Prize Books and Politics: Rethinking Working-Class Life in Edwardian Britain
Digital Exhibition Launch – March 5th 2020
At the beginning of the Edwardian era (1901-1914), the British working classes, who represented 75% of the country’s total population, were one of the most literate and politically active in the world.
This was the result of more than twenty years of free and compulsory education, as well as the development of the labour movement, characterised by widespread trade unionism and socialism.
Book inscriptions offer a unique opportunity to explore the lives of working-class Edwardians, standing as important first-hand evidence of their reading habits, social circles, jobs, hobbies and political and religious beliefs. While some provide the formative voices of future Labour MPs or trade union leaders, most capture the voices of forgotten ‘everyday’ Edwardians who toiled as servants, seamstresses and miners.
Prize Books and Politics is a new digital project that brings to life many of these untold stories, encouraging fresh understandings of working-class life in Edwardian Britain.
The account can be followed on Instagram @prizebooksandpolitics and on Twitter @prizebook
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.
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 email@example.com. The closing date for applications is June 4th, 2017. Participants from inside and outside academia are equally welcome!
‘Today essentially belongs to the Minister who once presided at the Board of Trade. Several attempts indeed have been made to describe the literature, art and drama of the present as “Edwardian,” from a very proper and loyal spirit, to which I should be the last to object […] But somehow the whole thing has fallen through; in this dramatic aeon the adjective “Edwardian” trips on the tongue; our real dramatists are all Socialists or Radicals; our poets and writers Anarchists (Mr. Arthur Machen being an honourable exception); and our artists are the only conservatives of intellect. Our foreign policy alone can be called “Edwardian,” so personal is it to the King. Everything else is a compromise; so our time must therefore be known – at least ten years of it – as the Lloyd-Georgian period.’ (Robert Ross, Masques and Phases, London 1909)
Alvin Langdon Coburn, ‘The Door in the Wall’
We are pleased to announce the schedule for our third annual conference, ‘Enchanted Edwardians’ (30th-31st March, University of Bristol). Please see below for details. Tickets cost £12.00 and can be purchased here (places are limited, so book now to avoid disappointment). The fee includes lunch and tea on both days.
Monday 30th March
9.30 – 10.15: Registration
10.15 – 10.30: Introduction Continue reading
Registration for our third annual conference, ‘Enchanted Edwardians’, to be held at the University of Bristol on March 30th-31st, has now opened! Tickets cost £12.00 and can be purchased here. A draft schedule will be posted shortly.
Edwardian culture is filled with otherworldly encounters: from Rat and Mole’s meeting with Pan on the riverbank in Wind in the Willows (1908), to Lionel Wallace’s glimpse of an enchanted garden beyond the green door in H. G. Well’s short story The Door in the Wall (1911). In art, Charles Conder’s painted fans evoked an exotic arcadia, whilst the music of Edward Elgar and Frederick Delius conjured up nostalgic dreamlands.
Such encounters are all the more powerful because of their briefness: the sense that enchantment is, as Kipling suggests in Puck of Pook’s Hill, fast becoming a thing of the past. What room was left for fantasy in the modern, scientifically advanced world of the early twentieth century? This conference seeks to explore this question, and to investigate other ways in which the Edwardians understood and employed the idea of the enchanted, the haunted and the supernatural.
‘Enchanted Edwardians’ is the third annual conference of the Edwardian culture network, and is organized by Bristol postgraduate students in partnership with the ECN. Held across two days at the University of Bristol, this inter-disciplinary event is open to postgraduate researchers and academics at any stage of their career.
Our third annual conference will be held at the University of Bristol next March. Please see details below, and share with interested parties! (pdf version: Enchanted Edwardians CFP)
CALL FOR PAPERS: ENCHANTED EDWARDIANS
Third Annual Conference of the Edwardian Culture Network,
University of Bristol, 30TH-31ST MARCH 2015
Confirmed Keynote Speakers:
Professor Ronald Hutton (University of Bristol) and Dr. Sarah Turner (Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art)
‘The Hills are empty now, and all the People of the Hills are gone. I’m the only one left. I’m Puck, the oldest Old Thing in England, very much at your service if—if you care to have anything to do with me’.
Rudyard Kipling, Puck of Pook’s Hill (1906)
Edwardian culture is filled with otherworldly encounters: from Rat and Mole’s meeting with Pan on the riverbank in Wind in the Willows (1908), to Lionel Wallace’s glimpse of an enchanted garden beyond the green door in H. G. Well’s short story The Door in the Wall (1911). In art, Charles Conder’s painted fans evoked an exotic arcadia, whilst the music of Edward Elgar and Frederick Delius conjured up nostalgic dreamlands. Continue reading