Landscape, Space, Place, Research Group
The Landscape, Space, Place Research project is an interdisciplinary research initiative founded by Professor Stephen Daniels (Geography) and Professor Julie Sanders (English). Providing a focus for diverse research interests in the cultural meanings of place and landscape, the project has given rise to numerous conferences, symposia, seminar series, and readings on topics such as ‘Rivers of Meaning’, ‘Literary Geographies’, ‘Mappings: Cultural Cartographies’, and ‘Engagements with Nature’.
The programme is supported by a grant of £50,000 from the University's Research Committee under the ‘Interdisciplinary Initiatives in the Humanities’ Scheme. An 18-month post-doctoral research fellowship was held by Dr Richard Hamblyn (author of The Invention of Clouds) and in 2008 the group welcomed Professor W. J. T Mitchell as a Leverhulme-funded visiting professor. The project currently supports a monthly reading group and annual postgraduate symposium, both of which are run by postgraduate students in the Schools of English and Geography.
Mapping Performance Culture: Nottingham 1857-1867
This AHRC-funded project, led by Dr Jo Robinson (English) and Dr Gary Priestnall (Geography), is an innovative combination of interactive map and research database which will recuperate as far as possible the social and cultural landscape through which the spectators of performance in mid-nineteenth-century Nottingham moved on their way to the theatre, lecture rooms, or the town’s famous Goose Fair.
The Collected Letters of Robert Southey
The Collected Letters of Robert Southey is an innovative, electronic, scholarly edition of the correspondence of one of the most controversial and significant British writers of the Romantic period: Robert Southey (1774-1843).
The Collected Letters is led by Professor Lynda Pratt, in conjunction with Professor Tim Fulford (De Montford) and Dr Ian Packer (Lincoln). The edition makes available for the first time c. 7000 surviving letters written by Southey to a huge range of correspondents, including Coleridge, Davy, Shelley, Wilberforce and Wordsworth. The project has received funding from the AHRC, British Academy, Leverhulme Trust and major North American Research Libraries.
A Newly Discovered Manuscript of Ben Jonson’s Walk to Scotland
This was an AHRC funded project held collaboratively with the University of Edinburgh. Its start date was 1 May 2011. Dr James Loxley of Edinburgh was the Principal Investigator and Professor Julie Sanders of Nottingham was the Co-Investigator. Dr Anna Groundwater, a trained historian, was the project’s post-doctoral research fellow.
In 1618 Ben Jonson walked from London to Edinburgh. For many years more has been known about his stay in Scotland on arrival, when he lodged with William Drummond of Hawthornden, than about the walk itself. Jonson always asserted that he had intended to write a poetic account of his journey but this appears never to have materialised. In 2009, however, James Loxley discovered a manuscript in the papers of the Aldersey family that offers a detailed itinerary and account of the journey from an unidentified person who claims to have been Jonson’s companion on the ‘foot-voyage’.
As a result we can now confirm where Jonson walked en route, the networks and individuals with whom he interacted, and the significant sites at which he stayed. This sheds new light not least on Jonson’s Midlands connections and the Scottish literary and political circles with whom he made notable contact on crossing the border.
As part of the AHRC project Dr Loxley, Dr Groundwater, and Professor Sanders produced an annotated modern edition of the manuscript along with a series of interpretative essays around cultures of travel and regional cultures for Cambridge University Press (publication date: 2013-14). There were also symposia working with partners in the heritage industry to produce resource packs for use by stately homes and other institutions for which the walk has relevance and resonance. There were also plans to apply for further funding to produce a digital map of the journey.
Britain and Literary Representations of Slavery
Dr Abigail Ward’s ongoing project to examine how writing by Caribbean authors in Britain seeks to explore the past of transatlantic slavery began with her monograph Caryl Phillips, Fred D'Aguiar and David Dabydeen: Representations of Slavery (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2011).
This project is interested in how Britain remembers the past of slavery (if it is remembered at all); are there particular places of memory? What is being remembered, and by whom? How does literature create new spaces for slavery’s remembrance?
Professor Brean Hammond has recently argued that George Gordon, Lord Byron was primarily a Scottish writer in an essay published in the Edinburgh Companion to Scottish Romanticism ed. Murray Pittock (Edinburgh UP). Part of the argument involves a reconsideration of what Byron might owe to Robert Burns and of the uncanny similarities between their writing careers and the ethical issues posed by them.
This discussion is published in 'The "Ethical Turn" in Literary Criticism: Burns and Byron' in Burns and Other Poets eds. Fiona Stafford and David Sargent (Edinburgh UP). Prof. Hammond plans to continue writing on Burns, with an article on fictional versions of Burns's life being planned for the Oxford Companion to Robert Burns ed. Gerard Carruthers.
Byron and the Politics of Freedom and Terror
Edited by Dr Matthew Green and Dr Piya Pal-Lapinski (Bowling Green State University), this collection of critical essays explores the extent to which Byron’s texts offer insights into his problematic representations of freedom, his personal and financial support for Italian and Greek independence movements, his complicated response to Napoleon, and his interest in Gothic literature (the literature of terror), all of which are highly topical in our own historical moment.
Dr Neal Alexander’s monograph on the Irish poet and prose writer Ciaran Carson was published by Liverpool University Press in October 2010.
Drawing upon perspectives in human geography, urbanism, and cultural theory as well as literary criticism, the book considers the full range of Carson’s oeuvre, in poetry, prose, and translations, and discusses the major themes to which he returns, including: memory and history, narrative, language and translation, mapping, violence, and power. It argues that the singularity of Carson’s writing is to be found in his radical imaginative engagements with ideas of space and place.
Collaborative Plays by Shakespeare and Others/The RSC Shakespeare
Dr Peter Kirwan was Associate Editor on this AHRC-funded project to re-edit the plays of the 'Shakespeare Apocrypha' in a new edition (2013, general eds. Jonathan Bate and Eric Rasmussen). Dr Kirwan's work for this and the companion RSC Shakespeare series includes recovering the regional performance histories of canonical and disputed Shakespeare plays.
D. H. Lawrence: A Critical Biography
Dr Andrew Harrison has recently completed a volume on D. H. Lawrence in the Blackwell Critical Biographies series.
The Life of D. H. Lawrence is the first critical biography of Lawrence to draw upon the entire Cambridge University Press Edition of his Letters and Works, providing a revisionary account of developments in his writing style and themes across his career.
The book provides a major re-evaluation of Lawrence’s writings, while also offering a more inclusive account of his creative output than any previous single-volume study, paying attention to important aspects of his oeuvre which have been underplayed in earlier biographies (e.g. his philosophical, historical and critical writings; his journalism; and his paintings).
Finding Shakespeare's Lost Play
Professor Brean Hammond’s edition of Double Falsehood (1727) in the Arden Shakespeare series argues that it contains what remains of the lost Shakespeare/Fletcher Cardenio (1612/13). The edition has: enlarged the Shakespeare canon; informed new theatre productions (including the Royal Shakespeare Company’s 2011 production Cardenio); begun to influence school and university curricula; and has led to engagement from a broad range of international media and audiences.
Professor Hammond and Dr Peter Kirwan are consolidating and documenting the edition’s relevance through published articles, public talks and sustained social media activity.
Indian Identure in the Caribbean
Dr Abigail Ward’s AHRC-funded project explored literary representations of Indian indenture in contemporary Trinidadian and Guyanese writing. She considered the relationship between transatlantic slavery and Indian indenture; diaspora, ‘home’ and place; trauma and remembrance, and the twenty-first century legacies of this past.
Professor Brean Hammond’s critical biography of Jonathan Swift, published in the Irish Writers in their Times series (Irish Academic Press, Dublin, 2010), argues that to understand Swift’s writing, we have to understand the Irish dimension of his domestic life, his politics and his religious belief.
Dr Neal Alexander and Dr David Cooper (Lancaster University) have edited a collection of critical essays on Poetry & Geography: Space and Place in Postwar Poetry for Liverpool University Press. Situating itself within the wider conceptual context of spatial criticism, the volume aims to further such work by focusing attention on the diversity and profundity of poetic responses to place in the post-war period. Sixteen original essays by scholars from across Britain and Ireland engage with the work of poets such as Roy Fisher, Alice Oswald, Paul Muldoon, John Burnside, Sinéad Morrissey, Paul Farley, and Peter Riley.
Provincial Shakespeare Performance
This major, AHRC-funded collaborative doctoral partnership with the British Library, supervised by Dr Peter Kirwan and Dr Jo Robinson, concentrates on the shifting meanings and politics of Shakespearean performance taking place outside of London, and has involved research towards a 2016 exhibition marking the tercentenary of Shakespeare's death. Hannah Manktelow was appointed as a doctoral student on the project. You can read more about her research here.
Following a successful conference held at Nottingham in April 2011, Dr Neal Alexander and Dr James Moran have edited a collection of essays on Regional Modernisms, which examines the hitherto neglected links that exist between modernist aesthetics and regional cultures in Britain and Ireland.
The aim of the volume is to bring the canonical figures of high modernism (Ezra Pound, D.H. Lawrence, James Joyce) into productive dialogue with more marginal or neglected writers (Sylvia Townsend-Warner, Basil Bunting, Lynette Roberts), as well as facilitating reassessment of the geographical parameters and spatial imagination of modernist writing in poetry, fiction, and drama.
Robert Southey - Later Poetical Works: 1811-43
Professor Lynda Pratt was co-general editor, with Professor Tim Fulford (De Montford), of the first scholarly edition of the later poetry of the innovative and controversial Romantic writer Robert Southey.
Published in 2012 Later Poetical Works identifies for the first time all of Southey’s productions as Poet Laureate and includes all the other poems he produced during a colourful, but hitherto neglected, part of his career. The edition is a sequel to Robert Southey. Poetical Works, 1793-1810 (2004), of which Professor Pratt was general editor.
Poetical Works, 1793-1810 was awarded an Honorable Mention in the Modern Language Association prize for a Distinguished Scholarly Edition (2005).
Royalist Women Writers in Exile
This project was a collaboration between Professor Julie Sanders (English, Nottignham) and Professor Ann Hughes (Keele). It has ongoing research related to the Cavendish family papers in the Portland Papers archive at the University of Nottingham. The project has received funding from the British Academy and has resulted in four interdisciplinary articles published in journals and collections over the last 4 years.
The Cambridge Edition of the Works of Jonathan Swift
Dr Adam Rounce is an Associate Editor of the Cambridge University Press edition of the works of Jonathan Swift. He has co-edited a volume on Irish Political Writings after 1725 (with Professor David Hayton, Queen’s University, Belfast), and is currently working on a volume of Miscellaneous and Personal Writings (with Dr Abigail Williams, University of Oxford). He is also compiling A Jonathan Swift Chronology, as a reference book to accompany the edition.
The Complete Fiction of Henry James
Dr Rebekah Scott is editing Volume 24: The Lesson of the Master’ and Other Tales, of the 30-volume Complete Fiction of Henry James (Cambridge University Press: forthcoming 2016). Her edition will include a scholarly introduction and notes.
The Cultural Geography of Early Modern Drama 1620-1650
Professor Julie Sanders’s new monograph applies cultural geographical practice to early modern drama and makes a case for the genre’s agency in terms of the understanding of landscape, space, and place. Sections of the book concentrate on regional theatrical culture in the Midlands as well as related themes of mobility, sites of performance, and habitat.
The Language of Space in Court Performance 1400-1625
Professor Janette Dillon’s Leverhulme-funded research has recently culminated in a ground-breaking monograph.
The book adds a new dimension to work on space and theatricality by analysing a range of spectacular historical events between 1400-1625, from ambassadorial receptions and entertainments to the trial and execution of Mary Queen of Scots.
It investigates in detail the claim that early modern court culture was always inherently performative, demonstrating how every kind of performance was shaped by its own space and place.
The Literature of British India
The Maitland Quart Manuscript and the Maitlands of Lethington
This AHRC-funded project is the first part of a major on-going project on the Maitland family of Lethington, East Lothian, and their literary activities in the mid to late sixteenth century.
It is managed by Dr Joanna Martin. Dr Martin held an AHRC early career fellowship to complete the first critical edition of the Maitland Quarto Manuscript, a highly significant collection of topical, political, commemorative and amatory verse, which was put together by the family in c. 1586. The edition was published by the Scottish Text Society in June 2015. The political and topical works in the collection offer an important contemporary commentary on the events of the minority of Mary Queen of Scots, the Guise regency, the reformation and the civil wars of 1567-1573, Anglo-Scottish relations, and the minority of James VI, from the perspective of an educated lairdly family whose members were increasingly central to the administration of the Scotland.
The other material in the manuscript attests to the rich and diverse influences on household-based culture in the second half of the sixteenth century in Scotland, to changing attitudes to gender (including the role of women in cultural activities) and sexuality, to faith, and to class and society. Future outputs on the project include a book-length study of the family and collaborative editorial work on family history writing in Scotland in the early modern period.
Sample material from The Maitland QuartoRead about the Scottish Text Society
The Wollaton Medieval Manuscripts
The medieval manuscripts from Wollaton Hall Library have been curated by the University of Nottingham since 1947 as part of the archive of the Willoughby family (the Middleton Collection). The manuscripts include major literary works of significance for understanding the culture (local, national and European) of the period 1300-1500.
The AHRC funded a project to study the manuscripts in context, and a book, The Wollaton Medieval Manuscripts: Texts, Owners and Readers, ed. Ralph Hanna and Thorlac Turville-Petre (Woodbridge, 2010) was the result. New funding has enabled further work on the Wollaton Antiphonal, made in c. 1430 for a Nottinghamshire magnate. This beautiful liturgical book, owned by Wollaton Parish Church, will be the focus of a “Turning Pages” display, with kiosks in the University of Nottingham and in Wollaton, as well as a version on the internet.
Preliminary transcriptions have been made of Willoughby household accounts of the 1520s, which give fascinating detail of daily life. These will be mounted on the web, and further transcriptions will be carried out as time and funding permits.