To mark two-hundred and fifty years of the Royal Academy, the Paul Mellon Centre and the RA have just launched a major online project, The Royal Academy Summer Exhibition: A Chronicle 1769-2018. The website not only contains links to all the summer exhibition catalogues, but includes short essays exploring every single year of the show. This is obviously exciting news for anyone interested in art in Britain, and also for scholars of Edwardian culture. Explore the Edwardian Royal Academy here.
Harold Gilman, Canal Bridge, Flekkefjord, c.1913
Edwardian scholars – including not one, not two, not three, but four of the contributors to our recent book – will be out in force at Transitions: Bridging the Victorian-Modernist Divide, a two-day international and interdisciplinary conference held at the University of Birmingham on the 9th and 10th of April. We will be hosting a panel in the afternoon of the first day called ‘Locating Edwardian Culture’, and enjoying all the other panels on what promises to be a really stimulating event. Read more about the conference here. There are only two days left to register, so if you are thinking of attending (only £10 a day), do so sooner rather than later!
Review of Jonathan Wild, Literature of the 1900s: The Great Edwardian Emporium (Edinburgh University Press, 224 pp., £75)
Shopping, like much else, became recognisably modern in the first decade of the twentieth century. One of its principal modernisers was the American entrepreneur Harry Gordon Selfridge, the ‘Earl of Oxford Street’, whose flagship London store, opened in 1909, aimed to turn shopping from a necessity into a leisure activity. Selfridge’s offered immersive and material pleasures: its departments were arranged over many floors; its spaces were designed particularly to appeal to women; customers could see and handle the wares, assisted by 1,400 well-trained staff.
Jonathan Wild’s impressive Literature of the 1900s, volume one in The Edinburgh History of Twentieth-Century Literature in Britain, takes the department store as a metaphor for the decade’s literary field. The book’s chapters are figured as a store’s departments – departments for war and external affairs, administration, children, decadence, and internal affairs. The conceit is more than a clever way to organise his wide-ranging and potentially disparate material: it focuses the reader on the consumption of literature, which is his book’s central theme. Wild argues, convincingly, that readers and reading changed on or around January 1900, as literature, and fiction in particular, became Britain’s major leisure activity, and readers, or consumers, demanded more literature, and more kinds of literature.
Writers and writing changed too, in response to consumer demand but also reflecting the profound social changes of the last decades of the nineteenth century. Continue reading
We are pleased to announce that Edwardian Culture: Beyond the Garden Party was published by Routledge today. It is the sixth book in the series Among the Victorians and the Modernists and contains fourteen essays and an afterword. The book is available directly from the publisher here. For more details see below.
Edwardian scholars may be interested in the following exhibitions at the Sainsbury Centre, both exploring aspects of pre- and post-WW1 culture in Russia:
In October 2017, to mark the centenary of the Russian Revolution, the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts will stage two major exhibitions contrasting art, life and culture in Russia before and after the Revolution.
The first exhibition, Royal Fabergé, will explore the glittering saga of the world’s greatest artist-jewellers during the decades preceding the First World War. The second, Radical Russia, will show how avant-garde artists – who had scandalised conservative society with outrageous and subversive painting, poetry and theatre – came with revolution to briefly become the State’s officially approved culture. Ultimately both high points of human artistry were to be laid low by horror and terror.
The Sainsbury Centre’s Russia Season will be completed by the permanent installation of the dramatic model of Tatlin’s Tower conceived as the most iconic architectural project of the Soviet era, though never built. With an immense impact on subsequent architects and designers, not least the architects of the University of East Anglia, the 10-metre tower will now rise in the sculpture park alongside the Sainsbury Centre.
For more information please see the SCVA website
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 firstname.lastname@example.org with any queries. A draft programme will be circulated shortly.
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 email@example.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.