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A Blackwood’s Bicentenary in Edinburgh
July 24 @ 8:00 am - July 25 @ 5:00 pmUniversity of Edinburgh
July 24-25, 2017
University of Edinburgh
“A Blackwood’s Bicentenary: being, 36 Hours of Heady Discourse, Heated Debate, and Ambrosian Nights in Edinburgh”
After a rocky and decidedly dull first six months as the Edinburgh Monthly Magazine, William Blackwood’s monthly underwent a complete rebranding for its October 1817 issue. Unofficially edited by two Scottish wags (John Wilson and John Gibson Lockhart) and brandishing a new title (Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine), the inaugural issue of the relaunched magazine featured so remarkable a cluster of brash, ferocious, and often-brilliant entries (“The Chaldee Manuscript,” Lockhart’s first Cockney School essay, and Wilson’s evisceration of Coleridge) that Blackwood’s immediately took a place at the heart of Regency-era literary discourse.
On the 200th anniversary of what remains one of the greatest launches in British periodical history, we will return to the scene of the crime, assembling long-established Blackwoodians and scholars just discovering the magazine for two days of debate about Maga’s highs and lows and its enduring legacies in literary history. Although, as a bicentenary event, the conference will focus primarily on the Romantic-era Blackwood’s, we anticipate including at least a few panels on the magazine’s enduring prominence in the Victorian period and beyond. With this particular event, however, ensuring gender diversity among the presenters will be a more important organizational imperative than encouraging chronological diversity. For, despite having introduced readers to the likes of Felicia Hemans, Caroline Bowles, Susan Ferrier, George Eliot, and Margaret Oliphant, Blackwood’s has always been something of a boys’ club, a pattern we aim to counter by prioritizing women scholars’ place on the conference program.
ORGANIZERS: Nick Mason, Tom Mole
COMMITTEE: Tony Jarrells, Jon Klancher, David Latané