Romantic Circles Blog

SoHo Rep Production of Frankenstein

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It has just been announced that Soho Rep theater company in New York in conjunction with the Brooklyn troupe, The Flying Machine, will co-present a new theatrical adaptation of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, to run Dec. 9, 2004-Jan. 8, 2005. The treatment was written by Joshua Carlebach, and the show was developed during a July 24–26, 2003, workshop. The production will make use of mime, dance, music, puppets and props.

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4 August 1792

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On yesterday's date in 1792 Percy Bysshe Shelley was born in Sussex. See this review by Nora Crook of The Shelleys of Field Place, as well as an earlier Romantic Circles Editors' Dispatch column by the book's author. In textual commemoration, Neil Fraistat makes available the following opening stanzas of Queen Mab, Canto IX (a sneak preview of Volume II of The Complete Poetry of Percy Bysshe Shelley, now at press, to be published in December), which imagine nothing less than the utopian renovation of the world.

O happy Earth! reality of Heaven!
To which those restless souls that ceaselessly
Throng through the human universe, aspire;
Thou consummation of all mortal hope!
Thou glorious prize of blindly-working will! 5
Whose rays, diffused throughout all space and time,
Verge to one point and blend forever there:
Of purest spirits thou pure dwelling-place!
Where care and sorrow, impotence and crime,
Languor, disease, and ignorance dare not come: 10
O happy Earth, reality of Heaven!

Genius has seen thee in her passionate dreams,
And dim forebodings of thy loveliness
Haunting the human heart, have there entwined
Those rooted hopes of some sweet place of bliss 15
Where friends and lovers meet to part no more.
Thou art the end of all desire and will,
The product of all action; and the souls
That by the paths of an aspiring change
Have reached thy haven of perpetual peace, 20
There rest from the eternity of toil
That framed the fabric of thy perfectness.

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NASSR 2004 in Colorado (reminder)

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This seems a good time to post a reminder of the NASSR 2004 conference, "Romantic Cosmopolitanism," to be held at the University of Colorado, Boulder, 9-12 September 2004. The conference Website contains a program, registration form (which must be printed out and mailed), and information on lodging, special events, etc.

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Holmes to edit Gilchrist on Blake

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Gilchrist on Blake, a new edition of the 1863 Life of William Blake by Alexander Gilchrist, will be published by Harper Collins in August, edited by biographer Richard Holmes.

This is from the description on the Harper Collins Website:

. . . the first biography of William Blake ever written, at a time when the great visionary poet and painter was generally forgotten, ridiculed or dismissed as insane. Wonderfully vivid and outspoken (one chapter is entitled ‘Mad or Not Mad’), it was based on revealing interviews with many of Blake’s surviving friends. . . . Gilchrist adds detailed descriptions of Blake’s beliefs and working methods, an account of his trial for high treason and fascinating evocations of the places in London, Kent and Sussex where he lived. The book transformed Blake’s reputation.

Last spring the Guardian printed an excerpt from Holmes' introduction, which is available here.

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Blue Plaque unveiled for Mary Wollstonecraft

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Author Claire Tomalin recently unveiled another blue plaque to honor the Godwin-Shelley circle, this time Mary Wollstonecraft, who lived at number 45 Dolben Street in London in 1788.

See a brief story and a series of pictures on the London SE1 community Website:

http://www.london-se1.co.uk/news/view.php?ArtID=1084

You can compare here another post on this blog about a recent blue-plaque ceremony to honor her daughter.

* * *

On this day in 1822 Percy Shelley drowned off the coast of Lerici, a fact that made it on to several "on this day" lists on the Web for today.

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Blake Archive: Visions of the Daughters of Albion

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The William Blake Archive is pleased to announce the publication of electronic editions of Visions of the Daughters of Albion, copy A (British Museum) and proof copy a (Library of Congress). Like all the illuminated books in the Archive, both the texts and images of these new publications are fully searchable and are supported by our Inote and ImageSizer applications.

Like copies C and J, previously published in the Archive, copy A was produced in Blake's first printing session for Visions in 1793. Probably to lend variety to his stock of copies on hand, Blake used three ink colors in this first printing: yellow ochre (as in copy A), raw sienna (copy C), and green (copy J). All three copies exemplify his use of semi-transparent washes to color his illuminated books in the early 1790s. Like several other illuminated books in the British Museum collection, the leaves of copy A are mounted close to the image in windows cut in thick paper. The inner edges of these mounts appear in some of our reproductions.

Proof copy a is an unusual, and probably fragmentary, remnant of Blake's typical proofing of his illuminated prints in black ink (which takes on a brownish hue when thinly printed). This group of just 6 proofs was printed in 1793; they are probably the earliest extant impressions of Visions of the Daughters of Albion. All but the frontispiece and title page have been trimmed within the platemarks to the designs only. Blake very probably printed the entire plates, to check the progress of his work, and a later owner was responsible for trimming off the texts. Yet, even if reduced after they left Blake's hands, these impressions offer a glimpse into his etching and printing methods.

Morris Eaves, Robert N. Essick, and Joseph Viscomi, editors
Andrea Laue, technical editor
The William Blake Archive

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Byron Festival in Hucknall

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The Seventh International Byron festival at Hucknall, Nottingham (where Byron is buried), will run from Friday, July 2 to Sunday July 11, 2004.


From Hucknall Today we get the following summary:

Festival coordinator John Wilkinson said it was the most ambitious so far with 35 attractions ranging from dancing to dinners, film to flowers and talks to tours, as well as a six-hour open-air rock concert will be held on Hucknall Market Place. Writer Bill Studdiford and actor Ian Frost, will present the world premiere of a play entitled "Extraordinary Friends Byron and Shelley," putting on two performances. At the annual Byron dinner, the guest speaker will be Edward Enfield, father of comedian Harry Enfield, with a talk on "Byron And The Elgin Marbles." Scholar and former Labour Party leader, Michael Foot, is scheduled to attend a final-day event.

For the detailed schedule of events see this site.

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Wordsworth's birthplace reopens

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The house in the Lake District where William Wordsworth grew up reopened to the public last week after an eight-month £1m renovation. "We want visitors to be inspired to go away and find out more about Wordsworth and his poetry," said Kate Hilton, curator of Wordsworth House, Cockermouth, where the poet was born in 1770. "And perhaps to find out more about life in 18th-century Cumbria."

The people of Cockermouth bought the grand Georgian house, the finest in the town, when it was about to be demolished to make way for a bus station, and gave it to the National Trust in 1938.

See the story in The Guardian, and see the Wordsworth House site here.

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Keats @ London

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For June, Keats House Museum, Hampstead, is mounting a program of events about the poet's situation in and around London--and not only at the house in Hampstead.

(No, this is not a scene from a Japanese SF movie.)

Here is the schedule of events for the next few weeks:

Wednesday 9 June  at 7.00 pm
Visit the City of London where John Keats was born and grew up. Jean Haynes, a Blue Badge Guide, will lead a walk from the banks of the River Thames to Moorgate. We will visit the site of John Keats birth, the family church and the place where his father died. Meet outside Blackfriars Tube Station at 7.00pm.
Places are limited so please book at Keats House. Tickets priced £5.50 adults,  £4.50 concessions.
Wednesday 16 June  at 7.00pm
An opportunity to visit The Old Operating Theatre and Herb Garret. The Museum is found at the top of a rickety spiral staircase in the barn-like roof space of an old Church. The Operating Theatre is built in the old Herb Garret of St Thomas's Hospital. While the Garret has a charming old world atmosphere of oak beams and bundles of herbs, the Theatre itself is a shocking reminder of the harsh reality of life before modern science and technology. John Keats studied to be a Surgeon Apothecary at Guy’s Hospital in 1815 and would have worked in an operating theatre like this one. Meet outside the Old Operating Theatre, 9a St. Thomas's St. London SE1 9RY (Click here for a map of St Thomas's.) Places are limited so please book at Keats House. Tickets priced £8.50.
Thursday 24 June at 7.00pm.
The Keats House Collection of books and manuscripts is held at London Metropolitan Archives in Clerkenwell. This will be a chance to view some of the items, including manuscripts by John Keats, and to hear from the Archivists who care for them.

London Metropolitan Archives
40 Northampton Road, London. EC1R 0HB

Places are limited so please book at Keats House. Tickets priced £7.50.

For more information and other events, visit the Keats House Museum Website.

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