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.