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

CFP: The Worlds of John Thelwall @ Fordham (July 25, 2016)

We are pleased to share the CFP for Fordham University’s one-day John Thelwall conference, co-sponsored by The John Thelwall Society.  This conference will take place at Fordham’s Lincoln Center campus in New York City on 25 June 2016.

Fordham Conference


John Thelwall and the Materialist Imagination

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Yasmin Solmonescu’s book, John Thelwall and the Materialist Imagination (Palgrave, 2014), is now available in hardcover, EPUB, and Ebook formats. Yasmin, who spent the last academic year at the National Humanities Center after winning the National Humanities Center Fellowship, is … Continue reading

JTS at BSECS 2016 (Oxford)

Please visit us at BSECS 2016 (6th Jan 2016 to 8th Jan 2016, St Hugh’s College, Oxford, United Kingdom)!

Our panel is titled “Growth, Expansion and Contraction: British Jacobin Orators under the Cosh in the 1790s” and has been organized by Steve Poole.

Steve has provided the following summary of the panel discussion:

“This John Thelwall Society panel revisits arguments about the impact of popular and judicial repression upon the growth and expansion of radical extra-parliamentary politics in Britain in the mid 1790s. An escalating number of arrests for sedition and High Treason, physical attacks from church and king mobs, and the passage of Pitt’s “Gagging Acts” in 1795 all struck at the resolve and effectiveness of popular democratic societies, but the extent to which they contracted or dissolved remains uncertain. We revisit this question here, by focusing on the divergent experiences of four important orators from the Corresponding Societies: Henry Redhead Yorke, Thomas Muir, John Gale Jones, and John Thelwall.”