Table Talks

Edmund J. Sullivan, “On the proposal for a cast-metal king”. Sartor Resartus, p. 41, 1898

Scanned image and text by George P. Landow

‘Table Talks’ were a famous genre of literature in the early nineteenth century, recording the conversation of well-known writers, such as Samuel Taylor Coleridge, William Hazlitt, and Charles Lamb.

We are going to host a series of ‘Table Talks’ associated with the project, which will take the form of interactive workshops led by relevant scholars in the field of Romantic Studies, with an aim to explore new perspectives on Romantic aesthetics, Romantic engagement with nature, society, and childhood, as well as later representations of Romantics and Romanticism. These ‘Table Talks’ will be structured as informal workshops bringing together established academics with postgraduate students and early career scholars to discuss new methodologies in Romantic Studies.

They will be recorded and disseminated as podcasts, available on the project website and advertised through social media.

‘Table Talks’ will draw on Wayne Booth’s idea of ‘co-duction’, discussed in Maureen McLane’s 2007 essay ‘Romanticism; Or, Now’. Co-duction means leading through conversation with peers, fitting the collective and collaborative spirit of ‘The Romantic Ridiculous’.

We will host 4 ‘Table Talks’ to take place over the course of the fellowship at Edge Hill, focusing on the following areas:

1) New approaches to Romanticism and the natural world

This ‘Table Talk’ will focus on how Romantic writers represented the natural world as ridiculous and include readings from Coleridge’s notebooks, letters, and poetry in conversation with selections from Dr Elizabeth Edwards (CAWCS/Centre for Advanced Welsh & Celtic Studies).

2)  New approaches to Romanticism and the social world

This ‘Table Talk’ will focus on ridiculous representation of Romantic-period society and include selections from Hazlitt, Lamb, Peacock, Austen, and Coleridge in conversation with selections from Dr Felicity James (University of Leicester).

3)  New approaches to Romantic legacies

This ‘Table Talk’ will focus on Romantic period and later satire/caricature, especially of childhood and in children’s literature, and include selections from Romantic-period and contemporary children’s literature sourced from Newcastle’s 7 Stories collection and co-presented with Lucy Pearson (Newcastle University).

4)  New approaches to teaching Romanticism

This ‘Table Talk’ will draw on the collaborative work undertaken by the principal investigator and the postdoctoral researcher both in terms of Romanticism and children’s literature, as well as the project’s Impact activities, to explore alternative approaches to teaching Romantic-period writing, with the workshop open to secondary school teachers and including presentations from teachers involved in the Impact activities.

These ‘Table Talks’ will also be used as markers for the progress of the research project – opportunities to present work-in-progress to a mixture of established academics, early career academics, as well as secondary school teachers as well as stakeholders in cultural heritage organizations.

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