Archives & Texts: Dr Daisy Hay, 5 pm Thursday Feb. 8th, Edith Morley G10

Dr Daisy Hay will give a talk from her new book, a cultural history of English Romanticism entitled Dinner with Joseph Johnson.

Daisy is an award-winning author, biographer, and popular speaker. Her books have focused on the intersections between literature, history and politics in nineteenth-century Britain and in the public significance of the private life in Romantic and post-Romantic literature.

She is the author of Young Romantics: The Shelleys, Byron and Other Tangled Lives and Mr and Mrs Disraeli: A Strange Romance.

In this talk she will outline the shape of her current project, a book provisionally entitled Dinner with Joseph Johnson. Joseph Johnson published many of the writers we associate with the early Romantic period, and every week at his dinner table he brought them together, welding them into a shifting community with overlapping passions and preoccupations. In the late eighteenth century the makers of books were the makers of dreams, producing groups who between them created new kinds of literature, new conceptions of creativity, and new national narratives. Dinner with Joseph Johnson will position Johnson at the centre of a group biography whose cast will include Anna Barbauld, Sarah Trimmer, Mary Wollstonecraft, William Godwin, William Cowper, Joseph Priestley, Erasmus Darwin, Henry Fuseli, Theophilus Lindsey, William Blake, Thomas Paine, Charlotte Smith and Maria Edgeworth, among others. In her paper Daisy will sketch out some of the creative and technical challenges inherent in shaping a narrative out of this cast list, discuss matters of biographical process, and share some early thoughts about the way in which Johnson’s dealings with his authors reveal the dynamics of the circle he created.

About English Literature at Reading

The Department of English Literature at Reading has been an internationally recognised centre for research and teaching in English Studies for over a hundred years. Our teaching system, with its emphasis on seminars and tutorial work, encourages our students to discuss ideas with tutors and other students in a relaxed and supportive atmosphere. All of our students have access to dedicated study advisors; our academic placement scheme and 'professional track' programme provide invaluable preparation for subsequent careers.
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