Monday, 28 April 2014

NENC May Meeting

The next meeting of NENC will be held on Wednesday 7th May, at 5pm in the Seminar Room of the IAS on Palace Green (Institute of Advanced Studies - map can be found here

This month we look forward to welcoming Northumbria University's Sarah Winter, who will be giving the intriguingly titled paper: 'Melodramatic Monster Villains in Early-Nineteenth-Century Theatre' (abstract below). This will be followed by discussion, and drinks and refreshments at the pub afterwards.

All are welcome and we hope to see many of you there for what promises to be a lively and engaging talk!

'Melodramatic Monster Villains in Early-Nineteenth-Century Theatre'
Sarah Winter, Northumbria University

‘It lives! I saw the dull yellow eye of the creature open, it breathed hard, and a convulsive motion agitated its limbs’. 
Richard Brinsley Peake, Presumption; or, The Fate of Frankenstein (1823)

The famous phrase ‘It Lives!’, probably more widely-known in the present day as ‘It’s Alive!’, carries instant connotations of Victor Frankenstein’s experimental overreaching in Mary Shelley’s Gothic novel, Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus (1818). The exclamation is mostly associated with black-and-white film adaptations; yet it emerged much earlier than the twentieth century, as the dramatic saying originated on the early-nineteenth-century stage, when the story was adapted for theatre a few years after the novel’s publication. It was staged as a melodrama, and the novel’s ‘creation scene’ in particular brought spectacle and sensation to the production, aided by developing advances in stage technologies. The first stage adaptation in Britain was penned by Richard Brinsley Peake in 1823, titled Presumption; or, The Fate of Frankenstein. The overall positive public reception towards the production maintained perennial performances, yet reviewers’ derogatory criticism placed a label upon the play as sensationalist. However, I argue that Peake’s version, along with another rival production which competed to stage the Frankenstein narrative, exhibit socio-cultural reflections on the turbulent political context in which they were performed, thereby revealing an important relationship between theatre and political debate.



Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Call for Papers: Making, Breaking and Transgressing Boundaries: Europe in Romantic Writing, 1775-1830

Making, Breaking and Transgressing Boundaries:

Europe in Romantic Writing, 1775-1830

Postgraduate and Early Career Researchers Interdisciplinary Conference

Newcastle University – 15 July 2014

From William Blake to Germaine de Staël, Jean-Jacques Rousseau to Thomas Robert Malthus, the Romantic period is fraught with attempts to define and redefine concepts of European boundaries. This one-day conference invites papers which consider the making, breaking and transgression of boundaries in response to revolution and national struggle across Europe between 1775 and 1830. As the borders of political territories move, expand and collapse, how is this then translated into political, philosophical and literary discourse? What does it mean for a writer in this period to cross boundaries as an exile and travel in a way distinct from the Grand Tour? How are the boundaries of Europe represented as national borders or poetical spaces?

Topics may discuss but are not limited to:
  • Topographical and political boundary formation/breaking in radical literature
  • National identities; marginalisation
  • Romantic exile and exilic behaviour; movement across borders
  • Circulation of texts; censorship and suppression of movement
  • Responses to revolution and reformation
  • The literary in the political text; the political text as ‘literature’
  • Women’s writing; the limitations of liberté, egalité, fraternité
  • Literary, political, and philosophical concepts of Europe, nationhood, and citizenship
Abstracts for 20 minute papers should be 250 words in length followed by a 50 word biography. We invite proposals for poster presentations, film presentations, and interactive pieces that explore the theme of Romantic boundaries in exciting new ways. Please address proposals to Rosie Bailey and Katie Stamps at

The deadline for submission is 25 April 2014.

Our blog has a dedicated discussion page, which we will update regularly with interactive videos and questions prior to the conference:

We hope to break down the boundaries of distance between interdisciplinary researchers in the humanities, and invite you to join the conversation.