Romantic Circles is pleased to announce two new scholarly resources, John Thelwall in Time and Text and John Thelwall in Performance, both edited by Judith Thompson.
These resources complete a three-part project entitled John Thelwall: Recovery and Reassessments, whose first part, John Thelwall: Critical Reassessments, edited by Yasmin Solomonescu, is a collection of essays in the Romantic Circles Praxis series.
Both resources fill significant gaps in knowledge of the long, diverse, prolific but notoriously under-documented career of a Romantic polymath who is now the focus of renewed scholarly attention. In the absence of a full biography, John Thelwall in Time and Text fulfills an urgent need to gather, collate, and circulate existing biographical and bibliographical information, in an accessible location and format, to serve the growing community of Thelwall Studies. This chronology and bibliography charts what is thus far known about Thelwall’s residences and travels, his chief activities, his writings and lectures, and his correspondence, along with related events, and locations where primary texts can be found.
John Thelwall in Performance: The Fairy of the Lake documents the first full production of a Thelwall play. It contains an introductory essay by Judith Thompson (“Origins, Contexts, Transformations: Reviving the Fairy of the Lake”) and a full performance video of the 2009 Dalhousie/Zuppa Theatre production of Thelwall’s 1801 “dramatic romance,” as well as a series of series of short video documentaries by student filmmaker Brooke Fifield, exploring the creative challenges, practical considerations and unexpected delights involved in bringing a long-neglected piece of radical Romantic theatre from dusty page to modern stage.
We here at Romantic Circles recently received an intriguing email we thought was worth passing on, from one Vicki Parslow Stafford:
I would like to bring to the attention of Romantic scholars, historians and biographers a collection of letters held by the Somerset Record Office which establishes the identity of the father of Mary Jane ‘Claire’ Clairmont, daughter of Mrs. Mary Jane Godwin (nee Vial) and stepsister of Mary Shelley.
The letters span the period from 1797, when Mary Jane Vial’s daughter was conceived, until early 1814. They were formerly held by Dodson and Pulman, Solicitors of Taunton, Somerset, UK. The collection comprises holograph letters from Mary Jane Vial to her former lover John Lethbridge, of Sandhill Park, Somerset; to his lawyer Robert Beadon; and to several others. It also contains letters from Lethbridge to his lawyer, and sundry file notes and correspondence from Mary Jane Vial’s lawyer William Lambert White, of Yeovil. The correspondence is concerned with securing financial support for Mary Jane, Vial’s daughter with John Lethbridge. It includes a number of letters written by Vial between April and August 1799, when she was imprisoned for debt at Ilchester.
The documents are archived at Somerset Archive and Record Service http://www1.somerset.gov.uk/archives/, catalogue reference DD\DP 17/11, Papers of Dodson and Pulman, Solicitors of Taunton, Lethbridge estate papers (correspondence concerning Mary Jane Vial).
Please be aware that I am not a Romantic scholar or historian (I am an alumnus of the the University of Queensland but my professional experience is in disability policy and program development). I have a keen amateur interest in genealogy, and came across this collection while researching an ancestor also named Mary Vial. As a consequence, my website may well not meet the Romatic Circle’s rigorous standards for electronic resources.
Nevertheless, I would be pleased if you would take whatever steps you consider appropriate to advise your members and readers of the existence of this previously unpublished material. I am sure it will be of interest to many. I would also be very glad to receive any criticisms of the content of the website and suggestions for its improvement.
Vicki Parslow Stafford
vpstafford ~[at]~ optusnet.com.au
Romantic Circles is pleased to announce a newly published essay by Joseph Viscomi, “Wordsworth’s Dramatic Antipicturesque: Burke, Gilpin, and ‘Lines left upon a Seat in a Yew-tree.” In this piece, which is available for reading on the Web or for downloading to your computer in PDF format, Viscomi offers a new reading of “Lines left upon a Seat in a Yew-tree,” providing the grounds for thinking of it as a dramatic monologue critiquing Gilpin’s idea of the picturesque. This extended essay with two illustrations is the full version of Viscomi’s contribution to the special issue of The Wordsworth Circle (38:1-2) dedicated to Karl Kroeber and guest edited by Toby Benis. It can be accessed directly here:
–or from our Scholarly Resources page.