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English PGR Seminar Series: Ruth Abbott – Thursday 30 March 2017

30th March 2017 @ 5:15 pm - 7:15 pm


Dr Ruth Abbott, University of Virginia

5.15pm in the Lock-keeper’s Cottage, Mile End Campus.

You are warmly invited to the English Postgraduate Research Seminar with Dr. Ruth Abbott  (University of Cambridge) on Thursday 30 March at 5.15pm in the Lock Keeper’s Cottage, Mile End campus. All are welcome.

‘George Eliot in the Biblioteca Magliabechiana: Romola, the Florentine Renaissance, and the history of historical scholarship’, Dr. Ruth Abbott, Lucy Cavendish College, University of Cambridge

This talk will present part of my current book project, which concerns George Eliot’s scholarly practices, especially as embodied in her commonplace books. It will focus on research that I undertook in Florence last year, reconstructing research that Eliot herself conducted in a now-dispersed Florentine library, the Biblioteca Magliabechiana. I’ll present the new findings of that research, and speculate about what they mean for how we understand Eliot’s scholarly activity in the early 1860s, a period when she intensively studied the Florentine Renaissance, leading up to the composition of her historical novel Romola in 1862. Eliot’s scholarly activity has usually been thought of as relentlessly pragmatic, aimed squarely at the provision of realistic details for her novels, but any systematic look at it reveals that it was nothing of the kind; for the most part, its relation to her literary composition seems bafflingly oblique. The talk will address precisely this obliqueness, asking how we can think about the ways in which scholarly practices shape a writing life, but non-teleologically, and not as source.

Dr. Ruth Abbott is Lecturer in the Long Nineteenth Century in the English Faculty at the University of Cambridge. Her research chiefly focuses on compositional practices, reading practices, scholarly practices, and writers’ notebooks.

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30th March 2017
5:15 pm - 7:15 pm
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English PGRS


Lock-Keeper’s Cottage
Queen Mary University of London
Mile End Road, E1 4NS
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