Oscar Wilde, Collections and Collecting: Michael Seeney is our guest at Special Collections

Oscar Wilde with Cane 1892We have a guest speaker next Thursday, 30th May at Special Collections at 6-30.  Michael Seeney, the scholar and collector of Oscar Wilde items, will be talking about Wilde, collections, and collecting.

Michael has all kinds of things, from Wilde letters, signed rare editions and photos, to t-shirts and mugs.  Perhaps his strangest object is one of only two plaster casts of Wilde’s hand, made at his death-bed.  Michael is also a renowned expert on the life and works, and has written the biography of Wilde’s close friend, More Adey.  Michael will be talking about his experiences as a Wilde collector, and the value of private collections to researchers and to the wider public.  He will also tell us some of the extraordinary stories of important collectors of the past and what has become of their collections.

So, if you are a researching your dissertation on Wilde and want to know how collections might help you, or if you are just a Wilde fan who wants to know how much you would have to pay for an authentic Wilde autograph, Michael can tell you.

The talk is free, but you would have to reserve a seat via eventbrite:  https://merl.reading.ac.uk/event/collecting-oscar-wilde-public-and-private-good/


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Thank you to The Friends of the University


The Department of English Literature would like to extend warm thanks to ‘The Friends of the University’ for a donation of £500 for an ‘Images of Literature’ project. Maddi Davies applied for the money so that the Department could buy some framed posters from the RSC, The Globe, and The National Portrait Gallery to help produce a coherent literary identity for the Department corridors.

The new pictures will be selected and ordered over the summer; if anyone has any ideas for powerful images, please let Maddi and Cindy know.

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Women in Publishing Conference Friday 14th June 2019: Call for Papers

“All publishing was run by many badly-paid women and a few much better-paid men”
(Diana Athill,
Stet: An Editor’s Life
, 2002)

Feminist book history and print culture is thriving. Recent books and projects exploring feminist publishers, modernist presses, and women’s work in periodicals and magazines has revealed the variety of ways in which women contributed to the circulation and production of nineteenth and twentieth-century print cultures. Academic interest in the value of networks and collaboration and the often overlooked aspect of women’s creative labour (#thanksfortyping) is at the forefront of some of this renewed interest in women’s
diverse, deeply embedded work in publishing and the circulation of global print cultures. This one-day symposium at the University of Reading will engage with the varied nature and roles of women’s work in twentieth and twenty-first century magazines and book publishing. Though high-profile women publishers and editors continue to attract public and scholarly attention, there are many aspects of women’s labour in the print and publishing trades, understood broadly, that are often overlooked. We invite papers exploring the broad and diverse ways in which women have shaped recent modern print cultures in a variety of roles: as translators, designers, illustrators, booksellers, advertisers, patrons, editors, travellers, office staff, publisher’s readers. We are particularly interested in work exploring transnational exchanges.

Papers may consider any of the following:
– Women’s work in the book, magazine, newspaper, and publishing trades
– Women publishers, editors, author-publishers, publisher’s readers, travellers, booksellers, office staff, printers
– Women translators, designers, illustrators
– Sex + gender + literary production and the literary marketplace
– Women as patrons, booksellers, feminist bookshops
– Archives, cataloguing, and women’s labour
– Women in publishing and the gender pay gap
– Politics and methodologies of recovery work
– Women and the suffrage press, feminist presses, lesbian presses, BAME press
– Networks/collaborations
– Women entrepreneurs and the creative industries
– Womens’ trade organisations in publishing and bookselling

Please submit abstracts (up to 200 words) and a short 2-line bio by 26th April 2019 to Dr Nicola Wilson at n.l.wilson@reading.ac.uk.

Speakers will be notified by 3rd May.
The event will be held at Special Collections, University of Reading, UK, with no fees to attend.
Organising committee: Dr Nicola Wilson, Dr Sophie Heywood, Dr Daniela la Penna.

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Archives & Texts seminar Thursday 28th Feb.

Thursday 28th Feb, 5-6pm in Edith Morley, G44

Dr Will Davies (Reading) ‘“A Wedge from the North”: The Founding of Poetry Nation’.

Dr Davies’ paper  will consider Poetry Nation, postwar journals and American and European postwar literary history.

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The DEL/MERL Seminar Series, 2019: Writing the Rural

All events take place on Thursdays in February and March, 1-2pm, at
The Museum of English Rural Life, Reading. All welcome.

‘Graceful clods: soil in eighteenth-century poetry’
Tess Somervell, (British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Leeds).

‘Seagulls and Hares: Writing in a time of Environmental Crisis’
Suzy Joinson in conversation with Tim Dee, author of The Running Sky,
Four Fields and Landfill, and with poet and critic Hugh Dunkerley.

‘Song Maps and Ridgeways: songwriting and landscape’
a non-musical interview with one of the UK’s most celebrated folk musicians, Martin Simpson.

‘Time Song – Journeys in Search of Doggerland: Time and Landscape’
Suzy Joinson in conversation with author, Julia Blackburn.

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Poetry and Europe: A Celebration

However the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland leaves the European Union, if it does, on 29 March 2019, the long and deep-rooted connections between the poetic cultures of these islands and those of continental Europe will continue to be, and need to be, sustained.

As a celebration of these continuities, whose existence has, if anything, been made more urgently manifest by the current political crisis in which the countries of the British archipelago find themselves, the Department of English Literature at the University of Reading and Two Rivers Press, the town’s most prominent publisher, are hosting an evening of readings featuring poems and translations from or about experiences of Europe.

This event will also serve to launch two new volumes on these and related themes, Ravishing Europa by Peter Robinson (published by Worple Press) and A Part of the Main by Philip Gross and Lesley Saunders (publish by Mulffran Press). Jane Draycott, reading from Storms under the Skin, her translations of Henri Michaux (Two Rivers Press), a Poetry Book Society Recommended Translation in 2017, will join them; and the evening, hosted by Steven Matthews, will include guest appearances by other poets published by Two Rivers Press in 2019, including Kate Behrens, James Peake and Conor Carville.

The event will take place in the foyer café at the Museum of English Rural Life, Redlands Road, Reading, on Tuesday 12 March 2019. Doors will open at 5:30 and the event will be from 6 to 8 pm.

There will be a pop-up bookstore and refreshments.


This event is supported by a grant to the Department of English Literature from the Endowment Fund of the University of Reading and by gifts in kind from Two Rivers Press.

Further information: p.robinson@reading.ac.uk

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Chancellor’s Awards 2018

Chancellor’s Award winner, Jasmine Davis

Congratulations to Chancellor’s Award winners Jasmine Davis (BA English Language and Literature) and Evelyn Hartnell (BA English Literature), who achieved the top results in their subject at the end of their first and second year, respectively. Jasmine writes: “Studying English has allowed me to explore the world through the eyes of other people and understand something new with every word. One of the beauties of English is how broad the subject can be: from discovering history and reading classic authors, to looking at how people communicate with each other using language today.” We wish both Evelyn and Jasmine, and all our students, every success in the coming year.

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Graduate Centre for Medieval Studies: spring term seminars.

24 January, 4.30 pm in Edith Morley 124
Patrick Lantschner (UCL) ‘City-States and the Political System of the Mediterranean World in the Age of the Crusades’

7 February, 4.30 pm in Edith Morley 124
Anne Bailey (University of Oxford)
‘Problematising Pilgrimage in Twelfth-Century England and Beyond’

28 February, 4.30 pm in Edith Morley 124
Cecilia Gaposchkin (Dartmouth College) ‘The True Cross at the Sainte Chapelle and the Capetian Court’

21 March, 4.30 pm in Edith Morley 124
Tom Licence (UEA) ‘Edward the Confessor and 1066’

28 March, 4.30 pm in Edith Morley 124
Ōlafur Haukur Árnason (University of Oxford) ‘Armenians in 11th-Century Iceland’

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Early Modern Research Centre spring term seminars

28 January,  1 pm, Edith Morley 175
Prof. Alan Cromartie,
“John Bunyan and the Moderate Mr. Fowler”

11 February, 1 pm, Edith Morley 175 
Dr. Olivia Smith,
“Old Wives Tales: Imagined Storytellers in
Early Modern Science and Philosophy”

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Centre for Health Humanities: Spring term seminars







28 January, 5pm, Edith Morley 124

Dr Marjorie Gehrhardt (Modern Languages)

‘“Learning to be Blind”: The Role of the Blind Veterans’ Union in Post-WW1 France’

11 February, 5pm, Edith Morley 124

Professor Sue Walker (Typography)

‘Effective AMR Communication: The Role of Information Design’

25 February, 5pm, Edith Morley 124

Dr Ruth Salter (History)

‘Bathing, Bloodletting, and Bed-Rest in the High Medieval Monastery’

11 March, 5pm, Edith Morley 124

Professor Tom Oliver (Biological Sciences)

‘The Self-Delusion: How a Maladaptive Self-Identity Threatens our Personal to Planetary Health’

25 March, 5pm, Edith Morley 124

Professor Parastou Donyai (Pharmacy)

‘Talk Matters: Tentatively Exploring Language in Pharmacy’

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