Supported by the Arts and Humanities Research Council

Author: Mel Evans (Page 5 of 9)

The Huntington Conference: talks available to view

Following the successful online conference ‘This Reading of Books Is a Pernicious Thing’ at The Huntington in April 2021, the library has now made many of the talks available to view.

You can access these via a YouTube playlist.

The two-day conference was thought-provoking and wide-ranging in its topics and approaches.

There are now plans afoot for a potential special issue of the Huntington Library Quarterly on Restoration women’s writing and its readers. More updates when we have them!

Elaine Hobby is also leading a course on Aphra Behn – information can be found at the Huntington website.

Some of the Behn team’s best times have been spent at The Huntington Library in southern California, which has a truly wonderful collection of Behn first editions. The library itself is surrounded by botanical gardens, and we have spent many happy hours exploring those in between close work in the reading rooms. Claire Bowditch and Elaine Hobby were at The Huntington for three months collating in 2015-16, and returned again in 2018 when Claire was awarded an International Placement by AHRC. Elaine is now there – or sort of there – again on a Behn mission, teaching a six-week Adult Education class at The Huntington entitled ‘Aphra Behn: Playwright, Poet, Novelist, Spy’. By all reports the classroom discussions are lively, passionate and full of laughter in a group where half of the participants say they had never heard of Behn before signing up for the course. The problem? In these pandemic times, Elaine is teaching from her desk at home in Loughborough. No botanical gardens, and no Californian sunshine. But the input from Huntington colleagues – both those who organise Huntington events and specialist curators – is full of The Huntington’s characteristic collegiality, and we are hopeful that yet more good for Behn will follow long after the students have stopped wondering why Angellica Bianca goes to bed with Willmore.

Restoration Women – Virtual Conference @ the Huntington Library

Photograph by Claire Bowditch (personal collection)

Members of the Behn project have organised and will be taking part in a virtual conference on Restoration women at the Huntington Library, which is scheduled for the 15th and 16th April 2021.

The two-day event, “This Reading of Books Is a Pernicious Thing”: Restoration Women Writers and Their Readers, will bring together scholars working on the lives and writings of Restoration women – including Aphra Behn, Margaret Cavendish, Lucy Hutchinson, Anne Finsh and Mary Pix – and explore questions relating to editing, digital approaches, race and readership, among others. The event is funded by The USC-Huntington Early Modern Studies Institute. The full conference schedule is below.

Elaine has also written a short blogpost reflecting on her research at the Huntington, and its history in promoting women’s writing, for the library.

Photograph by Claire Bowditch (personal collection)

If you are interested in attending the conference – via Zoom – then you can reserve a place for free here:

Reserve a Place

There may not be the opportunity to visit the beautiful gardens of the Huntington, but the conference should prove to be a stimulating and engaging event, wherever in the world you happen to be!

Conference Schedule


All times are PDT.

9 a.m. – Welcome: Steve Hindle, The Huntington
Introduction: Elaine Hobby, Loughborough University (Convener)

9:15 a.m. – Session 1: Publication and its Perils

David Norbrook, Emeritus Fellow, Merton College, Oxford
“Lucy Hutchinson and the Perils of Publication”

Claire Bowditch, University of Queensland
“‘a Purse that seldom fails’?: Aphra Behn’s Finances and Readers’ Legacies”

Jennifer Keith, University of North Carolina at Greensboro
“Anne Finch’s Early Readers in Manuscript and Print”

10:45 a.m. – Break

11 a.m. – Session 2: Machines, Networks, and Book Catalogues

Marie-Louise Coolahan, National University of Ireland Galway
“Late Seventeenth-Century Book Owners and Women’s Writing”

Julia Flanders, Northeastern University
“Reading Models, Modelling Reading: Digital Texts and Human Readers”

12:15 p.m. – Closing Discussion: Elaine Hobby


9:15 a.m. – Session 3: Plays on Stage

Elizabeth H. Hageman, Professor Emerita, University of New Hampshire
“Katherine Philips’s Plays on Stage, in Manuscript, and in Print”

Elaine Hobby, Loughborough University
“Staging Reading in Aphra Behn”

Joyce MacDonald, University of Kentucky
“‘Dazeling white’: Erasing Blackness in Mary Pix’s Ibrahim, the Thirteenth Emperor of the Turks

10:45 a.m. – Break

11 a.m. – Session 4: Reading Margaret Cavendish, Duchess of Newcastle: Past, Present and Future

Lisa Sarasohn, Professor Emerita, Oregon State University
“‘But to cut off tedious and unnecessary disputes, I return to the expressing of my own opinion…’ (Philosophical Letters, 1664, 81.) Margaret Cavendish’s Gripers and Groupies”

Shawn W. Moore, Florida Southwestern State College
“Reading Margaret Cavendish in the Twenty-First Century”

12:15 p.m. – Break

12:30 p.m. – Closing Discussion: All participants, chaired by Elaine Hobby

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