Cambridge

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British Association for Romantic Studies 1995 Conference Program

Romantic Circles




British Association for Romantic Studies

Fourth International Conference

"Placing and Displacing Romanticism"

15-18 July 1995

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About this volume

Romantic Frictions

About this volume


September 2011

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Disability and Dissent: Thelwall’s Elocutionary Project

This essay argues for a reassessment of John Thelwall’s career as an elocutionary scientist in light of recent work in the history of medicine and Disability Studies. Traditionally understood as apolitical—at least in comparison to his involvement in radical politics and materialist science—Thelwall’s therapeutic endeavor should instead be recognized as significantly demonstrating his continued dedication to democratic ideals. Thelwall’s elocutionary texts are, in fact, provocatively egalitarian, and as an elocutionary scientist Thelwall actively resisted the normative views of disability that were beginning to consolidate during the era.
September 2011

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“A Son of John Thelwall”: Weymouth Birkbeck Thelwall’s Romantic Inheritance

This essay traces the meandering career of Weymouth Birkbeck Thelwall, the son of John Thelwall and his former pupil and second wife, the young and beautiful Henrietta Cecil Boyle. Born on the eve of reform and near the end of John Thelwall’s life, Weymouth followed in his father’s artistic, adventurous and amorous footsteps; creating his own peripatetic journey which led him eventually to a tragic and isolated death in colonial Nyasaland. His life narrative graphically illustrates how the Romantic idealism espoused by eighteenth- and nineteenth-century radicals; the reforms in education, and the civil and religious liberties which they campaigned for had unlooked for consequences, culminating in the late Victorian grab for Africa figured in Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness. In Weymouth Thelwall we have a true “son of John Thelwall” and a strangely prophetic model of Mr. Kurz: citizen, artist, journalist and romantic idealist—with an eye to the main chance and a defiant propensity to take one too many risks.
September 2011

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John Thelwall and Association

John Thelwall’s elocutionary career has frequently been understood as a renunciation of his revolutionary politics. This essay questions such an assessment. I argue that once we understand the associationist model of mind that guides both Thelwall’s elocutionary work and his political philosophy, we see that throughout his career Thelwall was pursuing a common end: strengthening associations in the minds that inhabited, and created, the public sphere.
September 2011

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