Radical Aesthetic, (2000).

Nicholas Dames, ‘Coda: I. A. Richards and the End of Physiological Novel Theory‘, The Physiology of the Novel, (2007).

I. A. Richards, Practical Criticism, (1929):

Poems Two, Three, Four, and Six: (Part One),(Part Two)
Chapters One and Three
Chapters Five and Six

Aesthetics: The Painting of Modern Life

Curated by David Russell, Department of English, King’s College London



Wednesday 12th February

Research Forum South,  Courtauld Institute of Art, Somerset House, Strand, London WC2R 0RN. 

Continuing on the theme of nineteenth-century aesthetics, in this session we moved on from the eclectic lithography and caricature of Daumier to look at the Impressionist movement. We responded to T.J. Clark’s The Painting of Modern Life, which takes up the argument that the ‘form of the new art is inseparable from its content – “those forms of objective bourgeois recreations in the 1860s and 1870s”‘.  We also read a selection of criticism from Michael Fried on the relationship between Impressionism, Theatricality, and Modernity.


T.J. Clark, The Painting of Modern Life: Paris in the Art of Manet and his Followers (1984): Introduction *, and Chapter Four Part One and Part Two.

Michael Fried:
Absorption and Theatricality (1976): Introduction*, and Chapter One, Part One and Part Two

 Manet’s Modernism (1996): Introduction*

*Denotes primary text

Daumier (1808-1879): Visions of Paris

With Curators, Ann Dumas and Catherine Lampert


Wednesday 15th January

Room 6.44, Virginia Woolf Building, 22 Kingsway.

The group was joined by curators, Ann Dumas and Catherine Lampert to reflect on and respond to the Royal Academy Exhibition, Daumier (1808-1879): Visions of Paris. We considered Daumier’s work as a commentary of the nineteenth-century, and how they anticipated and inspired key figures in later artistic movements, such as Dégas, Millet, and Cezanne.

Further information about the Daumier exhibition and the Royal Academy can be found on their website:


AUTUMN 2013 


Oscar Wilde: The Editor and the Journalist

Friday 13th December 2013

Screen Shot 2013-11-12 at 17.51.33


Senate House, Room G37 (Ground Floor)

John Stokes and Mark Turner spoke about their recent 2 volume edition of Wilde’s journalism.

Followed by drinks.

For more information about the London Nineteenth-Century Seminar:

Ana Vadillo, Birkbeck College:

‘Shows of London’ presents:

The Aesthetic Turn

Screen Shot 2013-09-26 at 19.30.38

Two consecutive Shows of London Sessions considered the vexed and recurring subject of the aesthetic: what it is and what are its uses. In the first session we discussed these questions in the light of some very recent theorizing from France, the US and the UK. In the second session we turned back to the nineteenth century, to ask what bearing the newer aesthetic turn has on our sense of nineteenth-century aesthetics, but also how our sense of nineteenth-century aesthetics might provide new perspectives on the recent aesthetic turn in literary study.

‘Nineteenth Century Aesthetics and Us’

David Russell, KCL

Thursday 21st November


Room 7.01, Virginia Woolf Building, 22 Kingsway

In this second session, following on from October’s ‘Aisthesis’, we will turned back to the nineteenth century, to ask what bearing the newer aesthetic turn might have on our sense of nineteenth-century aesthetics, but also how our sense of nineteenth-century aesthetics might provide new perspectives on the recent aesthetic turn in literary study.


John Ruskin, ‘Modern Painters‘ I and II, extract from The Stones of Venice, ‘Fairy Stories‘, ‘Natural Inspiration‘, ‘Athena of the Heavens’ (parts 1 and 2) (ed. Harold Bloom)

‘The Nature of Gothic’, from The Stones of Venice

William Morris, Hopes and Fears for Art (‘The Lesser Arts’, ‘Art of the People’, ‘The Beauty of Life’)

Lars Spuybroek, The Sympathy of Things: Ruskin and the Ecology of Design, preface and chapter 2 (part 1 and part 2)




24th October, 6.15 – 7.45pm

David Russell, KCL

Room 7.01, Virginia Woolf Building, 22 Kingsway


Jacques Ranciere, Aisthesis: Scenes from the Aesthetic Regime of Art (Verso, 2013), Prelude and chapter 1chapter 4 and chapter 8

Sianne Ngai, Our Aesthetic Categories: Zany, Cute, Interesting (Harvard University Press, 2012), Introduction

Steven Connor, “Doing Without Art”, New Literary History (Winter 2011)

Screen Shot 2013-09-26 at 19.48.05
Bartolomé Esteban Murillo, Beggar Boys eating Grapes and Melon

John Ruskin, Watercolour of St. Mark's, Venice

‘George Catlin’s ‘Indian Collection’

Little Wolf George Catlin

Sadiah Qureshi

24th June, 6-8pm

K0.20, King’s College London, The Strand

Between 1830 and 1836, George Catlin travelled through North America painting portraits of Native Americans, later taking these paintings and other artefacts – the ‘Indian Collection’ – on tour to America and Europe, including a visit to London. Sadiah Qureshi (University of Birmingham) spoke on Catlin’s portraits in light of their current exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery.


Reading: Chapter 3, The Transatlantic Indian, 1776-1930 by Kate Flint (Princeton University Press, 2009) pp.53-85

‘Whitman and Menken, Loosing and Losing Voices’Menken

Eliza Richards

Respondents: John Stokes

15th May, 4 – 6pm

Seminar Room 7, Courtauld Institute of Art

Eliza Richards (Associate Professor, University of North Carolina) presented a paper on Adah Isaacs Menken, a celebrated actress and poet whose work interested the Rossetti brothers (and who supposedly had an affair with Charles Swinburne). The paper explored Menken’s poetic attempts to constitute representative self-expression through her stylistic echoing of Whitmanian verse, and derives from a forthcoming collection of essays on Walt Whitman and the Bohemians.

Professor John Stokes (KCL) responded to the paper.

Exteriority and Women Readers at the British Museum

Professor Susan David Bernstein,

University of Wisconsin, Madison

22nd March 20134.00pm

Small Committee Room (Ground Floor, Kings Building, Strand Campus)  Kings College London   


Susan Bernstein discussed her most recent book, Roomscape: Women Writers in the British Museum from George Eliot to Virginia Woolf (Edinburgh University Press, 2013), about the significance of London’s national library and its reading room as a networking space for women seeking careers as writers and readers.

Susan David Bernstein is Professor of English, Gender and Women’s Studies at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Her interests range widely across Victorian literature and culture, Jewish studies, post-human and animal studies, transatlanticism, print culture and digitisation. She runs the ‘Victorian Serialization Experiment,’ which uses digital analysis to help us understand and to visualize serial reading, and she is the book reviews editor for Nineteenth-Century Gender Studies. Her previous publications include Victorian Vulgarity: Taste in Verbal and Visual Culture (2009), Confessional Subjects: Revelations of Gender and Power in Victorian Literature and Culture (1997), editions of the works of Amy Levy, and much else besides.

 woolf  eliot


Inspired by the AHRC funded project Scrambled Messages: the Telegraphic Imaginary 1857-1900, running from October 2013, this term’s readings examined innovative literary, artistic, and technological forms in the nineteenth century.

Wednesday March 6th, 6.00pm-7.30pm

Venue: The Courtauld Institute
WAVES. Presented by Professor Caroline Arscott (Courtauld Institute)

Keeping up this interest in the relationship between matter, writing, and technology, our second session, on ‘Waves’, considers the relationship between light waves and particles, and considers the power of waves to transmit energy without the movement of matter. How did Victorian literary and artistic forms produce, and reproduce, these wave-like patterns?


Gillian Beer, ‘Wave theory and the rise of literary modernism’, in Open Fields: Science in Cultural Encounter (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996), pp. 295-319

Bruce Clarke and Linda Dalrymple Henderson, ‘Introduction’, in From Energy to Information: Representation in Science, Technology, Art and Literature, ed. by Bruce Clarke and Linda Dalrymple Henderson (California: Stanford University Press, 2002), pp. 1-15

Algernon Charles Swinburne, ‘By the North Sea’, from The Poems of Algernon Charles Swinburne, 6 vols (New York: Haper and Brothers, 1904), 85-110

John William Waterhouse, St Eulalia (Tate, 1885)

Wednesday February 6th, 6.00pm-7.30pm

Venue: The Courtauld Institute
Presented by Professor Clare Pettitt (KCL)

Exploring compression in literary and artistic form, cryptography, and telegraphy in our first session on ‘Codes’, presented by Professor Clare Pettitt (KCL), we are particularly interested in codes as the point ‘where writing leaves off and matter begins’ (Shawn James Rosenheim) – where writing itself becomes stuff and matter. The session will ask: does compression necessarily involve violence? And what other possibilities are opened up by compressed and condensed forms of art and writing?


Caroline Arscott, ‘Edward Burne-Jones (1833-98)’, in The Cambridge Companion to the Pre-Raphaelites, ed. by Elizabeth Prettejohn (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012), pp. 223-35

Shawn James Rosenheim, The Cryptographic Imagination: Secret Writings from Edgar Allen Poe to the Internet (Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press, 1997). Chapter 4: ‘Dark Fiber: Cryptography, telegraphy, science fiction’, pp. 65-86

Edward Burne-Jones, King Cophetua and the Beggar Maid (Tate, 1884) at

Edgar Allan Poe, ‘The Gold-Bug’, in Tales (New York: Wiley and Putnam, 1845), pp. 1-36



Monday November 26th, 6.00pm-7.30pm

Venue: Strand 2:39 (English Seminar Room)
The Mineral Shop at no.149
Introduced by Adelene Buckland

John Mawe, proprietor of the mineral shop at 149 Strand from 1804 until his death in 1829, held the official title of ‘Mineralogist to the Queen’, a role which saw him oversee the cutting of the Koh-i-Noor for the Great Exhibition at the Crystal Palace, and write descriptions and catalogues of the crown jewels and of the mineral displays at the South Kensington Museum, to which he contributed a display of diamond rings. He was succeeded by his wife Sarah, who ran the shop and held the title of ‘Mineralogist to the Queen’, after which the shop was bought by the Mawes’ apprentice James Tennant, who ran the shop until his death in 1881. Mawe’s shop – and the travel and mineralogical guides he published – emphasised the aesthetic, commercial and luxury value of the gems on display. But Tennant presented the shop as a bastion of mineralogical learning, advertising his links with leading geologists, his lectures at King’s College London, and presenting his minerals as objects of scholarly study. The status and identity of their gems for sale – and the status of men (and women) like Mawe and Tennant – man of science, or shopkeeper, trader in luxury goods, or explorer – was up for grabs. This session will ask: how did shop and show cultures intersect in the seemingly scientific display and understanding of these complex objects; how did scholarly and commercial interests combine in their classification and definition; and how did literary texts – from adverts and catalogues to essays and poems – shape the value and status of these objects and their dealers.


John Mawe, A Treatise on Diamonds and Precious Stones (London: Longman, 1813), chap. 1, sections 1-7 (pp. 1-44).
Brian Dolan, ‘Pedagogy through print: James Sowerby, John Mawe and the Problem of Colour in Early Nienteenth–Century Natural History Illustration’, BHS 31 (1998): 275-304.
Robert N. Proctor, ‘Anti-Agate: The Great Diamond Hoax and the Semiprecious Stone Scam’, Configurations 9 (2001): 381-412.
A selection of advertisements for James Tennant’s shop, from The Athenaeum (and again), and The Literary Gazette

Monday October 22nd, 6.00pm-7.30pm

Venue: Strand 2:39 (English Seminar Room)
The Music Shop at no. 436.
Introduced by Clare Pettitt

From the age of fourteen until his late teens, Wheatstone worked in his uncle’s musical instrument shop on the Strand, modifying instruments and conducting experiments in acoustics at the back of the shop until he left to take up a scientific career, later moving down the road to become Professor of Experimental Philosophy at KCL and inventing the stereoscope, improving the concertina (Wheatstone’s musical intsrument makers is still a going concern and makes concertinas) and inventing, with Cooke, the telegraph.  When he was only 19 years old in September 1821, Wheatstone caused quite a sensation by inventing and exhibiting the ‘Enchanted Lyre or Aconcryptophone’ at his father’s music school/shop on Pall Mall and subsequently at the Adelaide Gallery of Practical Science on the Strand. This session will concentrate on the crossover between musical, commercial and scientific culture and will ask whether it is possible to map the multiple utility of spaces on the Strand (shops which are schools which are galleries which are scientific workshops etc.) onto the radical rearrangement of the senses in this period which made new technologies of seeing, hearing and communication possible.


Thomas L. Hankin and Robert J. Silverman, Chapter One: ‘Instruments and Images: Subjects for the Historiography of Science’ in Instruments and the Imagination (Princeton: Princeton UP, 1995)

Iwan Rhys Morus, ‘Blending Instruction with Amusement: London’s Galleries of Practical Science’ in Frankenstein’s Children: Electricity, Exhibition and Experiment in Early Nineteenth-Century London (Princeton: Princeton UP, 1998), pp.70-98

David Trotter, ‘Stereoscopy, Modernism, and the Haptic’ Critical Quarterly 46.4 (2004) : 38-58.

See also:

For those who want to read more:

Charles Wheatstone, ‘On the Transmission of Musical Sounds Through Solid Linear Conductors’, Reprinted in The Journal of the Royal Institution of Great Britain (London: John Murray, 1831) pp.223-238.


Christopher Keep, ‘Touching at a Distance: Telegraphy, Gender and Henry James’s In the Cage’, in Media, Technology, and Literature in the Nineteenth Century: Image, Sound, Touch, eds. Colette Colligan, Margaret Linley (Ashgate 2011), pp.239-256

On Not Being Someone Else

Venue: Seminar Room SW-1.12 (Inigo Rooms), East Wing, Somerset House.

Professor Andrew Miller (Indiana University and Co-editor of Victorian Studies) presented a portion of his new work On Not Being Someone Else entitled ‘The One Cake, The Only Cake’.  This is a chapter which focuses on Virginia Woolf’s diaries and fiction, but it raises issues that ramify beyond Woolf’s work, so there is no need to be a ‘Woolf expert’ in order to attend.

Professor Isobel Armstrong (Birkbeck) gave a formal response to the paper.

The Never-Ending Endings of Great Expectations

Professor Robert L. Patten
(Rice University)

The Never-Ending Endings of
Great Expectations

Monday 14 May at 6pm
JKTL Nash Lecture Theatre (K2.31)
King’s College London

Robert Patten is Lynette S. Autrey Professor in Humanities at Rice University and Scholar in Residence at the Charles Dickens Museum (2011-2012). He is the author of Charles Dickens and His Publishers (1978), Literature in the Marketplace: Nineteenth-Century British Publishing and Reading Practices (1995) and Charles Dickens And ‘Boz’: The Birth of the Industrial-Age Author (2012). His two-volume George Cruikshank’s Life, Times, and Art (1996) was chosen as Best Biography of the Nineties by the Guardian. He has held Fulbright, Guggenheim and NEH fellowships and has been a fellow at the National Humanities Center and at the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

Contact: Brian Murray

Feeling for Numbers

The reading group meeting was led by Mary A. Favret (Indiana University). 


Mary A. Favret, “A Feeling for Numbers: Representing the Scale of the War Dead”.-

 please write to Tammy Ho for the above


  • [download] David Hume, Treatise of Human Nature, Book II, Section IX, “Of the direct passions”
  • William Wordsworth, “Adventures on the Salisbury Plain,” The Prelude, Bk X [link], and “Guilt and Sorrow” [link]
  • [link] Thomas De Quincey, The English Mail Coach, part 1.
  • [link] Charles Joseph Minard, Carte figurative des pertes successives en hommes de l’Armée Française dans la campagne de Russie 1812-1813.

And for the more adventurous:

  • [download] Marjorie Levinson, “Of Being Numerous,” Studies in Romanticism vol. 49, no. 4 (Winter 2010).
  • [download] John M. Taurek, “Should the Numbers Count?,” Philosophy & Public Affairs Vol. 6, No. 4, Summer, 1977 .
Contact: Tammy Ho |

Birdsong and Silence

Date & time: Wednesday 1 February 2012; 5.30pm
Venue: Research Forum South Room, The Courtauld Institute of Art,
Somerset House, Strand, London WC2R 0RN [map]

Participants were encouraged to visit the exhibition ‘William Morris: Story, Memory, Myth’
at 2 Temple Place, opened until 29th January 2012.

The reading group meeting was led by Caroline Arscott



  • Caroline Arscott, ‘William Morris’s tapestry: metamorphosis and prophecy in The Woodpecker (1885)’, article forthcoming in Art History.

optional but desirable

  • download Charles Harvey and Jon Press, William Morris Design and Enterprise in Victorian Britain, Manchester University Press, 1991, pp.95 -116.
  • download Caroline Dakers, The Holland Park Circle: Artists and Victorian Society, Yale University Press, 1999, chapter 7, ‘Howard, Webb and 1 Palace Green’.

Morris & Co, The Woodpecker, tapestry, 1885. © William Morris Gallery, London

Wood-Notes, Walter Crane

Morris & Co, The Forest, tapestry, 1887. (click image to enlarge)

–Contact: Tammy Ho

Nineteenth-Century Speed

Date & Time: Thursday 1 December, 2011; 5-7pm
Venue: The Music Department’s Blackwell Room (SWB 12),
Strand Campus, King’s College London

J.M.W. Turner’s Rain, Steam and Speed – The Great Western Railway (1844)

We discussed:

  • Yve-Alain Bois, ‘Slow (Fast) Modern’ in Jeffrey T. Schnapp, ed., Speed Limits (Milan: Skira, 2009), 122-6. [download]
  • Enda Duffy, ‘Introduction: The Adrenaline Aesthetic: Speed as Culture’ in The Speed Handbook: Velocity, Pleasure, Modernism (Durham NC: Duke University Press, 2009), 1-16. [download]
  • Alexander Rehding, ‘The Time of Musical Monuments’ in Music and Monumentality: Commemoration and Wonderment in Nineteenth-Century Germany (New York: Oxford University Press, 2009), 19-46. [download]
  • Wolfgang Schivelbusch, ‘Panoramic Travel’ in The Railway Journey: The Industrialization of Time and Space in the 19th Century (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1986), 52-69. [download]

Introduced by Flora Willson (Music Department, KCL). Contact: Tammy Ho

The Sounds of War: The Crimean War to the Art of Noises

5-7 pm; Thursday 27 October, 2011;
The Music Department’s Blackwell Room (SWB 12), South West Block. (Strand Campus, King’s College London)

Roger Fenton
Valley of the Shadow of Death, 1855


  • Stefanie Markovitz, “The Poetry of the Crimean War” in The Crimean War in the British Imagination (Cambridge: CUP, 2009). [download the chapter] [download the notes to the chapter]
  • Luigi Russolo, “The Noises of War” [1916] in Barclay Brown (trans.) The Art of Noises (New York: Pendragon, 1986). [please note that the chapter is divided into two documents: download part 1 | download part 2]
  • Luigi Russolo, “The Art of Noises” [1913] in Rodney Payton (trans.) “The Art of Noises: Futurist Manifesto” in The Futurist Musicians: Francesco Balilla and Luigi Russolo, PhD diss (University of Chicago, 1974). [download]
Also see:
  • Youtube video of Iron Maiden’s “The Trooper” [lyrics]

  • Roger Fenton’s Valley of the Shadow of Death, 1855. [See the main image]
  • The cover of a score from the Australian national library of “The Camp Polka.” [Click the image below to enlarge | via.]

Introduced by Gavin Williams

Gavin Williams is visiting at King’s College London this year (2011-2012). He is writing a PhD at Harvard on ‘Sound Media History and the Northern Italian City, 1880-1920’. His interests include war and the experience of sound, particularly the First World War and its nineteenth-century precedents. He is also interested in rediscovering little-known piano works from the Crimean War, such as Charles D’Albert’s “The Camp Polka” of 1853.-

Contact: Tammy Ho

Music Comedy / Comedy in Music


A Half-Day Symposium

Wednesday 8 June 2011


St David’s Room (Strand Campus, King’s College London)[map]

Programme [flyer]

1.30-3: Session 1 — Music Hall

Carolyn Williams (Rutgers), “Gilbert’s Genre Parody and Sullivan’s Musical Humour”
Richard Kirkland (KCL), “Walter Sickert, Bessie Bellwood and Refractions of Ireland on the London Music Hall Stage”
Respondent: John Stokes (KCL)

3-3.30: Coffee & Tea

3.30- 5.00: Session 2 — Comedy and Music

Jonathan Hicks (Oxford), “The Problem of Humour: Satie’s Piano Music (1912-17)”
Louise Lee (KCL), “Lowering the Tone: Darwin, Clown-Acts and Rainforest Acoustemologies”
Respondent: Roger Parker (KCL)

5-5.15: Break

5.15-6.15: Lecture

“Entertainmentality! Modernising Pleasure In The Victorian Music Hall or Did Foucault Ever Play The Hackney Empire?”
Speaker: Peter Bailey, author of Popular Culture and Performance in the Victorian City (CUP, 1998)

6.15: Wine Reception

Contact: Tammy Ho

The Audible Past

We discussed:

1. The introductory chapter from Jonathan Stern’s The Audible Past: Cultural Origins of Sound Reproduction (Duke University Press, 2003) [download 10.8MB]

2. Lisa Gitelman’s “Souvenir Foils: On the Status of Print at the Origin of Recorded Sound” in New Media: 1740-1915  (The MIT Press, 2003) [download 1.4 MB]

3. Nicholas Spice’s “Hubbub” in London Review of Books (1995) [download 811.1KB] [read it on the LRB’s website]

4. Leigh Eric Schmidt’s “Hearing Loss” in The Auditory Culture Reader (eds. Michael Bull and Les Back; Oxford:Berg, 2003) [download 1147KB]

Introduced by Prof. Roger Parker and Dr. Louise Lee

Contact: Tammy Ho


Panel Discussion
The Feeling of Networks 

In this session we explore ways in which to conceptualise the affective field produced by the global movement of commodities in the Victorian period, and its postcolonial legacies.  We will focus on the case of the novel, and specifically those by Anthony Trollope, prolific author of the mid Victorian period.  Trollope’s novels disseminated a sense of provincial England to the colonies, yet they also revealed the novelist’s (and the novel’s) investment in the global communication networks of the time.  We wish to use Trollope’s works as a case history for considering the ways in which global commodities, such as novels, produce and disseminate realms of feeling, and their interaction with local cultures.   This panel will make an intervention in current debates about the global circulation of printed literature; about the significance of mobility as a term in cultural understandings of place and feeling; and about the place of feeling in postcolonial analysis.

*From entrance foyer to the Strand campus of KCL take the lifts or stairs to second floor. From lifts make a right-hand u-turn and S2.39 is on your left. From the stairs, make a left-hand u-turn and S2.39 is on your left.

On Rocks

Date & Time: Wednesday 9 March 2011; 5.30-7.30
Venue: Research Forum South Room, Courtauld Institute of Art [map]

We discussed:

William Dyce’s Pegwell Bay (1858)

  • Ch. 12 “The Elusiveness of Place”, Doreen Massey’s For Space (2005) [download]
  • Ch. 2 “William Buckland: Antiquary and Wizard“, Ralph O’Connor’s The Earth on Show: Fossils and the Poetics of Popular Science, 1802-1856 (2007) [download]
  • William Dyce’s painting Pegwell Bay, Kent (1858) [click the image to enlarge]

Adelene Buckland (UEA) introduced the material. Contact: Tammy Ho

On Clouds

Date & time: Wednesday 9 Feb 2011; 5.30
Venue: Research Forum South Room, The Courtauld Institute of Art [map]

We discussed:

  • Peter Galison, “Cloud Chambers: The Peculiar Genius of British Physics”, Image and Logic: A Material Culture of Microphysics (1997) [due to its large size, the document is split into two parts: part 1 | part 2]
  • Hubert Damisch, “Our Sheet’s White Care”, A Theory of Cloud: Toward a History of Painting (2002) (pp. 182-197 approx.) [download the entire chapter]
  • John Ruskin, Part II (Of Truth), Section III (Of Truth of Skies), Chapter II “Of Truth of Clouds: — First, of the Region of Cirrus”, Modern Painters Vol. 1 (1843) [download the chapter] [e-edition of the volume]

Introduced by Josephine McDonagh and Clare Pettitt.

Contact: Tammy Ho

Amateur and Professional Observers

Date & time: Monday December 20, 3-5 pm
Venue: English Department Seminar Room (S2.39), King’s College London, Strand

We discussed excerpts from Jonathan Crary’s Techniques of the Observer (1992) and Harriet Martineau’s How to Observe (1837-8), introduced by Brian Murray.

  • Download excerpt from Techniques of the Observer: On Vision and Modernity in the Nineteenth Century (Ch. 4 “Techniques of the Observer”).
  • Download excerpt from How to Observe: Morals and Manners (including the title page, advertisement, contents, “Introduction”, Ch. 1 “Philosophical Requisites” and Ch. 2 “Moral Requisites”) Please note: As the text is taken from a small book, document may not take up whole page when printed.

Contact: Tammy Ho

Eyetopia: Victorian Dreams of Place and Vision

Theorising Vision(s) in Victorian Literature & Science

[Read Maria Damkjaer’s blog post on the discussion here.]

Date & time: Thursday October 14, 6-8 pm
Venue: English Department Seminar Room (S2.39), King’s College London, Strand

  • “The Gigantic” in Susan Stewart’s On Longing: Narratives of the Miniature, the Gigantic, the Souvenir & the Collection pp 70 – 103 [download]
  • “Other Dimensions, Other Worlds” in Srdjan Smajic’s Ghost-Seers, Detectives & Spiritualists: Theories of Vision in Victorian Literature and Science pp 157 – 180 [download]
  • “Darwin’s Worms” in Jonathan Smith’s Charles Darwin and Victorian Visual Culture pp 244 – 284 [download]

Introduced by Sarah Crofton (“Other Dimensions, Other Worlds”), Professor John Stokes (“Darwin’s Worms”) and Alison Wood (“The Gigantic”)

Wine and snacks were served.

Contact: Tammy Ho

Professor Ken Gelda (Melbourne) — Reading the Archive of Colonial Australian Popular Fiction

presented by Shows of London and The Menzies Centre for Australian Studies
Date & time: 30th September, 2010; 6:15pm
Venue: KCL’s English Department Seminar Room (S.2.39)

Ken Gelder joined the University of Melbourne in 1989 and has since taught across the Literary Studies and Cultural Studiesprograms in a variety of areas: from popular culture to literary theory. His books, Reading the Vampire (1994) and Popular Fiction: The Logics and Practices of a Literary Field (2004), have helped to make him an international authority on genre fiction. The co-written Uncanny Australia (1998) – with Jane M. Jacobs (now at the University of Edinburgh) – has been especially influential, both nationally and internationally, on subsequent postcolonial work across a range of disciplines. He has also published widely on subcultures, including his book Subcultures: Cultural Histories and Social Practice (2007). Professor Gelder is currently involved in a major Australian Research Council-funded Discovery Project ‘Colonial Australian Popular Fiction’ with Dr Rachael Weaver.

Contact: Tammy Ho

Re-reading the Languages of Perception

Date: Monday, June 28 2010, 4 pm
Venue: English Department, Seminar Room (S2.39), King’s College London, Strand

The following texts were discussed:

• Scarry, Elaine, “Imagining Flowers,” Dreaming by the Book (New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1999), pp. 40-76.
• Ruskin, John, “The Flower,” Selected Writings, ed. Dinah Birch (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004), pp. 251-263.
• Rée, Jonathan, I See a Voice (London: HarperCollins, 1999), pp.1-40.

Contact: Dr Louise Lee | Tammy Ho

Neo-Victorian Literature and the Canon: A Discussion

[Read Tara McDonald’s blog post on the discussion here.]

Date: Thursday 1 April 2010; 6 pm
Venue: English Department Seminar Room (S2.39 ), King’s College London, Strand

The following texts were discussed:

  • Rosario Arias and Patricia Pulham, “Introduction”, Haunting and Spectrality in Neo-Victorian Fiction (Macmillan, 2009), pp. xi-xxvi.
  • Susana Onega and Christian Gutleben, “Introduction”, Refracting the Canon in Contemporary British Literature and Film (Rodopi, 2004), pp. 7-15.
  • Marie-Luise Kohlke, “Sexsation and the Neo-Victorian Novel: Orientalising the Nineteenth Century in Contemporary Fiction”, Negotiating Sexual Idioms: Image, Text, Performance (Rodopi, 2008), 53-77.
  • Carol Ann Duffy, “Warming Her Pearls”, Selling Manhattan (Anvil Press Poetry, 1987). [download]
  • Robert Browning, “Andrea del Sarto”, 1855. [download]

Introduced by Tammy Ho Lai-Ming

Images from A Humument, a treated book by Tom Phillips based on the Victorian novel A Human Document by W.H. Mallock. [Source]

London Stutters: A Half-Day Conference

[Download the event flyer here. You can also read Robert Barry’s blog article on the event.]

Date: Friday 15 January 2010; 1.30pm – 6.30pm
Venue: The Anatomy Theatre & Museum, King’s College London

Panel 1 (1.30 – 2.30):

Sara Thornton (Paris-Diderot): Flow, Disfluency and the Politics of Interruption in the Nineteenth Century.

Louise Lee (KCL): Wounded Eloquence: Chartists, Charles Kingsley and the Moment of Kennington Common, 1848.

Panel 2 (2.30 – 3.45):

Laura Marcus (Oxford): City Symphonies and Urban Rhythms.

Tom Fogg (KCL): Anthropomorphic Toys, or Towards the Inhuman?: The Emergence of Stuttering in Electronic Dance Music.

Break for tea and coffee (3.45 – 4.15)

Panel 3 (4.15 – 5.30):

A multi-media presentation by the curators of the Tate Modern’s summer sensation Stutter.

Vanessa Desclaux (Tate Modern): A Stuttering Exhibition.

Nicholas Cullinan (Tate Modern): A Stuttered History.

Respondent: Alan Read (KCL)

PLENARY (5.30 – 6.30): Isobel Armstrong (Birkbeck): Metrical Stutter in a Tennyson Poem: ‘Break, Break, Break.’

Contact: Prof. Clare Pettitt | Dr. Louise Lee | Tammy Ho

Forgetting in Visual Form

‘The mouth that has been kissed does not lose its savour, indeed it renews itself just as the moon does’. — Giovanni Boccaccio’s The Decameron

Broken VowsBocca Baciata

Broken Vows by Philip Hermogenes Calderon
Bocca Baciata by Dante Gabriel Rossetti

Date: Monday 14th December 2009; 6pm
Venue: Room 2:39 (King’s College London, Strand Building)

Materials discussed:

  • Broken Vows (painting) by Philip Hermogenes Calderon (1856)
  • Bocca Baciata (painting) by Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1859)
  • The Song of the Bower (poem) by Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1859-1860)
  • Rossetti Archive [link]
  • “Film and the Art of Forgetting” (essay) by Michael Wood (2009)

The document [download] could also be obtained directly from Tammy Ho Lai-Ming.

Wine and mince pies were served at this event.

Contact: Tammy Ho

Duration and Forgetting

Date: Thursday 29th October, 6pm;
Venue: S.39 (King’s College London, Strand Building)

Readings discussed:

  • Daniel Heller-Roazen, Echolalias: On the Forgetting of Language (New York: Zone Books, 2005), chapters XIV, ‘The Lesser Animal’ and XV ‘Aglossotomography’
  • Edgar Allan Poe, ‘The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar’ (December 1845)
  • Nicholas Dames, The Physiology of the Novel: Reading, Neural Science, and the Form of Victorian Fiction (OUP 2007) Chapter III: ‘Melodies for the Forgetful: Eliot, Wagner, and Duration’

On the Forgetting of LanguagePoePhysiology of the Novel

Dr. Louise Lee introduced the Echolalias text and Poe’s story.

Dr. Ian Henderson introduced Dames’s text.

Contact: Tammy Ho

‘London Stutters’: Urban Culture and Rhythmic Patterns

Date: Thursday 8th October, 6-8 pm;
Venue: S2.39 (King’s College London, Strand Building)

Readings discussed:

  • George Augustus Sala, Twice Round the Clock and William McConnell illustrations, ‘Three P.M. Debenham and Storr’s Auction Rooms, and the Pantheon Bazaar’, [1858 in parts, 1859] Leicester Univ Press reprint 1971 pp. 158-186.
  • Sara Thornton, Advertising, Subjectivity and the Nineteenth-Century Novel, ch. 2, ‘Reading the Dickens Advertiser: Merging Paratext and Novel’ pp. 63-118.
  • Lefebvre, Rhythmanalysis, ch. 3, ‘Seen from the Window’, and ch 5, ‘The Media Day’ pp.27-37 and 46-50.

Contact: Tammy Ho

Sound in Victorian London: A Discussion

Date: Wednesday May 20th, 4pm;
Venue: Room 238 (English Common Room, 2nd Floor, Strand Building)

Readings discussed:

  • Charles Babbage, ‘Street Nuisances’: Chapter 26 of Passages from the Life of a Philosopher (1864) [download the book]
  • Edmund Gurney, The Power of Sound (1880)
  • Peter Bailey, ‘Breaking the Sound Barrier’; Chapter 9 of Popular Culture and Performance in the Victorian City (2003)
  • John M. Picker, ‘George Eliot’s Ear’: Chapter 3 of Victorian Soundscapes (2003)

Introduced by Flora Willson. (Music Department, KCL).

Contact: Tammy Ho

Friday May 1st, 2pm-6pm in  the Weston Room at the Maughan Library, Chancery Lane: Ephemera Event

A Half-Day Symposium on Eighteenth and Nineteenth-Century Ephemera

Speakers included:

  • Anne Green, French, King’s College London
  • Colin Jones, History, QMW
  • Julie Anne Lambert, Librarian, John Johnson Collection of Ephemera, Bodleian Library, Oxford
  • Josephine McDonagh, King’s College London
  • Clare Pettitt, English, King’s College London
  • Katie Scott, History of Art, Courtauld Institute
  • Jim Secord, History and Philosophy of Science, Cambridge Univeristy
  • Tom Stammers, History, Cambridge University

This event was sponsored by the Leverhulme-funded Cambridge Victorian Studies Group.

Monday  6th April 4pm-6pm in room K.0.57

Reading Group Meeting on

  • David Trotter, Cinema and Modernism (2007)
  • Lynda Neade, The Haunted Gallery: Painting, Photography and Film c. 1900 (London and New Haven: Yale University Press, 2008)
  • Laura Marcus, The Tenth Muse: Writing about Cinema in the Modernist Period (2007)
  • O. Winter, “The Cinematograph” (1896)

Contact: Tammy Ho

Friday March 6th at 3 pm in room K0.20: Special Lecture – “Phantasmagorias of the Interior: Bourgeois Modernity and the Early Bengali Novel”

Speaker: Supriya Chaudhuri (Department of English, Jadavpur University, Kolkata, India)

Respondent: Clare Pettitt (KCL)

In this talk, Professor Chaudhuri will take one element of the domestic interior, furniture, and make use of novels by Bankimchandra Chatterjee, Jogendrachandra Basu and Rabindranath Tagore to discuss how the realism of the early modern Bengali novel is deeply ambivalent in its response to the physical world and to the social life of things: and that this ambivalence, a response to ‘modernity’ as such, is the product of a lack of fit between the sumptuary codes of modern mercantile capitalism and a profound suspicion of the world and its goods that is culturally encoded as an older, or ‘traditional’ way of life. This talk will be of interest to students and colleagues in nineteenth-century studies.

Contact: Tammy Ho

Thursday Feb 26th at 5.30pm in The English Department Common Room (room S2.38) 2nd floor Strand building: Race on the Victorian Stage

Discussion of Edward Ziter, The Orient on the Victorian Stage, (CUP, 2005). ‘Introduction: “real sets,” geography, and race’ and Chapter 1 ‘Spectacle and surveillance in orientalist panoramas’. Hazel Waters, Racism on the Victorian Stage, CUP, 2007. Chapter 1, ‘From vengeance to sentiment’ and Chapter 7 ‘Uncle Tom – moral high ground or low comedy?’ Introduced by Clare Pettitt and Mark Turner.

Contact: Tammy Ho

Friday Jan 30th 3-5pm in Room S231: The Human Zoos

A discussion of Nicholas Bancel et al, Human Zoos: From the Hottentot Venus to Reality Shows, introduced by Caroline Arscott (Courtauld) and Katharina Boehm (KCL)

Contact: Tammy Ho


Forms of History in the Nineteenth Century June 11, 2008
Speakers: Greg Kucich, Rosemary Mitchell, Satish Padiyar, Ludmilla Jordanova
Reenactment and Optical Entertainments November 21, 2008
Speakers: Iain McCalman, Lucie Sutherland, Michael Uwemedimo, Isobel Armstrong

Texts discussed at our reading group in the past include:

  • Richard Altick, The Shows of London (Bellknap Press, 1976)
  • Martin Meisel, Realizations: Narratives, Pictorial and Theatrical Arts in Nineteenth- Century England (Princeton University Press, 1983)
  • Mona Ozouf, Festivals and the French Revolution, trans. Alan Sheridan (Harvard University Press, 1988)