Sixth Annual Thelwall Lecture: “Romantics–thou shouldst be living at this hour!” (5 Aug 2017)

Please join us on 5 August 2017 from 2-5 pm at the Jerwood Centre (Grasmere, UK) for an afternoon of talks on “how Wordsworth’s writings were used in propaganda writings by political groups in the 1920s and ask what help the writings of Shelley and Thelwall can offer us for our own times.”

FREE TO ALL THELWALL SOCIETY MEMBERS. Become a member! 

For more information, please visit the Wordsworth Trust Website.

Program:

The Second International John Thelwall Society Conference, 21-23 July 2017

We are pleased  to announce the Second International John Thelwall Society Conference, “John Thelwall: Radical Networks and Cultures of Reform 1780-1820,” at the University of Derby (21-23 July 2017). Please save the dates and watch our event page for more details as they become available.

CFP John Thelwall Society Special Session: John Thelwall’s Vital Materialisms (NASSR 2017)

For almost a century, the Romantic conceptualization of “life”– its origin, its organization, and the theological implications of both — was understood to be wholly vitalistic. However, over the past few decades several studies have questioned this conclusion and called for new answers to old questions: How do we understand the difference between “dead” matter and “vitality,” or life, in Romantic writing? How do the two interact? Where does vital energy come from and how is it sustained — whether in the body or the body politic? By re-thinking the metaphors of vitality that suffuse Romantic writing within the context of the scientific debates over the definition of “life” that raged in the 1790s, these studies have found multiple forms of vitalism and materialism “alive” in Romantic writing. Others have shown that vitalistic and materialistic theories of “life” overlap in so many ways that Romantic “life” might be better approached as a version of what Jane Bennett calls “vital materialism.”

John Thelwall’s An Essay Towards a Definition of Animal Vitality (1793) directly engages the debate over vitalism raging in the 1790s and provides insight into current assessments of matter and vitality – biological, political, and cultural. Further, as Thelwall scholars have pointed out, his version of “vital materialism” informs all of his literary and political projects. Papers for this session might consider how Thelwall, in his scientific, literary, or political writing, answers the Romantic question “What is Life?” They might also examine how his views on matter and/or vitality shed light on, or obscure, his literary or political investments. Or they might consider how Thelwall’s idea of “life” can be compared to that of his contemporaries. Any paper that treats Thelwall in the context of this broad theme will be considered. Please send proposals of 300 words to Molly Desjardins (molly.desjardins@unco.edu) by Friday, January 6, 2017.

A Note to Members about the JTS Derby Conference

Please note that conference dates have changed since the announcement in the JTS AGM minutes. The conference dates are now July 21-23, 2017.

All members of the Thelwall Society are invited to circulate the call for papers to members of their own networks and/or to organize their own 3-person panels, submitting the panel proposal just as they would propose a paper.

Hope to see you in Derby this July!

Call for Papers: John Thelwall: Radical Networks and Cultures of Reform 1780-1820

Call for Papers
John Thelwall: Radical Networks and Cultures of Reform 1780-1820 July 21-23, 2017 (
University of Derby)

For its second international conference, the John Thelwall Society, in collaboration with the University of Derby, invites papers on Thelwall within interlinked regional networks of activism, sociability, dissent and reform in Britain 1780-1820.

Recent years have seen increased interest among scholars and local historians in the “conversable worlds” (Mee) of the Midlands Enlightenment and its groundbreaking intersections of politics and poetry, religion and science, doctors and dissenters, pedagogues and visionaries. As a radical polymath and itinerant lecturer, John Thelwall moved between and spoke to all of them, not only in the Midlands. From Devon to Wales, Norfolk to Scotland, Ireland to France, Roman history to elocution, he planted the liberty tree by other names, giving voice to hope and binding together scattered communities of reform. At a time of war and repression, in the face of nationalist dogma, Thelwall championed egalitarian connections and transnational solidarities that continue to offer a way forward in our own dark times (Poole).

Representative of these regional intellectual centres, Derby, the conference location, lies at the heart of the Derwent Valley World Heritage Site, a cradle of the Industrial Revolution. The home of visionary scientists and artists, revolutionary inventors and industrialists, outspoken Philosophical and Political Societies, and the Pentrich rebellion (whose 200th anniversary the conference also commemorates), it also hosts the Derby Manuscript, the trove of Thelwall poetry whose discovery draws attention to his importance in radical networks, and theirs to an understanding of his career. The conference will celebrate this discovery through a special exhibition of the manuscript. Other highlights include excursions to sites related to the industrial revolution, Thelwall and notable residents of Derby (including Erasmus Darwin and Joseph Wright), and a radical pub night with songs and toasts in the very room where the Derby Political Society delivered its notorious 1792 Revolution Address. And of course, there will be a lively two-day program of talks, panels and keynote lectures.

The JTS invites proposals for papers or sessions on any aspects of, or relationships between, Thelwall , other radical figures like Paine, and/or reform networks in Derby or elsewhere in Britain. Contributions are welcome from all disciplines and need not focus expressly on Thelwall. Topics might include (but are not limited to):
• Erasmus Darwin and the Derby Philosophers
• the Derby MS and/or the relationship of poetry, politics and performance
• the role of women in radical (and/or scientific, philosophical, artistic) networks
• the relationship of religious and political dissent
• Joseph Wright and/or the role of the arts in philosophic/scientific/radical circles
• The Pentrich Rising
• Paine and/in Derby
• Thelwall’s lectures: politics, history, elocution
• radicalism and reform: continuities and/or schisms 1780-1820
• Toryism, loyalism, reaction
• education and the dissenting academies

Please send proposals of no more than 300 words to K.Hindmarch@derby.ac.uk no later than 31st January 2017.

CFP: John Thelwall: Radical Networks and Cultures of Reform 1780-1820

First London Thelwall Lecture (5 November 2016)

14446143_10157651896410089_782227082766145506_nOur first London Thelwall Lecture will be given on Saturday 5 November by Professor Judith Thompson, who will offer a lecture focusing on Thelwall’s elocutionary institution at #57 Lincoln’s Inn Fields (where the event is being held). The lecture is entitled “The Ghosts of Garden Court: John Thelwall and the Haunted Summer of 1816.”

Programme for afternoon:
3:30pm Tour round 57 Lincolns Inn Fields with David Watkinson
4:30pm Tea & cake
5:00pm Lecture by Judith Thompson (with Q&A)
6:30pm Meal at nearby Ship Tavern

Please email Gordon Bottomley (gordon.bottomley@me.com) if you are thinking about attending the lecture and/or meal. This will be helpful in terms of estimating number of attendees (particularly for booking a table for the meal). You can, however, just turn up on the day.

Fifth Annual Thelwall Lecture (6 August 2016)

We are very pleased to announce that Dr Patty O’Boyle will give the fifth Annual Thelwall Lecture on 6 August 2016 on the subject of “Celebrity, Scandal and Reform: John Thelwall and the Beautiful Boyles.” The lecture will be held at the Wordsworth Trust Jerwood Centre in Grasmere and is free to the public. For more information, please view our event page.

Conference: The Worlds of John Thelwall (25 June 2016 @ Fordham University)

FRG Thelwall 6.25.16

Hay-on-Wye Literary Festival (28 May 2016)

The John Thelwall Society invites you to an event at this year’s Hay Festival. After breakfast at the Relish Restaurant (pay for own), Richard Parry and Penelope J. Corfield will lead a walk to Llyswen and tour of Ty Mawr/Llyswen Farm. A self-provided picnic lunch will then take place at Llyswen Village Hall, with wine/soft drinks/tea/coffee sponsored by the John Thelwall Society. For more information, please view the Event Itinerary.

CFP: The Worlds of John Thelwall @ Fordham (July 25, 2016) [Deadline Extended]

The CFP deadline for Fordham University’s one-day John Thelwall symposium, co-sponsored by The John Thelwall Society, has been extended to February 15. This conference will take place at Fordham’s Lincoln Center campus in New York City on 25 June 2016. The revised CFP is below. We hope to see many of you there!
John Thelwall 2016 CFP Notice Extended