Browning and Close Reading: A Workshop

‘To be compelled to look at a drama through a pair of horn spectacles would be a cheerful pastime compared with the ennui of tracing the course of Sordello through that veil of obscurity which Mr. Browning’s style of composition places between us and his conception’ (The Athenaeum, June 1864).

If you would like to indulge in such a cheerful pastime, please join us for a close reading workshop on Robert Browning’s poetry on Friday 11th December 2015 at the Centre for Nineteenth Century Studies, Birkbeck, University of London. There will be a session on each of the following four poems: Sordello, ‘Two in the Campagna’, ‘By the Fireside’, and ‘Caliban upon Setebos’. The workshop will be chaired by Professor Isobel Armstrong (Birkbeck, University of London) and Dr Clara Dawson (University of Manchester). Professor Matthew Campbell (University of York) will lead a plenary session on Sordello.

We are currently looking for speakers to present a ten-minute reading of either ‘Two in the Campagna’, ‘By the Fireside’, and ‘Caliban upon Setebos’. The speaker will offer a potential reading of the poem and then open up discussion to the rest of the group. We aim to have three speakers in each session, and the main focus of the day will be close reading as a group. If you are interested in leading one of the sessions by presenting a ten-minute reading, then please contact clara.dawson@manchester.ac.uk with a short, 100 word proposal by 30thJuly. We are particularly interested in hearing from early career scholars.

We hope that the workshop will be a starting point to reinvigorate the study of Browning’s poetry and encourage the growth of a network of scholars reading, writing, and thinking about his work.

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