Of Victorian Interest

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Of Victorian Interest

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Birbeck Forum: Spring 2014 Programme (3/2014)

Birkbeck Forum for Nineteenth-Century Studies
Spring 2014 Programme

In the first week of March the Birkbeck Forum for Nineteenth-Century Studies will feature two talks:

  • Monday March 3, 2014 (6-8 p.m.)--Angela Dunstan (Kent): “Sculptography, Sculpturing Machines, and Inanimate Sculptors: Sculpture, Authenticity and Replication in Victorian Literature”

The Victorian experience of sculpture was mediated by the desire to get 'very much nearer to the actual touch of the artist,' as Edmund Gosse termed it. This talk will consider how this desire for the sculptor's touch escalated in parallel with the perception that sculpture was becoming divorced from its creators' hands, seeming more inherently replicable than its sister art by virtue of its capacity to be recast. The nineteenth-century saw the development of a series of machines which threatened to eradicate the human touch from what had long been characterised as a mechanical art. By retracing the history of these 'sculpturing machines' and the literature they inspired, this paper provides a productive context for understanding the many nineteenth-century texts preoccupied with replication, reproduction and multiple incarnations. Taking Thomas Hardy's The Well-Beloved as a central text, and drawing on novels by George Eliot, Henry James and Vernon Lee, my paper will argue that these novels powerfully engage with late nineteenth-century angst surrounding the reproduction of sculpture and the corresponding suspicion of its circulation in multiple incarnations.

  • Tuesday March 4, 2014 (6-8 pm)--Jennifer Tucker (Wesleyan): 'Facing Facts: The Tichborne Affair in Victorian Visual Culture'

Organized by the Birkbeck History and Theory of Photography Research Centre (http://www.bbk.ac.uk/arts/research/photography)
This talk investigates the role of visual display in the celebrated nineteenth-century trials in Britain of Arthur Orton, widely known as the 'Tichborne Claimant.' Familiar to historians as a cause that attracted popular working-class support and propelled the reformation of the Court of Chancery in 1875, the Tichborne trials (1871–1874) were also, I argue, an important landmark in the history of portraiture, photography and modern visual culture.

Future Spring Term events include:

  • Wednesday March 12, 2014 (6-8 pm)--Vladimir Jankovic (Manchester): “Climate Fetishism in the Long Nineteenth Century?”
  • Wednesday March 192014 (6-8 pm)--Dennis Denisoff (Ryerson): “The Eco-Politics of Women's Pagan Desires”

Unless otherwise noted, all sessions take place in the Keynes Library (Room 114, School of Arts, 43 Gordon Square, WC1H 0PD). The sessions are free and all are welcome, but since the venue has limited space it will be first come, first seated.

For more information, see: http://www.bbk.ac.uk/english/our-research/research_cncs/our-events/birkbeck-forum-for-nineteenth-century-studies-spring-term-2014
Please email c19@bbk.ac.uk to join our mailing list or to obtain further information about the series.

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