English Studies are covering areas of seventeenth and early eighteenth century literature, the culture of materiality, the history of the book, the history of reading and the history of perception. It is a home for the Hockliffe Collection - a unique cache of over a thousand British children's books dating from the 18th,19th and early 20th centuries.

Recent Submissions

  • Escaping to the desert: the case of Gertrude Bell

    Witwit, May; University of Bedfordshire (2011-05)
  • Review: Dean Baldwin: Art and commerce in the British short story, 1880-1950.

    Witwit, May (Oxford University Press, 2013-11-30)
    Review of Baldwin, D. (2013) 'Art and commerce in the British short story, 1880-1950' London: Pickering & Chatto.
  • Biblical proximity and women: the image of Arabs in Victorian works of religious nature

    Witwit, May; University of Bedfordshire (Arab World English Journal, 2015-10)
    Abstract The pro-suffrage campaign to elevate the Oriental female did not give emphasis to Arab women; however, they were vividly presented in religious literature and romances of a religious nature. The inferior position and the victimisation of Arab women, attributed to Islam, delivered a political and a religious message that helped steer the Victorian reader’s opinion towards a desired effect. The paper will focus on the image of the Arab woman in some of these publications to highlight that the use of the biblical element of the Middle East was employed to reinforce Christianity and combat Ottomans. The image of the victimised Arab woman also prepared the public for a future military involvement in the Middle East. The paper suggests that the Victorian depiction of the Arab female may well be the precursor of present-day use of Islam-phobic slogans that trigger sorrow easily transformed into anger at the men, culture and the religion that victimise women.
  • False freedoms

    Witwit, May; University of Bedfordshire (Sage Journals, 2012-09)
    It is hard to appreciate freedom until you experience losing it. It may be difficult for someone born in a democracy to understand, but it’s somewhat like comparing what a wild bird feels when locked in a cage, as opposed to a bird born in captivity that regards a cage as its natural environment. When I am asked about academic freedom in Iraq, it is this parallel that leaps to mind. As a former lecturer at the University of Baghdad who has recently completed a PhD in the UK, I have felt the difference acutely.
  • CARA changed my life

    Witwit, May; University of Bedfordshire (Taylor & Francis, 2013-04)
  • Nostalgia in Iraq's Post 2003 Drama

    Witwit, May (2014-06-20)
    Abstract Past and present docu-drama are mostly favoured by Iraqis, yet those tackling topics that were tabooed since Iraq became a republic in July 1958; such as the assassination of the Iraqi royal family, the immigration of Arab Jews and British and German espionage and competition over Iraq, are most popular. These themes are presented through depicting the life-stories of famous singers such as the Iraqi Jewish singer Salima Murad, who refused to immigrate to Israel and remained in the country, and the Iraqi Christian singer Afifa Iskander, who was involved in espionage because of her love story with General Bakr Sidqi, an Iraqi general who in 1936 led a coup d’etat. Both soaps are not much concerned with the social and artistic lives of the singers as they are with the political details. The singers are exploited one way or another and the audience are amazed to watch these previously banned details on TV and at their leisure. The nostalgia for the “good old days” when Iraq enjoyed a nationalist Arab spirit is revived together with the rejection of the colonialist powers, mixing past and present. The romantic atmosphere is also revived, reminding older generations of the times when singers sang of pure love and yearning for the beloved and the difficulty to meet freely. The difficulty to meet in the past can also trigger similar feelings in the younger generations, who are mostly prevented from meeting their loved ones by the daily explosions all over Iraq. This paper explores Nostalgia, as diversely understood and interpreted, both in its relationship to the present and in its political implications. The paper constructs Iraq’s post 2003 drama and its argument, through the discussion of the temporalities of discourse, nostalgia and memory pointed out in Susannah Radstone’s The Sexual Politics of Time (2007) and in Birgite Beumers’ Nikita Mikhalkov: Between Nostalgia and Nationalism (2005).
  • Market suitability: the case of Eliza Lynn Linton

    Witwit, May (2015-07-07)
    Market Suitability: The Case of Eliza Lynn Linton At the beginning of her career Linton wrote ‘bold’ novels and articles supporting women’s emancipation but later insisted that the emancipation of women was a “giant mistake.” This paper argues that she changed from a vanguard of modern womanhood into an anti-suffrage misogynist to suit the anti-suffrage press backed by the ruling aristocrats. Her attacks on women began with the women’s emancipation movements and her sensational article ‘The Girl of the Period’ and similar essays criticized the New Woman and highlighted women’s points of weakness. Through chronologically setting the change in her public attitude against real life events, taken from her letters and her barely concealed autobiographic works, this paper attempts to show that Linton’s conversion to anti-feminism in the later part of the 1860s was a change in tactics rather than conviction and a part of her literary industry to achieve fame and keep a reasonable flow of income.
  • The history of the book in the west: 1914-2000. Volume 5.

    Weedon, Alexis; University of Bedfordshire (Ashgate, 2010)
    This collection brings together published papers on key themes which book historians have identified as of particular significance in the history of twentieth-century publishing. It reprints some of the best comparative perspectives and most insightful and innovatively presented scholarship on publishing and book history from such figures as Philip Altbach, Lewis Coser, James Curran, Elizabeth Long, Laura Miller, Angus Phillips, Janice Radway, Jonathan Rose, Shafquat Towheed, Catherine Turner, Jay Satterfield, Clare Squires, Eva Hemmungs Wirtén. It is arranged into six sections which examine the internationalisation of publishing businesses, changing notions of authorship, innovation in the design and marketing of books, the specific effects of globalisation on creative property and the book in a multimedia marketplace.
  • The ‘lower classes are very hard readers’: Kidderminster Municipal Library 1855–1856

    Gerrard, Teresa A.; Weedon, Alexis; University of Bedfordshire (Maney Publishing, 2013-05)
    This article looks at the library borrowing records of Kidderminster Municipal Library at a time of economic decline in the main industry of the town — carpet weaving. It illustrates the limitations of the early libraries following the 1850 Public Libraries Act through a local study. It examines how the borrowing records recorded in a surviving issue book reflect trends in the popularity of reading materials and, in particular, growing interest in migration to London and emigration abroad.
  • A brilliant alumna: the papers of Veronica Forrest-Thomson

    Farmer, Gareth; University of Bedfordshire (Girton College, 2014)
  • Loving language with Dylan Thomas

    Farmer, Gareth (Poetry Wales Press Ltd., 2014)
  • Travel agencies and trinket shops: representations of women of business in Elizabeth Bowen’s fiction

    Darwood, Nicola (2013-06)
    Emmeline Summers, the co-owner of a travel agency in the 1930s, appears to have no real head for business, and perhaps even less for advertising strategies: she has a slogan for her business ‘ “Move dangerously” – a variant of “Live dangerously” you see’, she says, but then asks, ‘I wonder,’ […] raising her eyebrows anxiously, ‘if it is such a very good slogan? It seems to need some explaining –’[1] This paper will look at representations of the practices of women’s leadership in business through a discussion of two characters from the novels of Elizabeth Bowen. The first is Emmeline Summers in Bowen’s fourth novel, To the North (1933); the second is Clare Burkin-Jones, the owner of a gift shop, ‘Mopsie Pie’, in Bowen’s penultimate novel, The Little Girls (1963). This business seems to be far more successful than Emmeline Summers’ travel agency; indeed the first description of the business suggests that this is a profitable enterprise with a good marketing vision, for the ‘wares were some grouped, some spread, in measured profusion […] nor was any of this in vain […] five or six gazing persons were moving about in a tranced state which looked like culminating in buying.’[2] Placing these two novels within their historical context, this paper will examine the portrayal of these two women as leaders in very different eras and asks if these women, the former rather inept and the latter an effective businesswoman, are, in fact, representative of women in business in these periods of great change and questioning if Bowen’s novels highlight differing societal attitudes to women in commerce during the thirty years between the publication dates of the two novels. [1] Bowen, E (1933:1999) To the North. London: Vintage, p.23.[2] Bowen, E (1963:1982) The Little Girls. London: Penguin Books, p.137.
  • Book review: 'Posthumanism' by Pramod K. Nayar

    Darwood, Nicola (Taylor & Francis, 2014-06-25)
  • Generation and regeneration: a tale of 'Helen’s Babies'.

    Darwood, Nicola (2015-07)
    In 1876 John Habberton published his first novel, Helen's Babies: With Some Account of Their Ways Innocent, Crafty, Angelic, Impish, Witching, and Repulsive, Also, a Partial Record of Their Actions During Ten Days of Their Existence. The novel follows the trials and tribulations of Harry, Helen’s brother, left alone for a fortnight with his two nephews whose behaviour both charms and exhausts him in equal measure. It was a popular adult book from its first edition; however, over the succeeding years the novel has come to be regarded as a children’s book, rather than one for adults, and this transition, this regeneration, provides an interesting component in the history of the publication of children’s fiction. Although Habberton might have believed that the novel ‘had no literary justification for surviving its first summer’,[1] reporting that it was ‘declined by every prominent publishing house in the United States’,[2] George Orwell noted that ‘in its day [the novel was] one of the most popular books in the world–within the British Empire alone it was pirated by twenty different publishing firms, the author receiving a total profit of £40 from a sale of some hundreds of thousands or millions of copies.’[3] Part of its enduring charm may lie in its picture of a past which Orwell describes as ‘not only innocen[t] but [depicting] a sort of native gaiety, a buoyant, carefree feeling’’,[4] its popularity possibly enhanced by the 1924 movie adaptation starring the child actor Baby Peggy and Clara Bow.[5] With each edition and revision of the text, a new audience was sought. The regeneration of the text – from adult book to children’s book – is a fascinating story; through an analysis of six different editions of the book which focuses on the materiality of the book, the type and the illustrations, this paper charts that journey of regeneration, as Helen’s Babies became a novel which was firmly at the heart of childhood in the mid twentieth century.
  • 'Peer review of learning and teaching in higher education: international perspectives' by Judyth Sachs and Mitch Parsell : review

    Darwood, Nicola; University of Bedfordshire (University of Bedfordshire, 2014-11)
    This collection of essays, edited by Judyth Sachs and Mitch Parsell, is focused on the research behind, and the practical application of, peer review in higher education. Many of the contributors are engaged with peer review in Australia but there are also essays from academics from the UK, North America and South Africa which add to the international perspective of the study.
  • Eviction from Eden: the fiction of Elizabeth Bowen

    Darwood, Nicola (Christian Literary Studies Group, 2010)

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