Dear friends and readers,
During the all too short time (about a day's length) I was able to be at the Sharp conference this year, held at the University of Pennsylvania, in Philadelphia, I enjoyed myself and heard some engaging informative papers -- and gave one myself. Although I was able to attend the conference only briefly (as my husband was still recovering from ), I would still like to remember and share the gist of what I heard and experienced (as I did ) and what I wish I could have been there for.
I arrived on Saturday, July 20th, around 2:00 pm, in time to attend two panels and in the evening go to a scrumptious banquet (at which there were Philadelphia mummers) and walk around the campus.
No surprise when I decided on "studies in the long 18th century" (e-7, 3-4:30 pm) and "the circulation of 19th and early 20th century genres of medical knowledge" (f-1, 5-6:00 pm). I'm originally an 18th century literary scholar, and for more than 20 years I regularly taught Advanced Composition in Natural Science and Technologies where I devoted a third of the course's reading to texts on medical science as it's really practiced in the US today.
Studies in the long 18th century covered shaping French and Polish georgraphical contexts. Elizabeth della Zazzera suggested how the different locations in which literary periodical production occurred Restoration Paris can teach us what were the social worlds and different political agendas of these locations -- and how the periodicals in question reflected this. There were many geographic centers in Restoration Paris, some had students, others the rich, clubs here, and booksellers in commercial areas. Ms Zazzera studied and explicated imaginative geographies too. Lorraine Piroux argued Diderot's Natural Son should be reprinted as it was in the first edition with its preface, 3 conversations, and 2 dramatic narratives as part of a contextualized text. Diderot was trying to establish a new kind of bourgeois authentic drama. A play should be played as if it were life, not art. He was writing experimentally and offering a novelistic contextualization for his play. These texts are today printed separately, divided into different genres.
Teresa Swieckowska described the difficult position of Polish authors in the 18th and 19th century -- and compared the situations in Germany and England. Poland had been cut up into different terrorities dominated by other national courts and companies; and copyright (a system of privilege with a contradictory evolution) was not an effective except as it aroused interest in a work's author(s). Most Polish writers of this era were aristocrats, for there was no money to be made. Literary books were not profitable and not respected. Commodification in Poland starts in the later 19th century.
also a library
The papers on how medical knowledge reached physicians and patients too showed how entangled were social, gender, and racial politics in deciding who could get information, what was available, and how presented. Brenton Stewart's paper was on 19th century southern medical an surgical journals. He described and discussed specific medical colleges and hospitals (some meant just for "negroes")the earlier policy of associations like the AMA was to withhold information from patients (in order to control and make profits from them). She described the livesof Jessie Leonard who censored movies; hygiene was their goddess; of later titles (Journal of Preventive Medicine, 1910), of political complications, like a Race Betterment League (contraception seems to lead back to eugenics, and women (Martha Sterns Fitts Jones; Lady Cook; Virginia Woodhull) whose class and political positions (especially on the question of prohibition) made it difficult for them to work together. Both scholars studied ads and diaries.
Sunday I went to the session I was giving a paper at, Imaginary Geographies (g-3, 8:30-10:00 am), and Ian Gregory's plenary lecture on using GIS to map and analyze geographical information within texts (10:30-noon).
Winnie-the-Pooh world mapped
Elizabeth Frengel gave a charming paper on the ideas about, illustrations and lives of and . She began with the history of end-papers (where from the later 19th century maps are often found), told of Crane's writing on the importance of harmonizing text and illustration, and how described Shephard's maps and illustrations realized the imaginary worlds of Milne's Winnie-the-Pooh and Graham's Wind in the Willows.
I gave my own paper, where I argued Trollope's visualized maps are central means by which he organizes and expresses the social, political and psychological relationships of his characters and themes, that they names places important to him personally;a8 about why imaginary geography matters to book history; b-6, "books down under", Australian convict memoirs, radical publishing and schoolgirl books (it included a paper probably on Ethel Handel Richardson); c-5 a paper on Chaucer's portrait; d-4, the survival of WW2 concentration camp publications and letter culture; d-5, erotics of family books like Jane Eyre's German daughters in the US ("emigrating books"). But fancy had had to be reined in.
Wind in the Willows illustration by Shepard