Events and CFPs

ROMANTIC DISCONNECTIONS/RECONNECTIONS

British Association for Romantic Studies International Digital Conference 2021

On the Edge: Romantic Paratexts and Marginality

Tuesday, 17 August 2021

12noon British Summer Time / 8pm Japan Standard Time / 7am US Eastern Daylight Time

Hosted by Dr Corrina Readioff and Dr Alex Watson

Paratext studies now influences every area of literary study, often appearing around the margins of other specialisms. This salon addresses how paratexts in Romantic-era literature were used to assert and construct identity, and contest or consolidate different forms of social and political marginality. Suggested texts for discussion include the paratextual material of both Charlotte Smith’s Elegiac Sonnets (1784) and Mary Prince’s autobiographical The History of Mary Prince (1831). Jacqueline Labbe has drawn attention to how Smith’s footnotes engage with male-dominated discourses of botany, ethnography and natural history, claiming that ‘the notes bolster the poems with a new version of female selfhood, a subterranean challenge to culture’. (Ma(r)king the Text, 2000). More recently, Jennifer Wawzrinek has argued that Prince’s editor Thomas Pringle arranges multiple paratexts (preface, supplement, footnotes and appendices) of History to provoke debate about slavery. Wawrzinek asserts: ‘Pringle’s paratexts…work in conjunction with Prince’s difficulties…to create spaces of potential insurgency and transformation’ (2020). This salon invites participants to consider questions such as: What do paratexts enable writers and editors to do that they cannot in the “main text”? What role do paratexts play in both enabling and impeding the entry of marginal voices into the public sphere? How do paratexts construct layered textual identities?

Attendees are invited to briefly identify their own research interests in the Zoom chat feature to facilitate networking (particularly for students and ECRs) and are encouraged to share short examples of relevant paratexts from their own research. Copies of the primary texts under discussion are freely available online: click here for Smith, and here for Prince.

This will be an internationally-hosted seminar, and participants are warmly encouraged to bring time-zone appropriate snacks (e.g. breakfast, lunch, supper) should they wish.

As this salon is part of the BARS Romantic Disconnections/Reconnections conference registration is only open to delegates. For full details on the conference, and to register for this session, please visit the BARS website: https://bars.ac.uk/conference2021/


The Centre for Printing History and Culture

 (Birmingham City University and the University of Birmingham)

Call for Papers: ‘Around the Text’

It was intended that the 2020 Print Networks / CPHC Conference would be held in Appleby-in-Westmorland, Cumbria, a small market town strategically placed in the Eden Valley between the North Pennines and the Lake District Fells. The theme of the event was ‘A Visitor Attraction: printing for tourists.’ Unfortunately, COVID-19 interrupted our plans and the event was postponed. It will, however, now take place on-line (Zoom) 20-21 July 2021.

Because the location was such a draw for presenters and participants alike, and many were disappointed not to have the chance to visit Appleby, Print Networks / CPHC have decided to run an additional conference which will take place in Appleby-in-Westmorland in early APRIL 2022.

The theme for this conference is ‘Around the Text’, and it will consider all those supporting materials and activities created around the design, production, and promotion of a printed text, particularly in the Anglophone world. Papers, therefore, are invited on those aspects of a book which buttress the central text-block but which exclude the writing and printing of that text. Possible subjects worthy of examination include, but are not limited to:

  • Material around the text: Binding; end-leaves; fore-edge printing; substrate.
  • Notes around the text: annotations; book plates; doodles; family records: births, deaths, marriages; inscriptions of ownership; marginalia.
  • Text around the text: adverts; colophons; contents lists; dedications; end-matter; footnotes; indexes; running heads and folios; prelims; subscribers lists; title pages.
  • Type around the text: border units; ornaments; rules; typographic specifications.
  • Promotions around the text: advertising and publicity; book prizes; book fairs and auctions.

Applications: Proposals for papers of twenty minutes are welcome. Abstracts of 300 words should be accompanied by a brief biography and sent to caroline.archer@bcu.ac.uk by 31 JULY 2021. It is understood that papers offered to the conference will be original work and will not have been previously delivered to any similar conference or published elsewhere.

Publication: Papers will be considered for publication in either Publishing History or a future volume of the CPHC series, Printing History and Culture published by Peter Lang Ltd.

More information on ‘A Visitor Attraction: printing for tourists’: for programme and booking.

Print Networks committee: Caroline Archer-Parré; Catherine Armstrong; Maureen Bell; Giles Bergel; Ruth Connolly; John Hinks; Elaine Jackson; Barry McKay; David Osbaldestin; Lisa Peters


Pondering on Paratext

The Eighteenth-Century Paratext Research Network is delighted to announce an interdisciplinary seminar duology hosted in connection with the Eighteenth-Century Worlds Research Centre, Liverpool. This series will explore new research into key paratextual areas, featuring invited presentations from some of the most innovative and exciting scholars currently working in the field of paratextual studies.

Each seminar will feature two speakers, take place via Zoom, and last no longer than 90 minutes. There will be an opportunity for some discussion and Q&A following the presenters’ talks. Registration is via Eventbrite, with the link to the online meeting delivered on the day of the seminar. The schedule is as follows:

24 February, Wednesday 2.30-4pm (GMT)

Dr Dennis Duncan and Dr Kathleen Keown


17 March, Wednesday 2.30-4pm (GMT)

Dr Hazel Wilkinson and Dr Karen McAulay

Dr Dennis Duncan is a Lecturer in English Literature at University College London and co-editor (with Adam Smyth) of the pioneering anthology Book Parts (Oxford, 2019), which incorporated essays from academics around the world to offer a concise and accessible history of all forms of printed paratext. He is currently completing a history of the book index from the middle ages to the age of the Kindle, which is due for publication with Penguin later this year.

Dr Kathleen Keown is an Early Career Researcher who recently completed her DPhil at the University of Oxford, with a thesis exploring how literary sociability influenced the writing, publication, and reception of eighteenth-century women’s poetry. As part of this project, she has conducted extensive research into the subscription campaigns (and paratextual subscription lists) of women poets, and has presented on this topic at a number of conferences and seminars. She is currently preparing her first monograph for publication, entitled Sociable Productions: Women’s Poetry and the Print Marketplace, 1700-1760, and is a Section Editor for the Elizabeth Montagu Correspondence Online.

Dr Hazel Wilkinson is a Senior Lecturer in English at the University of Birmingham. She is the Principal Investigator on the pioneering AHRC funded project ‘Compositor: Recovering the Grammar of Ornament’, which developed an image-based database of eighteenth-century printer’s ornaments. Her prize-winning first monograph examined eighteenth-century editions of the works of Edmund Spenser (Edmund Spenser and the Eighteenth-Century Book, Cambridge, 2017), and she is currently co-editing a volume of the Oxford Edition of the Writings of Alexander Pope.

Dr Karen McAulay is a Performing Arts Librarian at the Royal Conservatoire Scotland, expertly combining the three roles of librarian, musicologist and educationalist. Her first monograph, Our Ancient National Airs: Scottish Song Collecting from the Enlightenment to the Romantic Era (Taylor and Francis, 2013), traced the complex history of Scottish song collection and music publication whilst offering innovative insights into the paratext of eighteenth-century songbooks. In 2019 she also co-founded the Eighteenth-Century Paratext Research Network.

We are delighted to be able to offer such an exciting programme, and would be thrilled if you could join us! Please follow the links to register:

Pondering on Paratext – Seminar 1 Tickets, Wed 24 Feb 2021 at 14:30 | Eventbrite

Pondering on Paratext – Seminar 2 Tickets, Wed 17 Mar 2021 at 14:30 | Eventbrite

Please note that registration for each event will close at noon on the day preceding that seminar.

Any queries regarding this event should be directed to the organiser, Dr Corrina Readioff, at corrinaj@liv.ac.uk


BARS Digital Events: ‘Digital Editions in Romantic Studies’

The Eighteenth-Century Paratext Research Network will be represented at a digital seminar organised by the British Association for Romantic Studies (BARS). The following text is taken from the BARS website announcement of the event:

Please join us on Thursday 26 November at 5pm GMT on Zoom for a roundtable discussion between  Professor Lynda Pratt, Dr. Sophie Coulombeau, Dr. Corrina Readioff, and Ben Wilkinson-Turnbull on the topic of ‘Digital Editions in Romantic Studies’, chaired by BARS President, Professor Anthony Mandal. During this 80-minute session, our guests will introduce and discuss the work they have undertaken on creating and providing digital collections, their rationales for doing so, any challenges faced by such projects, and the benefits and advantages of digital editions and digital networks in research, in teaching, and in outreach and dissemination. After this, the audience will be invited to take part in a moderated Q&A session. 

Book tickets via Eventbrite here


Pacific Paratexts Conference Postponement

In view of the current COVID-19 situation, this conference has been postponed from November 2020 to November 2021. An updated CFP and associated details will follow later in the year.

Stay safe everyone!

Call for papers: PACIFIC PARATEXTS

An interdisciplinary symposium exploring paratexts in writing from and about the Pacific

Plenary lectures: Rod Edmond (University of Kent); Anna Johnston (University of Queensland)

Meiji University, Tokyo, Japan, 7-8 November 2020

This two-day interdisciplinary symposium investigates the role and status of paratexts in the mediation and representation of Pacific cultures, geography and history. “Paratext” is the label coined by theorist Gerald Genette to describe those threshold devices that help shape a text’s reception, including annotations, blurbs, cover design, epigraphs, fonts, format, front and back covers, glossaries, illustrations, indices, introductions, maps, prologues and epilogues and titles. 

Isaack Gilsemans, Aldus verthoont de Moordenaers / Bay als ghij op 15 vademen [A view of the Murderers’ Bay, as you are at anchor here at 15 fathom] (1642)

Paratexts have been a frequent presence in Western literary representations of the Pacific. Consider, for example, the “Preface”, annotations and glossary that accompanies Louis Antione de Bougainville’s Voyage Autour du Monde (1771); John Hawkesworth’s paratexts for his edition of Captain Cook’s An Account of the Voyages (1773); the famous marginal gloss that accompanies Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s 1817 version of “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner”; Edgar Allan Poe’s deconstructive “Preface” and footnotes for The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket (1838); Pierre Loti’s epigraphs, notes and parallel transcriptions of Tahitian and French for The Marriage of Loti (1880); and Robert Louis Stevenson’s ethnographic annotations for his Polynesian Ballads (1890). In translations, travel writings, missionary accounts and ethnographic studies, paratexts have provided a crucial site for the mediation of Pacific cultures and the establishment of scholarly authority. Pacific writers such as José García Villa and Albert Wendt have used paratexts to create a space for their voice and assert their identities in conditions that suppress and exclude indigenous and hybridic voices.  On the other hand, Patricia Grace has argued that writers from “small population cultures” should not have to “other” their languages and cultures by providing glossaries and other explanatory information in footnotes for readers.[1]

This symposium will explore how paratexts facilitate the juxtaposition of different writings, the crossing of generic and cultural boundaries, the collision of different languages and intersections between the factual and the fictional, the creative and the imaginary and the historical and ethnographic. These devices can operate legalistically to provide documentary evidence of economic, historical, legal and political claims asserted in the core text. They can be deployed to make manageable the foreignness of a text by either domesticating it or intensifying those aspects that are considered foreign via exoticization. In some cases, paratexts are utilized to assert dominant racist paradigms and contain indigenous voices within boundaries considered acceptable. In others, they provide a surreptitious means of authenticating and archiving indigenous perspectives. Multiple paratexts also offer a means of staging contestatory and contradictory views of the Pacific and the position of the speaker in relation to it. 

This symposium examines the various ways in which paratexts are used to mediate the Pacific in literary and non-literary writing in different languages. Questions for exploration include:

  • How do writers use paratexts to construct authorial identities? Why use paratexts for this purpose?
  • Are paratexts a generic expectation? If so, how did they become so? How do paratexts enable writers to place their writings in relation to other forms of writing—anthropology, ethnography, history, literature and so on? 
  • How have paratexts affirmed and undermined the distinction between factual and fictional representations of the Pacific? What does it mean to assert the factual status of a cultural artefact?
  • How do paratexts differ in versions of the same text produced for different audiences?
  • What kind of threshold does the paratext offer for agents, creative and scholarly collaborators, editors, participant-observers, publishers and translators? 
  • What do shifts in paratextual practices show us about changing cultural and political ideologies?
  • How are paratexts utilized to support and contest Eurocentricism and the flow of knowledge from Pacific to Western metropolitan centres?
  • How are paratexts used to create audiences for indigenous voices?  When does mediation become appropriation? What hidden contributors do paratexts reveal and efface? How do cultural differences shape paratextual practice? Does it make sense to use the term “paratext” in a non-Western context? What other terms might be more useful (for instance from parergon or frame theory)? 
  • Epeli Hau’ofa asserted that “our histories are essentially narratives, told in the footnotes of the histories of empires”.[2] Likewise, Stevenson famously entitled his polemic against American, British and German involvement in the First Samoan Civil War (1886–94) A Footnote to History (1892). What does it mean to use paratexts as metaphors for the historical situation of the Pacific? How do paratexts situate the Pacific in relation to ideas of World geography, World history and World literature?
  • When does extratextual material—letters, interviews, book reviews, commentary on the text—fulfill a paratextual function, and how does this complicate Genette’s model? To what extent can non-written material such as conversations, correspondence, records, journals and interviews be considered paratextual? 
  • How do paratexts operate in non-literary texts: comics and manga? ethnographic literature? the frame of the picture and the title of the art-work? music? News, translation and subtitles? Philosophy? Political writing? Religious texts? Travel writing? How does the shift to digital, transmedia storytelling and e-reading devices complicate our understanding of the paratext in the Pacific context?

Three hundred word proposals are invited for twenty-minute papers. Research that is still speculative is welcome alongside completed pieces. Please include five keywords in all proposals. The deadline for all proposals is 1 May 2020 with decisions on submissions to be circulated by 30 May 2020. Please send all submissions and queries to pacificparatexts@gmail.com.

 Meiji University is located in central Tokyo, with easy access to Tokyo Haneda and Tokyo Narita airport. A list of recommended hotels of different price ranges will be provided nearer the time.


[1] Patricia Grace, “Influences on Writing” in V. Herenoki and R. Wilson (eds.) Inside Out: Literature, Cultural Politic and Identity in the New Pacific (Lanham and Boulder: Rowman and Littlefield, 1999) pp, 65-73, 71-2

[2] Epeli Hau’ofa, “Pasts to Remember”,We are the Ocean: Selected Works (Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 2008) 60-79, p. 62.


CFP: Paratext Panel for BSECS 49th Annual Conference, Oxford, 8-10 January 2020

As you are probably aware, the deadline for BSECS proposals for next year’s annual conference (Oxford, 8-10 January 2020) is 1 November 2019. The Eighteenth-Century Paratext Research Network is hoping to submit a panel to this, so if you have a paper that you would like to contribute we’d love to hear from you! The conference theme is ‘Natural, Unnatural and Supernatural’, but papers that deal with other topics are also welcomed.

We’re looking for research on any aspect of paratextual research in the long-eighteenth century – prefaces, footnotes, epigraphs, titles, title-pages, indexes, contents lists, dedications, images, image captions, chapter headings, catch words, and more! We very much welcome abstracts from PhD students as well as from more established scholars working in the field. Please send all abstracts and enquires to Corrina Readioff (corrinaj@liv.ac.uk) and Karen McAulay (K.McAulay@rcs.ac.uk).

Please also be aware that, unfortunately, we do not have any funds to support conference attendance at the present time.

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