Personal Correspondence in English, 1400 – Present: Programme 15-16 April 2021

This conference is taking place online. You can register for free here.

Papers (aside from the plenary) will be 15 minutes in length to avoid screen fatigue and to allow more time for discussion. We will give everyone a short break after the papers and before the Q&A to facilitate this too.

Personal Correspondence in English, 1400 – Present

Thursday 15th April

9:00-9:30 am Introduction and Social

This is intended as a virtual registration desk – we can’t provide coffee, but we can answer questions, and it’s an informal way to drop in, check your settings, and say hello to other participants before we kick off.

9:30-11:00am Health, Disability and Embodiment

Chair: Rachel Moss (UON)

Manel Herat, ‘Permanently unfit: the language of psychiatric breakdown in ex-servicemen’s letters’

Jessica Meyer, ‘“Forgive me for writing like this”: Constructing Agency by the War Disabled in Personal Correspondence to the Ministry of Pensions’

Amy Wilcockson, ‘Health and Grief in the Letters of Thomas Campbell’

Break – 30 mins

11:30am-1:00pm Archiving Epistles

Chair: Natalie Hanley-Smith

Dr Sophie H. Jones & Siobhan Talbott, ‘Dismantling the patriarchal archive: personal letters as business correspondence in the eighteenth-century Atlantic’

Vicky Iglikowski-Broad, ‘With Love from the Archives: Letters of love, loss and longing’

Imogen Peck, ‘“Of no sort of use”?: Correspondence and Commemoration in the Papers of Jane and Barbara Johnson’

Lunch – 1hr

2pm-3:40pm Family Relationships

Chair: Rachel Smith (Bath Spa University)

Shannon Devlin, ‘Turned down town on my evil errand’: siblinghood, masculinity, and self-censorship in letters between Irish middle-class brothers, 1870-80.’

Maria Cannon, ‘Negotiating patriarchal authority in the early modern English family: a case study of Susan Bourchier and her half-brothers’

Ellen Smith, ‘Staying in Touch: The Communication and Letter-writing of Imperial Families.’

Jane Clayton, ‘Discovering Constance: Illegitimate Daughter of John Paston II’

Plenary (Prof Diane Watt) and Social 7-9pm

Plenary title: “The Gentlewoman from Reedham”: Reencountering Margaret Paston, through her letters, in the 21st Century.

Chair: Rachel Moss (UON)

The plenary session (approx. 1 hour) will be followed by an hour for chatting in small groups. This has worked really well at other virtual conferences though unfortunately you’ll have to provide your own wine!

Friday 16th April

9:30-10am Morning Coffee

Please bring your own coffee and feel free to drop in for a social half hour to make connections with your fellow scholars.

10-11:30am Gender, Sex and Sexuality

Chair: Matthew McCormack (UON)

Natalie Hanley-Smith, ‘“Pray do not represent me in an unfavourable way”: Heterosocial exchanges in ‘scandalous’ late eighteenth-century aristocratic correspondence’

Mandy Barrie, ‘New womanism in South East London: “graceless hobbledehoys and hockey playing hoydens” – Letters to the Kentish Mercury 22 July – 11 November 1910′

Phoebe Gill, ‘Embodied Experiences of Sex in Letter-Writing to Marie Stopes, 1918-1939’

Break – 30 mins

12:00-1:40pm Emotions and emotional bonds:

Chair: Mark Rothery (UON)

Feel free to eat your lunch during this session! We think the early finish makes up for this, especially for those of us juggling childcare this week.

Ruth Barton, ‘“It also gives me as much pleasure as any worldly transactions can give me to hear so comfortable an account of you and your family”: A study of comfort and correspondence within three elite Northamptonshire families.’

Meritxell Simon-Martin, ‘The American Epistolary Diary of Barbara Bodichon (1827-1891): self-development at the interface of emotions and embodiment’

Victoria Seta Cosby, ‘Examining and Understanding the Emotional Bond of Sisterhood: The Dobbs

Sisters from Upper Canada to India’

Rachel Smith, ‘The Anxieties of the Canning family’

1:50 – 2:00pm Closing remarks

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