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Our final C19 session of this Semester features Dr. Amy Culley (Lincoln) talking to us on ‘Narratives of Ageing in the Life Writing of Mary Berry’ (no, not that one).


The session will take place next Thursday, the 30th November, in room MB3202. The paper will begin at 5.15pm, with refreshments from 5pm.


Please find Amy’s abstract and bio below.


See you there!


Old Maid


‘A journal of my feelings, mind & Body’

Narratives of Ageing in the Life Writing of Mary Berry (1763-1852)


This paper provides new perspectives on old age, gender, and sociability in the early nineteenth century through discussion of a rich variety of life writing texts by historian, biographer, and editor, Mary Berry. In her manuscript journal, Berry narrates her experience of the life course from her twenties until her death at the age of eighty-nine in a self-conscious and intimate commentary on ageing as a single woman. She mixes chronological, personal, cultural, and physical definitions of ageing, and addresses themes of the body, memory, reading, writing, faith and friendship. Yet a comparison of her manuscript with the posthumously published printed work of 1865 reveals how Berry’s reflections on old age were radically reshaped for a Victorian readership. Beyond the journal, Berry’s correspondence within a network of older male and female letter-writers provides insight into intragenerational relationships and highlights the significance of age for studies of friendship in this period. The theme also manifests in her biographical works, in which her depictions of older female figures do not treat old age as an epilogue to a life (as is typical of the biographical tradition) but rather develop the critical reflections on the pleasures and perils of ageing expressed in her journal. In recent years there has been a growing critical recognition of Berry, beyond her image as the youthful friend and editor of Horace Walpole, and her life and work have featured in studies of literary salons, travel writing, the theatre, historical writing, and women’s literary networks. Reading Berry’s life writing through the lens of ageing contributes to this work of recovery and reveals her as an acute reporter on her travels through late life.


Amy Culley is Senior Lecturer in English at the University of Lincoln. She is the author of British Women’s Life Writing, 1760–1840: Friendship, Community, and Collaboration (Palgrave, 2014), co-editor with Anna Fitzer of Editing Women’s Writing, 1670-1840 (Routledge, 2017), co-editor with Daniel Cook of Women’s Life Writing, 1700–1850: Gender, Genre and Authorship (Palgrave, 2012), and editor of Women’s Court and Society Memoirs, volumes 1–4 (Pickering & Chatto, 2009). She is currently researching narratives of ageing and old age in women’s life writing of the early nineteenth century, supported by a BA/Leverhulme Small Research Grant.


Please find below details of our first C19 Research Group session, which will take place on Thursday 12th October in room MB3202 (Minerva building, 3rd floor), with refreshments served from 5pm and the paper due to start at 5.15pm.


We hope to see lots of you there!

Lister WYAS




Dr. Cassie Ulph (Bishop Grosseteste University), ‘Anne Lister, the Halifax Lit and Phil, and Civic Improvement’


Anne Lister (1791-1840) is best – and rightly – known as a pivotal figure in the history of sexuality, whose detailed diaries of homosexual relationships, and same sex de facto marriage to her partner Ann Walker, disrupt assumptions about the sexual norms of the early nineteenth century.  This paper will address another aspect of Lister’s resistance to gendered norms, in the form of her active and determined engagement in the civic life and politics of Halifax.  Focusing on Lister’s membership of the Halifax Literary and Philosophical Society (est. 1830), I will consider the ways in which civic leaders hoped to shape the culture of their town through such institutions, and the opportunity this presented in turn for Lister to shape her own identity and dynastic legacy.  I will also examine the extent and meaningfulness of Lister’s participation in the Society, in light of other intellectual and social networks of which she was part.


Cassie Ulph is a Lecturer in English at Bishop Grosseteste University, Lincoln, specialising in the literature and culture of the long eighteenth century.  She received her PhD from the University of Leeds in 2012, with a thesis that recontextualised Frances Burney’s work in relation to her formative experience of London artistic and musical culture, and her father Charles’s social and professional networks. Cassie’s recent work has focussed on women and intellectual community more broadly, and in particular on Hester Piozzi and Anne Lister.  Before joining BGU in 2016, Cassie was a research fellow on the Leverhulme-funded Networks of Improvement project at the Centre for Eighteenth-Century Studies, University of York, and taught literature of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries at the Universities of Leeds and Manchester. In 2016, Cassie was awarded the McGill-ASECS Burney Fellowship, and the 2016-17 ASECS fellowship at the Houghton Library, Harvard University. Cassie is a committee member, conference organiser and former treasurer of the Burney Society UK, and was a member of the organising committee of the 2017 British Association of Victorian Studies conference held at BGU.

The C19 schedule for Semester A is out, and we are delighted to have put together such an exciting programme. Please see details below.


Events Programme, 2017-18 – Semester A


12th Oct: Cassie Ulph (Bishop Grosseteste University) – ‘Anne Lister, the Halifax Lit and Phil, and Civic Improvement’


9th Nov: Enrico Acciai (University of Leeds) – ‘A Transnational Volunteer: the Life of Amilcare Cipriani between Garibaldinism and Radicalism’


30th Nov: Amy Culley (University of Lincoln) – ‘“A journal of my feelings, mind & Body”: Narratives of Ageing in the Life Writing of Mary Berry (1763-1852)’


All meetings take place in MB3202. Refreshments will be served at 5pm, and the session will begin at 5.15pm.


Finally, don’t forget to follow the group on Twitter – https://twitter.com/19thCLincoln


See you there!

At 4pm on Weds 24th May in room MB3202, Dr. Claire Nally (Northumbria) will be giving a talk on ‘Steampunk and the Museum’. Clarie’s paper will be the culmination of the Nineteenth-Century MA Symposium and is open to all. You can see Claire’s abstract and biography below. Refreshments will be available.

Please save the date and come along!


Abstract: ‘Steampunk and the Museum: Exhibition and Collaboration’

This talk will address experiences of the Fabricating Histories exhibition at Discovery Museum, Newcastle (November 2016 to May 2017). Co-curated by Northumbria University, an independent artist curator, and Tyne and Wear Archives and Museums, the exhibition sought to articulate ideas around Neo-Victorianism, steampunk, and the way in which we evaluate and re-present histories and cultures. Some of the challenges experienced related to characterising subcultures for a general audience, who may be encountering such ideas as steampunk for the first time. We sought to generate a narrative which related in part to local history, involving the steampunk community and seeking to identify the imaginative aspects of steampunk culture, whilst at the same time attempting to provide an accessible and educational event.

Short Bio

Claire Nally is a Senior Lecturer in Twentieth-Century English Literature, and researches Irish Studies, Neo-Victorianism, Gender and Subcultures. She arrived at Northumbria University in 2011, following a lectureship at University of Hull, and a research post funded by the Leverhulme Trust. She has published widely on W. B. Yeats and Ireland, popular culture, and especially, subcultures such as burlesque, goth and steampunk. Additionally, with Angela Smith (University of Sunderland), she has co-edited two volumes on gender, as well as the library series ‘Gender and Popular Culture’ for I. B. Tauris. Her current monograph looks at the development of steampunk in literature, film, music, and fashion.


On Thurs 27th April, Dr. David Ibitson will present a paper entitled ‘ “My friends have been making me take up golf”: golf and the construction of masculinity in the ghost stories of M.R. James’. Refreshments will be served at 5pm and the paper will start at 5.15pm. We are in room MB3202 in the Minerva Building.

advice to caddies

Please find David’s abstract and biography below:

This paper will look at how the ghost stories of M.R. James engage with fin de siècle concerns about masculinity.  Taking the references to golf as its focus, it investigates how these texts parody and critique ideals of Victorian manliness, highlighting a comic irony often overlooked in criticism of James’s work.

Golf’s uncertain status as a masculine activity will be shown to highlight the problematic masculine status of his protagonists as they undergo processes of enervation and infantilisation. This ambiguous manliness will then be situated in the context of contemporary urban escape programmes for young boys, illustrated by both the Boys’ Brigade and Boy Scout movements, as well as key examples of popular boy’s own adventure literature.

In acquiescing to social pressures which promote the playing of sport as a vital part of manly development, James’s protagonists evoke these social and literary source texts. Yet, their questionable masculinity, rather than merely working to utilise the men as comic currency, has the effect of resisting a muscular masculinity. In turn, the militarism of these organisations will be shown to allow James’s stories to function as attacks on popular conceptions of Imperial heroism.

James is revealed to be actively participating in contemporary discourses about nation, Empire, and masculine fitness, acting upon social and literary parodic targets as a sporting Gothic burlesque of ideas of gender and heroism.



David gained his PhD in English Literature from the University of Leeds, with his thesis focusing on parody, depictions of Empire, and ideas of authorship in the works of the writer Jerome K. Jerome. His research interests are in Victorian and Edwardian popular culture, New Humour, adventure fiction, and literary depictions of office work. He has published on Jerome K. Jerome, Victorian popular music, urban exploration, and urban escape programmes. He is currently Subject Lead in English at the University Centre at North Lindsey College.


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