Registration now open! ‘The Spirit of Speed: Edwardian Culture on the Move’, Sept 9th

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Registration is now open for our fourth annual conference – ‘The Spirit of Speed: Edwardian Culture on the Move’, which will be held at the University of Lancaster on the 9th September. The conference is being held in association with the wonderful Edwardian Postcard Project and has been kindly supported by the Centre for Mobilities Research. Registration costs only £15, which includes lunch and tea on the day.

You can register for the event here. Please e-mail edwardianculture@hotmail.co.uk with any queries. A draft programme will be circulated shortly.

 

 

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J M Barrie Society Launched

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Edwardian scholars may be interested in the following announcement:

The J. M. Barrie Literary Society is officially launched! And for those who missed the birthday party at Kirriemuir on 9th May, a second event will be welcoming all at Senate House, London, 19th June at 5pm. See the website or facebook page for more details, or contact jmbarriesociety@gmail.com.

Barrie is too often lost in the shadow of his most famous creation, Peter Pan. Our purpose as a Society is to promote and collectively enjoy the full range of Barrie’s huge and varied literary output, from the earliest journalism to the latest plays. We privilege texts over biography, and encourage active textual discussion and appreciation. Membership is FREE for the first year for those who join before 19th June 2017: sign up at www.jmbarriesociety.com. Whether you harbour a secret love for Thrums, have been puzzled by Mary Rose, or are simply interested in learning more about Barrie’s work, we look forward to welcoming you.

Exhibition: ‘Places of the Mind’ at the British Museum

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‘River Landscape;, by Ambrose McEvoy, c.1910

Ambrose McEvoy’s River Landscape is one of a few watercolours from the Edwardian era (or thereabouts) featured in the current British Museum exhibition Places of the Mind: British watercolour landscapes, 1850-1950. The exhibition focusses on the hundred years following the death of J.M.W. Turner, drawing parallels between watercolourists (and the odd pastellist and draughtsman) working across the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Though the show features many familiar names – from James McNeill Whistler to Paul Nash and Henry Moore  – there are also plenty of unfamiliar faces within the hundred-plus exhibits.

The exhibition is hung thematically rather than chronologically, which means that works from the Edwardian era can be found throughout the room. A fair proportion of them, however, are located in the ‘a new golden age’ section, which explores the reception of watercolours from the late 1890s into the 1910s, with particular reference to the turn-of-the-century surge of interest in the work of the artist Hercules Brabazon Brabazon (1821-1906), whose fluid brushwork attracted the interest of artists associated with the New English Art Club, with whom he started exhibiting in his seventies. Other key artists in this section include Philip Wilson Steer and McEvoy. Though drawn almost entirely from the British Museum’s own extensive collection, the exhibition representations a unique opportunity to see such a large collection of works of paper from this period. Recommended to all Edwardian scholars and art lovers!

The exhibition is free and runs until August 27th. For more information see here.

CFP: ‘Movement’ for Exchanges

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Still from Percy Smith’s ‘The Acrobatic Fly’ (1910 film)

Edwardian scholars may be interested in the following CFP:

CALL FOR PAPERS: Exchanges: The Warwick Research Journal  

Exchanges: The Warwick Research Journal is the peer-reviewed, open access, interdisciplinary research journal of the Institute of Advanced Study (IAS), University of Warwick. We are inviting high-quality interdisciplinary submissions from researchers at all stages of their careers in all academic fields.

For the October 2017/ Fifth Anniversary edition of the Journal, we particularly welcome submissions which will contribute to a themed section on ‘Movement’. Pertinent to current debates within and across many disciplines, movement can be understood as action, motion, emotion, and mobility, ranging from physical, mental, mechanical, geographical, industrial to musical, artistic, social, cultural, and political. People (migration and displacement), commodities and capital (trade and trade agreements), ideas and information (communication, translation, and connectivity), and images (film and television) move, and they move in all directions. We are also interested in the lack of movement, stasis, stagnation, and standoff, for example.

‘Movement’ is a compelling subject for scholarship in cultural history and the History of Art. Continue reading

CFP: The Spirit of Speed – Culture on the Move in Edwardian Britain

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The Spirit of Speed: Culture on the Move in Edwardian Britain

University of Lancaster, 8th-9th September, 2017

‘Before us stretched the deserted road; we could trace it for miles and miles, a long line of grey in a vastness of green space that faded into blue, rising and falling with the rise and fall of the hills. Then the spirit of speed took possession of us, the fascination and the frenzy of speed for speed’s sake […] We had escaped from the fetters that bind man to earth; we were intoxicated with a new-born sense of splendid freedom; without exertion or effort we lightly skimmed the ground […] We were rushing into infinity.’ (James Hissey, An English Holiday with Car and Camera, 1909)

The fourth annual conference of the Edwardian Culture Network will be held at the University of Lancaster this coming September, in association with the Edwardian Postcard Project. Taking our lead from James Hissey’s 1909 evocation of travelling in a motor car, or H.G. Wells’s equally-breathless sea-bound finale to Tono-Bungay – we will be exploring the ‘spirit of speed’, as represented, reflected, challenged or wilfully ignored by British culture c.1895-1914. We invite 300-word proposals for papers on any aspect of this theme. Topics might include, but are not limited to:

  • Culture on the move: the significance of postcards, advertisements, newspapers, travelling exhibitions, etc.
  • Reactions to new technologies: motor cars, steam turbines, radio, film, etc.
  • Speed and freedom: travel, independence and access.
  • Rushing into infinity: Speed and the representation of time in art.
  • Placing the brakes on speed: antidotes to the quickening pace of life: stillness, slowness and spirituality.
  • Speed and exchange: The impact of Atlantic crossings on Anglo-American culture.

We will accept proposals for 15 minute presentations and panels; we are also happy to consider experimental approaches and poster ideas. Please e-mail proposals (not exceeding 500 words) to edwardianculture@hotmail.co.uk. The closing date for applications is June 4th, 2017. Participants from inside and outside academia are equally welcome!

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Review: Jewel City: Art from San Francisco’s Panama-Pacific International Exhibition

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James A. Ganz, ed, Jewel City: Art from San Francisco’s Panama-Pacific International Exhibition, Berkeley, CA: University of California, 2015, ISBN 978-0-520-28718-1, 400pp.

In 1915, San Francisco held a world’s fair to celebrate the completion of the Panama Canal. The Panama-Pacific International Exposition declared the joining of Atlantic and Pacific and pointed to a new American civilization that looked both East and West and played a central role in an increasingly global culture. The apotheosis of the ‘White City’ type of American world’s fair, it was more colorful than its 1892 Chicago inspiration and soaked in the warm sunlight and mysterious mists of San Francisco’s Mediterranean climate. The fair’s campus was a series of large classical courtyards designed by America’s most prominent architects including McKim, Mead, and White, architects of Columbia University; Henry Bacon, architect of the Lincoln Memorial; Carrere & Hastings, architect of the New York Public Library; Bernard Maybeck, patriarch of the Bay Area’s Arts and Crafts designers; and Arthur Brown, Jr, architect of San Francisco’s shining new Beaux-Arts Civic Center. The Fair’s central tower was set with thousands of glass jewels so that it shimmered in the sun; fountains splashed in courtyards filled with lush planting; the color palette that unified the buildings was designed by leading color theorist, Jules Guérin and illuminated by colored spotlights at night. This was American utopian design at its best Continue reading

Review: Theodore Wratislaw – Fragments of a Life

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D. J. Sheppard, Theodore Wratislaw: Fragments of a Life (The Rivendale Press, 2017)

Was there ever a more 1890s-sounding character than Theodore Wratislaw? His surname sounds like a Beardsley drawing: the craggy ‘wrati’ leading into the sinuous ‘slaw’. If that isn’t enough, his middle name ‘Graf’ hints at possible connections to the Bohemian nobility: a useful foil for a poet whose birthplace was the town of Rugby in Warwickshire. To those who haven’t read their copies of The Yellow Book or The Savoy too closely, Theodore Wratislaw seems invented – qualities that clearly endeared him to Max Beerbohm, whose famous fictional 1890s hero ‘Enoch Soames’ contained at least a ‘dash’ of Wratislaw.

Theodore Wratislaw (1871-1933) was, however, not only very real, but – as D. J. Sheppard’s excellent new biography reveals – shared Beerbohm’s fate of living the vast majority of his life outside of the decade in which he achieved passing notoriety. The question of what happened to the main players of the 1890s in the 1900s and beyond has always been a fascinating one. Beardsley, Wilde, Dowson and Johnson were all dead by 1902, leaving the survivors of the decade to either trade in nostalgia for the rest of their lives (as Beerbohm did, to some extent), or try to forge a new identity for the coming century Continue reading