CFP: Elizabeth von Arnim and Katherine Mansfield – Literary Connections, Friendships and Influences


“There is a kind of turn in our sentences which is alike but that is because we are worms of the same family.” (Katherine Mansfield)

Recent scholarship on the complicated friendship between Katherine Mansfield and her bestselling author cousin, Elizabeth von Arnim, has done much to shed light on the complex literary and personal connections between these unlikely friends. In spite of their difference in age and outlook on life, von Arnim and Mansfield shared more than just antipodean family connections. Mansfield’s narrator in her early collection of short stories, In a German Pension, bears marked resemblances with the protagonist of Elizabeth and Her German Garden, and von Arnim’s most radical novel, Vera, was written at the height of her intimate friendship with Mansfield. John Middleton Murry dedicated his posthumous collection of Mansfield’s poems to ‘Elizabeth of the German Garden’. Continue reading

The Spirit of Speed: 2017


Postcard of HMS Dreadnought, c.1906

The Edwardian Culture Network is pleased to announce that our fourth annual conference will be taking place in the autumn of 2017. It will be titled The Spirit of Speed: Culture on the Move in Edwardian Britain, and will be in collaboration with the Edwardian Postcard Project, based at Lancaster University. Further details, including a CFP, will follow later this year.

Conrad on Film – The Secret Agent


Joseph Conrad’s Edwardian novel The Secret Agent (1907) is currently being serialized on BBC television, starring Toby Jones and Vicky McClure. Conrad, as previous events listed here have shown, has been adapted multiple times for stage, screen and radio. The last BBC adaptation of The Secret Agent was, in fact, as recent as 1992.

If you know of any other adaptations of Edwardian texts that we have missed this summer, please do let us know!

Ten Edwardian Paintings at the Yale Center for British Art


Spencer Gore, Ballet Scene from ‘On the Sands’, 1910, Yale Center for British Art

The Yale Center for British Art – the largest collection of British art outside the UK – reopened this week after a sixteen-month building conservation project. The re-installation of the collection tells the story of British art from the sixteenth century to the present day, while a special exhibition focuses on the collection of the late Rhoda Pritzker, who purchased a wide range of twentieth-century paintings and sculpture. Several works from the long Edwardian era can currently be seen in the galleries, including the ten images listed below:

  1. Spencer Gore, Ballet Scene from ‘On the Sands’, 1910
  2. Walter Sickert, Carolina dell’Acqua, 1903-4
  3. Duncan Grant, Vanessa Bell at her Easel, 1914
  4. Augustus John, Dorelia in the Garden at Alderney Manor, Dorset, c.1911
  5. Roger Fry, The Artist’s Garden at Durbins, Guildford, c.1915
  6. Alfred Munnings, Gypsy Life — The Hop Pickers, 1913
  7. Frank Brangwyn, Departure of the Bucintoro, 1910
  8. Charles Ginner, Design for Tiger Hunting Mural in the Cabaret Theatre Club, 1912
  9. Gwen John, Study of a Nun, Seated at a Table, c.1915
  10. Spencer Gore, Cambrian Road, Richmond, 1914


CFP: Modernity and the Shock of the Ancient


Edwardian scholars may be interested in the following CFP:

Modernity and the Shock of the Ancient:
The Reception of Antiquity in the Late 19th and Early 20th Century
June 10th, 2016, Ashmolean Museum, Oxford.

Two personalities fought for possession of his soul, and he could not always keep back the lower of the two. They interpenetrated…something very, very old projected upon a modern screen.    (Algernon Blackwood,  The Wave: An Egyptian Aftermath, 1916)

The ancient world was vital to what it meant to be ‘modern’ at the turn of the last century. Yet antique reception in this period is vastly understudied in all areas except that of classical Greece and Rome. At a time when the looting or wholesale destruction of non Graeco­-Roman ancient sites is creating new public interest in their importance to modern cultures around the world, it is crucial that this narrow picture is reconsidered.

We invite abstracts for a one -day interdisciplinary conference at the Ashmolean Museum on June 10th, 2016.  This conference will re-­evaluate the reception of the ancient past in the late 19th and early 20th century, and its relation to constructions of ‘modernity’.  It will explore the reception of a geographically diverse antiquity – from Greece and Rome to Egypt, Mesopotamia and East Asia – in a variety of spheres including literature, public art and architecture, museum exhibitions, cinema, and consumer goods. As a new century began, the ‘ancient’ was signalling the ‘modern’ in both popular and high avant-garde culture, and was harnessed to a range of (often opposing) political agendas. In the process, a ‘new’ antiquity was born, the study of which illuminates what it means to be both ‘modern’ and ‘Western’, today as much as in the early 20t​h century. Continue reading

Schedule: ‘To show a foreigner England’: Englishness and the Edwardian Landscape


As noted below, registration is now open for our April 11th symposium, ‘To show a foreigner England: Englishness and the Edwardian Landscape’, organised in association with the Royal West of England Academy in Bristol and sponsored by the Paul Mellon Centre. We look forward to seeing you there on what promises to be a fascinating day. The schedule for the day is as follows:

10.30-11.00: Registration

11.00-11.15: Short introduction

11.15-12.00: Exhibition viewing, with tour by curator Gwen Yarker

12.00-1.00: Lunch

1.00-3.00: Papers

David Matless (University of Nottingham): Regions of Englishness

Jessica Feather (Paul Mellon Centre): Collecting Watercolour in Edwardian England: Landscape and Englishness

Bill Greenslade (University of the West of England): Edwardian Afterlives: Thomas Hardy and Wessex

3.00-3.30: Break

3.30-4.30: Roundtable discussion, with introduction by Ysanne Holt

To show a foreigner England: Englishness and the Edwardian Landscape


We are pleased to announce that registration is now open for our April 11th symposium, ‘To show a foreigner England: Englishness and the Edwardian Landscape’, organised in association with the Royal West of England Academy in Bristol. Tickets cost a mere £6.00, and include a light lunch. The day will start at 10.30 and run until  4.30. Speakers include Professor David Matless (author of Landscape and Englishness) and Professor Ysanne Holt (author of British Artists and the Modernist Landscape). There will also be an exhibition tour with the curator, Gwen Yarker.

This one-day symposium – coinciding with Inquisitive Eyes: Slade Painters in Edwardian Wessex – takes as its starting point the following quotation from E.M. Forster’s novel Howard’s End (1910),

If one wanted to show a foreigner England, perhaps the wisest course would be to take him to the final section of the Purbeck Hills, and stand him on their summit, a few miles to the east of Corfe. Then system after system of our island would roll together under his feet.

Forster’s comment suggests that the rolling hills of the South West should be taken as a synecdoche for England. Taking a cue from this idea – but expanding the discussion to include other regions also – the symposium will address a range of important questions: where was Englishness located at the turn of the century, and why? What made a landscape especially English, or distinctly not-English? What role did artist’s colonies play in understanding and promoting particular landscapes in the national consciousness? How important was landscape to the development of modern art in England?

If you have any questions, please e-mail us at