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The Torch-page-001

Our next research seminar, on 19th November, will feature Pietro Dipaola (Lincoln, History and Heritage) speaking on ‘A transnational anarchist newspaper: The Torch (1891-96)’. Please note that we have changed rooms – we are now in MB1013. This is a change to the original programme. Refreshments will be served from 5pm and the paper will begin at 5.15pm.

Please find Pietro’s abstract and biography below:

While it is acknowledged as an original and influential journalistic and militant endeavour, the London-based anarchist paper The Torch remains poorly known. It will be examined here to gain insight into the development and functioning of the transnational militant press in the late nineteenth century and its interplay of militant and artistic contents. The paper will focus on The Torch’s editorial history, from its creation through to its heyday in 1894-95 and its disappearance in 1896. It will emphasise the role of informal networks of contributors and collaborators, which made this small and financial precarious venture a striking instance of the pre-WW1 globalisation of the political press. It will emphasise the publication’s specific ideological and generic stance, and in particular its juxtaposition of labour and anarchist militancy with intellectual and artistic bohemia; this was reflected in its staff, composed of literati who briefly dabbled in journalism (especially the paper’s well-to-do founders, Helen and Olivia Rossetti, with their prestigious artistic connections) with near-professional political journalists and militants. All these factors combined to make The Torch both an archetypal anarchist publication in formal terms, and a high-quality publication ranking among the most original and stimulating of the prolific anarchist movement in its golden age.

Pietro Di Paola is senior lecturer in History at the University of Lincoln. He obtained his PhD at Goldsmiths College, London. His interest focuses on the experience of anarchist exiles and the transnational history of anarchism. He is the author of The Knights-Errant of Anarchy. London and the Italian Anarchist Diaspora (1870-1914) (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2013). His recent publications include: ‘The Game of the Goose. Italian Anarchism: Transnational, National, of Local Perspective?’ in B. Altena, C. Bantman, Reassessing the Transnational Turn. (London: Routledge, 2015). ‘’The man who knows his village': Colin Ward and Freedom Press.’, in C. Levy (ed.) Colin Ward. Life, Times and Thought (Lawrence & Wishart, 2014). ‘Marie Louise Berneri and Freedom Press’ in: Maria Luisa Berneri e l’anarchismo inglese (Biblioteca Panizzi, Archivio Berneri- Chessa, Reggio Emilia, 2013).

We are changing the rooms for subsequent sessions. The updated programme is below:



Thurs 19th Nov: Pietro Dipaola (Lincoln), ‘The Torch: A transnational anarchist newspaper’ (MB1013)


28th Jan: Julia Podziewska (Sheffield Hallam), ‘Wilkie Collins and the inheritance plot’ (MB1012)


25th Feb: Group discussion on the ‘Manifesto of the V21 Collective’ (MB1012)


Please read this page beforehand, including the comments at the bottom: http://v21collective.org/manifesto-of-the-v21-collective-ten-theses/


17th March: Lincoln PhD talk: Grace Harvey and Michelle Poland – Titles TBC (MB1012)


14th April: Sibylle Erle (Bishop Grosseteste), ‘War, Napoleon and the Panorama’ (MB1012)



Refreshments will be served at 5pm, and the paper (or discussion, where appropriate) will begin at 5.15pm.


MB is the Minerva Building – building number 1 on the map (click map to enlarge image).




‘Summer of 1816: Creativity and Turmoil’, University of Sheffield, 24-27 June, 2016


Here are details of a conference taking place in nearby Sheffield next year:



In our next research meeting, on Thurs 22nd Oct, we will hear a paper from Phyllis Weliver (St Louis University) on Daniel Deronda. The meeting will begin at 5.15pm in MC0024 (Ground floor, MHT Building, Brayford Pool campus). Refreshments will be served from 5pm.

pic phyllis weliver

Please find Phyllis’s abstract and short biography below:

‘musical, I see!’:  Daniel Deronda, the Aesthetic Critic and New Liberalism’

This paper explores a vital and thus-far neglected step in understanding the late nineteenth-century development of the Aesthetic Critic (someone whose worth as a critic depended upon displaying his or her response). It presents a new theory of ‘triangulated’ aesthetic criticism: someone contemplates someone else, while both of them respond to an aesthetic object. This is the key to understanding how an art object can become part of the social construct.

Prime Minister Gladstone’s daughter, Mary, assessed musical performances through triangulation. Her response to George Eliot’s Daniel Deronda (a musical novel largely about aesthetic assessment), was arguably a form of aesthetic criticism, too. After each reading of the novel (1876, ’78, ’79), Mary Gladstone became increasingly involved in her father’s political work, eventually becoming a major force in the birth of new liberalism (the welfare state). Her role as the first female prime ministerial private secretary in a sense displayed Mary’s critical response to the novel. The paper also introduces George Eliot into the trajectory of the Aesthetic Critic (more usually seen as Arnold – Pater – Wilde), offers new understandings of how liberalism was practiced and, through a close discussion of Daniel Deronda, proposes fresh interpretative strategies.



Phyllis Weliver is Associate Professor of English at Saint Louis University. She is the author of the monographs Women Musicians in Victorian Fiction and The Musical Crowd in English Fiction. She has also edited two collections of essays: The Figure of Music in Nineteenth-Century British Poetry and, along with Katharine Ellis, Words and Notes in the Long Nineteenth Century. With the support of a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship, Phyllis is currently finishing a monograph on Mary Gladstone and the Victorian Salon, which will be published with Cambridge University Press. Today’s talk is drawn from this book. Phyllis has also begun an academic book with Ewan Jones titled One Music: The Tennysons’ Performance of Family Life, and is leading a digital humanities team in creating a freely available web application called Sounding Tennyson, which will be live this spring. Sounding Tennyson is the case study for a much larger digital Tennyson archive, on which Phyllis is pleased to be collaborating with Jim Cheshire, Sibylle Erle, and Ewan Jones.

Our colleagues (and fellow C19 Group Members) at Bishop Grosseteste University have put together an excellent programme for their School of Humanities Seminar Series. Information about this series can be found below:

‘BGU School of Humanities is pleased to launch its first multidisciplinary research seminar series. Each seminar provides a relaxed forum in which BGU academics, academics from other universities, undergraduates, postgraduates, and the public connect and converse in an informal intellectual research environment. All seminars take place on a Wednesday, except our third seminar in November (26 Nov.), at 1:00pm, except for the first one in the series, which starts at 14:00.

Seminars last for one hour, including a 30-40 minutes presentation about a current piece of research, followed by a 20-30 minutes discussion. You are welcome and light refreshments are offered. For further information, please contact the convenors Dr Claudia Capancioni claudia.capancioni@bishopg.ac.uk [01522 583740] and/or Dr Claire Hubbard-Hall claire.hubbard-hall@bishopg.ac.uk [01522 583736].

This new series starts on Wednesday 7 October 2015 at 14:00,  with Dr Amber Pouliot (Teaching Fellow in British Studies, University of Evansville at Harlaxton College UK), who is the first guest for English. Dr Pouliot taught English at BGU last year. Her paper is entitled, ‘Guidebooks, Ghostliness, and the Brontës: Charting the Path from the ‘Silent Country’ to the Séance.This seminar will be held in Hardy Seminar Three (Hardy Building).’

2015 research seminar series poster (3)

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