It is November 1794. The French Revolution has taken a sharp turn for the worse, and Britain and France have been at war for well over a year and a half. The English have recently witnessed the Treason Trials and the suspension of Habeas Corpus at home and the September Massacres, the Reign of Terror, the Glorious First of June, and the execution of Robespierre across the Channel. Soldiers are dying, the British government is hunting down spies and locking up radicals, and the nation is in a state of social and political unrest. It is at this time, at the very height of this tension, that Mary Robinson—the former actress, fashion icon, celebrity sensation, and mistress of the Prince of Wales—debuted her two-act comedy Nobody at London’s Theatre Royal, Drury Lane. The 29 November 1794 performance did not go well.
Veiled Intent: Dissenting Women’s Aesthetic Approach to Biblical Interpretation asks how eighteenth-century dissenting women writers were able to ensure their unique biblical interpretation was preserved for posterity. And how did their careful yet shrewd tactics spur early nineteenth-century women writers into vigorous theological debate? Why did the biblical engagement of such women prompt their commitment to causes such as the antislavery movement? Veiled Intent traces the pattern of tactical moves and counter-moves deployed by Anna Barbauld, Phillis Wheatley, Helen Maria Williams, Joanna Baillie, and Mary Anne Schimmelpenninck. These female poets and philosophers veiled provocative hermeneutical claims and calls for social action within aesthetic forms of discourse viewed as more acceptably feminine forms of expression. In between the lines of their published hymns, sonnets, devotional texts for children, and works of aesthetic theory, the perceptive reader finds striking theological insights shared from a particularly female perspective. These women were not only courageously interjecting their individual viewpoints into a predominantly male domain of formal study–biblical hermeneutics–but also intentionally supporting each other in doing so.
Humanities Viewpoints is a monthly podcast from the Wake Forest University Humanities Institute. It features short conversations between host Aimee Mepham, Humanities Institute Assistant Director, and a WFU faculty member working in the humanities. The September episode, the first of the 2016-2017 academic year, features a conversation between Mepham and Jake Ruddiman, Associate Professor of History at Wake Forest University, on Hamilton, the man and the musical. Ruddiman, a scholar of the American Revolution, received his PhD from Yale and joined the WFU faculty in 2010. His first book, Becoming Men of Some Consequence, presents the experiences of young men fighting in the Revolutionary War. His next projects explore the Revolution in the Southeast.
The Great Forgetting: Women Writers Before Austen is a free podcast series addressing the lives and works of eighteenth-century women writers, devised and produced by one journalist and three academics. One day while chatting on Twitter, Helen Lewis (deputy editor of the New Statesman, a leading British weekly magazine focusing on politics and culture) Jennie Batchelor (University of Kent), Sophie Coulombeau (Cardiff University), and Elizabeth Edwards (University of Wales) discovered that they shared not only a love of eighteenth-century women’s writing, but also a conviction that the world needed to know more about it. An idea was born: a six-part podcast series, aimed at the non-specialist listener, about the lives, works and legacies of the women who changed the face of literature – but had, from the beginning of the nineteenth century, been gradually subjected to what Clifford Siskin calls ‘The Great Forgetting’.
The Collected Poems of Gavin Turnbull Online presents the first-ever full collection of writings by the Scottish poet Gavin Turnbull (1765-1816). Turnbull, a younger contemporary of Robert Burns, started writing as a teenage carpet-weaver in Kilmarnock, Ayrshire, in the 1780s. He published his first book, Poetical Essays, in 1788, followed by Poems in 1794, when he was an actor with a theatre company in Dumfries. In 1795, he emigrated to the United States, settling in Charleston, South Carolina, where he continued to act and write poetry. In the 200 years since Turnbull died, only a handful of his poems have been available in anthologies or online, and his Charleston writings have never previously been collected. The open-access digital edition collects and annotates all Turnbull’s extant writing, both in Scotland and later in America, including his prefaces and his short play The Recruit (1794).
In fall 2014, Dermot Ryan—an associate professor in the Department of English at Loyola Marymount University—and Melanie Hubbard—the university’s digital scholarship librarian—designed and taught The Digital Eighteenth Century, a class which culminated in the creation of a digital space that showcases the digital projects students completed over the course of the semester. You can find a video introduction to our class and the various student digital projects at [email protected]
Our concept for the class was simple: Students would better grasp the literature and culture of the eighteenth century by drawing connections between the eighteenth-century print revolution and aspects of the current digital communications revolution. The incorporation of digital tools and assignments was intended to illustrate and provide hands-on experience with this technological shift as well as give students a new way into the study and presentation of eighteenth century cultural materials.
With over 800 images and 300 mini-essays, Isaiah Thomas Broadside Ballads Project: Verses in Vogue with the Vulgar offers a unique and comprehensive view of the broadsides that Isaiah Thomas (1749-1831) collected in early nineteenth-century Boston.
Longitude was a hot topic in eighteenth-century Britain. “Looking for the Longitude” brings together a series of images and commentaries to consider how people experienced the longitude debate in eighteenth-century London.
Sheffield: Print, Protest and Poetry, 1790-1810 is an ever-growing digital anthology of protest poetry printed in Sheffield’s radical press at the end of the eighteenth century.
Directed by Dr Hamish Mathison and researched by Dr Adam James Smith, the anthology was born of an AHRC-funded cultural engagement project focusing on the full collections of The Sheffield Register (1787-1794) and The Sheffield Iris (1794-1825) newspapers held in University Library Special Collections. The Register was edited by Joseph Gales, the Iris by Sheffield’s legendary poet and prolific champion of cause, James Montgomery.