• Languishing in 'rent-a-Marx/Margaret rhetoric': the phono-politics of Douglas Oliver's The Infant and the Pearl

      Farmer, Gareth; University of Bedfordshire (Taylor and Francis, 2019-06-21)
      In The Infant and the Pearl (1985), the poet Douglas Oliver draws on the alliterative and allegorical features of mediaeval verse to create a dream-like satire of Britain under Margaret Thatcher. Once a central feature of most Old English poetry, since Chaucer, alliteration and rhyme have often been used in the service of parody and satire. But, how do complex sound-structures aid satire and generate political content? Drawing on Oliver’s poetic and critical work, as well as contemporary research into prosody and politics, this article argues that the sound patterning in The Infant and the Pearl creates a caricatured version of Thatcher’s ‘politically unsound’ Britain. Oliver uses sonic patterns to create an artificial parody of the bathetic ‘uncommon rhetoric’ of consumerism and the ‘false pearls’ of the political classes. Far from being an accessory to meaning, the sound structures are vehicles for parodying the operations of the rhetoric of the ‘unreal’ apparent in social and political discourse. Oliver envisages sound patterning – as performed with every private and public reading – as offering recalibrations of people’s experience of language and the world, as well as leading to glimpses of a communality beyond political and social division.
    • Laughter and dying: Stella Benson's Hope against hope and other stories, and Tobit transplanted

      Darwood, Nicola (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2020-01-29)
      The novels and short stories of Stella Benson (1982-1933) cover a wide range of issues including suffrage, the morality of war and the rights of women through a mixture of realism, fantasy and satire.  Drawing on a range of twentieth and twenty first century theoretical approaches relating to humour and satire this essay considers Benson’s use of humour and satire in her collection of short stories Hope Against Hope and Other Stories (1931) and Tobit Transplanted (1931). Throughout both texts, Benson explores human frailties, inviting the reader to view her characters with an ironic detachment.  This essay argues that this use of comedy highlights the tension between humour and subject matter, and provides an insight into both her life and 1930s society.
    • The making of a suffragette: Stella Benson and I Pose (1915)

      Darwood, Nicola (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2020-07-03)
      Drawing extensively on Benson’s unpublished diaries and correspondence, this essay irst considers her engagement with the campaign for votes for women, in particular, her work with the Women Writers’ Suffrage League, and the influence of her aunt, the novelist Mary Cholmondeley, in that engagement. Placing Benson’s first novel within the context of other suffragette literature of the period, the essay then focuses on the portrayal of the suffragette movement in I Pose, a novel in which the protagonist rehearses arguments about equality and women’s suffrage
    • The material culture of Cinderella: introducing the Cinderella Collection

      Weedon, Alexis (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2020-12-01)
      In August 2012 the University of Bedfordshire was given a collection of items all about Cinderella. It was one person’s collection, gathered over a number of years in the 1990s and is an example of a fascination with the fairy tale and its retellings in our culture. It is housed at our library in Bedford and shares its archival lodging with the much larger Hockliffe collection of rare primers, readers and children’s books that was donated by a specialist bookseller from the town. On the open shelves in this cool room are the books and along side are the archive boxes with the objet and ephemera. There are cuttings, tins, jigsaws, souvenir programmes, figurines, and porcelain collectables. Each are not necessarily unique in themselves, but as a collection it is intriguing. It offers unusual insights into the range of discourses and disciplines that claim the tale of Cinderella. Through insights into the Special Collection of Cinderella material its archiving and display at the University of Bedfordshire, this chapter will examine the material culture surrounding Cinderella from the nineteenth and twentieth century. The Collection opens up the varied range of adaptation and performance that the story has inspired, containing materials ranging from opera and ballet programmes, books and theatre models, to collectable figurines, toys and merchandise. This chapter takes a perspective from publishing studies and delves into the different market sectors in the Collection such as folklore, psychology, education, self help, fiction, illustration and women’s studies. Opening the covers of these volumes it explores the tales of personal transformation as they have been reinscribed in modern retellings.
    • The paradoxical pedagogy of creative writing

      Jarvis, Timothy; Pelletier, Caroline (Polity Press, 2018-06-27)
    • Poetic artifice: a theory of twentieth-century poetry / Veronica Forrest-Thompson

      Farmer, Gareth (Shearsman Books, 2016-04-29)
      First published posthumously in 1978 by Manchester University Press, this volume turned sharply against critics of the previous generation, notably William Empson, and against emergent strains of historicism. The book is an exhaustive (and sometimes exhausting) defence of "all the rhythmic, phonetic, verbal, and logical devices which make poetry different from prose." According to the author, such devices are responsible for poetry's most significant effect-not pleasure or ornament or some kind of special expressivity, but the production of "alternative imaginary orders."
    • Pomes: incidental, uncollected poetry 2008-2013

      Farmer, Gareth (The Knives, Forks and Spoons Press, 2019-06-03)
      A selection of poems
    • Retelling Cinderella: cultural and creative transformations

      Darwood, Nicola; Weedon, Alexis; University of Bedfordshire (Cambridge Scholar, 2020-12-01)
      Cinderella’s transformation from a lowly, overlooked servant into a princess who attracts everyone’s gaze has become a powerful trope within many cultures. Inspired by the Cinderella archive of books, objet and collectables at the University of Bedfordshire, the essays in this collection demonstrate how the story remains active in many different societies where social and family relationships are adapting to modern culture. It explores the social arenas of dating apps, prom nights, as well as contemporary issues about women’s roles in the home, and gender identity. Cinderella’s cultural translation is seen through the contributors’ international perspectives: from Irish folk lore to the Columbian Cenicienta costeña (Cinderella of the coast) and Spanish literary history. Its transdisciplinarity ranges from fashion in Charles Perrault and the Brothers Grimm’s publications to a comparison of Cinderella and Galatea on film, and essays on British authors Nancy Spain, Anne Thackeray Ritchie and Frances Hodgson Burnett.
    • Review of The Concept of the Book: The Production, Progression and Dissemination of Information: edited by Cynthia Johnston, Institute of English Studies, University of London, 2019, 146 pp., £25.00, ISBN: 9780992725747,

      Darwood, Nicola (Taylor and Francis, 2019-12-13)
      Review of The Concept of the Book: The Production, Progression and Dissemination of Information edited by Cynthia Johnston, Institute of English Studies, University of London, 2019, 146 pp., £25.00, ISBN: 9780992725747
    • ‘Sparks in everything’ or ‘A tearful overnight understanding’: posthuman becoming in the Empty Space trilogy

      Jarvis, Timothy (Gylphi, 2019-03-12)
      This chapter argues that the works of M. John Harrison's Kefahuchi Tract trilogy, comprising, Light, Nova Swing, and Empty Space, offer affective maps of the posthuman terrain. Exploring the novels' allusions to the work of Deleuze and Guattari, and to Gnostic cosmonogy, this chapter explores the picture the works offer of a becoming posthuman.
    • Stella Benson: a life of reading, writing and publishing

      Darwood, Nicola (2016-07-07)
      Stella Benson – feminist, diarist, novelist and travel writer – published her first novel, I Pose, in 1915.  Her last book, a collection of short stories, was published posthumously in 1936.  Although her diaries might suggest some reservations about the reception of her earlier novels, in a letter to Marie Belloc Lowndes, Benson’s husband James O’Gorman Anderson said of her work: ‘Stella was quite happy about her writing, was sure of herself there, and had no thought of not being sufficiently appreciated.’  Others shared that opinion; for example, her 1932 novel Tobit Transplanted (titled The Far-Away Bride in America) won the Femina-Vie Heureuse Prize and the silver medal of the Royal Society of Literature. Benson’s writing was informed by her reading; she was an avid reader throughout her life and talked at length in her diaries about books that she enjoyed.  She often read a book in a day and it is evident from her diaries that she was always keen to read contemporary, Modernist and avant-garde poets and authors such Sturge Moore, Dorothy Richardson and Ford Maddox Ford (reading, for example, The Good Soldier in just one day on 3rd January 1918).  Her diaries, for the most part unpublished, provide a rich source of material, detailing both her reading and her writing.  Drawing extensively on those diaries, this paper discusses the connections between Benson’s reading, her writing and the subsequent publication of her early novels. It will explore her relationship with her publishers and will also, as a postscript, consider the role of the recent republication of her fiction by Michael Walmer in a possible reclamation and re-examination of Benson’s work in the twenty first century. 
    • The Tlatelolco Massacre, Mexico 1968, and the emotional triangle of anger, grief and shame: discourses of truth(s)

      Carpenter, Victoria (University of Wales Press, 2018-08-01)
      In the aftermath of major violent events that affect many, we seek to know the ‘truth’ of what happened. Whatever ‘truth’ emerges relies heavily on the extent to which any text about a given event can stir our emotions – whether such texts are official sources or the ‘voice of the people’, we are more inclined to believe them if their words make us feel angry, sad or ashamed. If they fail to stir emotion, however, we will often discount them even when the reported information is the same. Victoria Carpenter analyses texts by the Mexican government, media and populace published after the Tlatelolco massacre of 2 October 1968, demonstrating that there is no strict division between their accounts of what happened and that, in fact, different sides in the conflict used similar and sometimes the same images and language to rouse emotions in the reader.
    • The uses of quantification

      Weedon, Alexis (Wiley Blackwell, 2019-08-16)
      Revised and updated chapter with new material for the second edition of A Companion to the History fo the Book. Because text production – in the past and now – frequently aimed at multiplying and spreading its product as much as possible, and because those texts commonly became subject to markets and market forces, historical records of books and the book trade sometimes take the form of lists of quantities. Particularly since the invention of printing, we sometimes have information about the fee paid to an author, cost of paper, cost of composition, print runs, cost and rate of binding, costs of advertizing and distribution, sales figures, library acquisitions and catalogues of private collections of readers. The information is usually patchy, the way it was recorded varied a great deal, and much more has been lost than survives but, even so, the data available is rich enough and important enough to be treated seriously. This is where the quantitative history of the book, or bibliometrics, comes in. It doesn’t answer all the questions, and often its answers need careful interpretation, but it does give us access to parts of book history that would otherwise be wholly inaccessible.
    • Veronica Forrest-Thomson: poet on the periphery

      Farmer, Gareth (Palgrave MacMillan, 2017-10-11)
      This study offers a comprehensive examination of the work of the young poet and scholar, Veronica Forrest-Thomson (1947-1975) in the context of a literary-critical revolution of the late sixties and seventies and evaluates her work against contemporary debates in poetry and poetics. Gareth Farmer explores Forrest-Thomson’s relationship to the conflicting models of literary criticism in the twentieth century such as the close-reading models of F.R Leavis and William Empson, postructuralist models, and the work of Ludwig Wittgenstein.  Written by the leading scholar on Forrest-Thomson’s work, this study explores Forrest-Thomson’s published work as well as unpublished materials from the Veronica Forrest-Thomson Archive. Drawing on close readings of Forrest-Thomson’s writings, this study argues that her work enables us reevaluate literary-critical history and suggests new paradigms for the literary aesthetics and poetics of the future.
    • ‘The violent destruction of solid things’: Elizabeth Bowen’s wartime short stories

      Darwood, Nicola (2016-07-05)
      Elizabeth Bowen’s introduction to the American edition of The Demon Lover and Other Stories (1944) explores the feeling of ‘lucid abnormality’felt by many during the Second World War; in this collection of short stories, Bowen offers a portrayal of London life when ‘[t]he violent destruction of solid things, the explosion of the illusion that prestige, power and permanence attach to bulk and weight, left all of us, equally, heady and disembodied. This paper focuses on three specific stories from the collection; these stories – ‘The Inherited Clock’ (where time is literally stopped), ‘The Demon Lover’ and ‘Happy Autumn Fields’ – demonstrate Bowen’s own fascination with temporal discombobulations, depicting in the latter two stories the ‘destruction of solid things’ where time is no longer fixed and where ghosts from the past displace time in order to appear in the present.  Drawing on these stories, this paper discusses Benson’s use of temporal disturbances in her wartime Gothic stories to explore the fears of many in London who did not know ‘who the dead were’ and for whom ‘the destruction of solid things’ leads to a ‘rising tide of hallucination' for those struggling to live in a world torn apart by war.
    • ‘[W]hat a small gift it was’ : Stella Benson and I Pose (1915)

      Darwood, Nicola (2017-07-07)
      Highlighting my own pedagogical approach to undergraduate and postgraduate research in which archival work, historical enquiry and close textual analysis are given equal weight, this paper draws extensively on Benson’s unpublished diaries and correspondence, exploring both Benson’s own engagement with the campaign for votes for women and her portrayal of that campaign in I Pose (1915) in which the protagonist spends her life  ‘exploring the adoption of new poses in a world where the old stereotypes no longer work’.