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.” 

Raising Voices: The Legacy of Citizen John Thelwall

Having been awarded a major grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, Judith Thompson is recruiting students and collaborators for her new project, Raising Voices: The Legacy of Citizen John Thelwall. Consistent with the mission of the John Thelwall Society, the aim of this two-part, 4-year project is to revive and raise Thelwall’s voice and values, and connect them to communities that still struggle to realize the democratic rights and liberties for which he fought.

For more information, please see the project page. You may also contact Judith at judith.thompson@dal.ca.

Members of the Thelwall Society are invited to spread the word among promising students.

Book Announcement: Judith Thompson’s _John Thelwall: Selected Poetry and Poetics_

We are pleased to announce the publication of Judith Thompson’s newest book on Thelwall and to offer a 30% discount for all JTS members! See description and discount offer below.


Judith Thompson restores poetry to its integral place in the long and diverse career of John Thelwall with the publication of John Thelwall: Selected Poetry and Poetics. Showcasing Thelwall’s poetic range and originality, practical fluency and influence, this groundbreaking volume contains 125 fully-annotated poems and eight critical essays drawn from both his published work and the unpublished Derby manuscript. Organized by genre and chronology according to Thelwall’s own instructions, it introduces his poetic genesis and development, theory and practice in the context of his pioneering work in other fields, as well as historical traditions, the poetry of major contemporaries from Blake to Byron, and recent critical paradigms of sociable, performative and gendered romanticism. Eight chapters cover the range of Thelwall’s poetic forms, from the pastoral that was fundamental to his revisionary poetics, to the satirical ballads and comic poems, the experimental sonnets and odes, and substantial excerpts from his “constitutional epic” The Hope of Albion, as well as a selection of his surprisingly erotic love poems, combining seditious and seductive allegory. A man of his time who was also far ahead of it, Thelwall offers fresh insights into the function of poetry in the public sphere, and a new approach to reading romanticism, based on the spoken rather than the written word. To access the Discount for members of the JTS, click here: http://www.palgrave.com/page/judith-thompson-john-thelwall-society-offer/

‘Yarico’ Coming to London

‘Inkle and Yarico’ was a popular eighteenth century story of slavery and love in the Caribbean. A musical version is shortly to be produced in London by Jodie Kidd, the former supermodel, and her father John Kidd (a descendant of Lord Beaverbrook). This musical is based on a play staged by George Colman the Younger in 1787 at the Haymarket. But did you know that  the idea for Colman’s play may have been ‘stolen’ from John Thelwall, who handed Colman’s father the manuscript of a play based on the same story just months before the Haymarket production? Thelwall’s version actually corresponds more closely to the original seventeenth century story, and chimes better with modern postcolonial attitudes: it mocks the white colonizers, has powerful female/native/black characters (Yarico and Yahoma), and has the natives turn the tables on the white colonizers in the final scene. (Colman altered the original ending in his version.) A version of Thelwall’s play was performed in Bath in 2007 by Bill Wallis and other actors from the company ‘Show of Strength’ (who had also previously performed Colman’s musical version). Read more about this fascinating story and John Thelwall’s antislavery activities in a new paper by Dr Michael Scrivener.

Photos from the First Annual John Thelwall Society Conference

This gallery contains 5 photos.


2014 John Thelwall Society Conference (July 25-27)

The final program for the conference, including the schedule of pre-conference excursions, is now available. We look forward to seeing you in London!

Third Annual Thelwall Lecture

Please join us on 2 August 2014 from 4:30-5:30 pm at the Jerwood Centre in Grasmere for the Third Annual Thelwall Lecture (as part of the Bindman Talks).  In this talk, Dr Michael Scrivener, Professor of English at Wayne State University in Detroit and the author of Radical Shelley and Seditious Allegories: John Thelwall and Jacobin Writing, will discuss how Thelwall’s ideas were shaped by slavery and the abolition movement.


Registration is now open for the 2014 John Thelwall Society Conference, taking place July 25-27 at Notre Dame London Centre.

For registration information, including fees before and after June 30 and a link to the registration site, please visit our registration information page.

For more information on the conference, please see our conference page on this site.


DEADLINE EXTENDED TO FEB. 28: John Thelwall Society Inaugural Conference (July 25-27, 2014)

We are very excited to announce the first conference of the John Thelwall Society, to be held July 25-27, 2014 at the University of Notre Dame London Centre (1 Suffolk Street, London, England).  The conference, John Thelwall at 250: Medicine, Literature, and Reform in London, ca. 1764-1834,” invites paper proposals from contributors on a wide variety of subjects. Please submit titles and abstracts of 250-300 words to conference2014@johnthelwall.org by February 28, 2014. For more information, please view our CFP or contact the organizers, Gordon Bottomley (Lancaster University) at g.bottomley@lancaster.ac.uk and Yasmin Solomonescu (University of Notre Dame) at solomonescu.1@nd.edu.

Upcoming Talk: Gordon Bottomley, “John Thelwall and the Radical Surgeons: How Speech Therapy Developed out of the First ‘War on Terror'”

Dr Gordon Bottomley, Secretary of the John Thelwall Society, will be giving a talk titled “John Thelwall and the Radical Surgeons: How Speech Therapy Developed out of the First ‘War on Terror'” as part of the next North West Long Nineteenth Century Seminar. The seminar will take place on 3 July from 2 to 5 pm at the Manchester City Library in the Becker Room (First Floor, Elliot House, 151 Deansgate, Manchester M3 3WD). The seminar is free and open to all; there is no need to pre-register. For further details, please contact Gordon Bottomley.