Hannah More in Context
Barley Wood House and All Saints Church, Wrington
Thursday 27 to Saturday 29 June 2019
Plenary Speaker: Professor Patricia A. Demers, Distinguished University Professor, University of Alberta, Canada
Call for Papers
Hannah More (1745-1833) has for a long time been the neglected figure of the long eighteenth century. Despite being one of the most influential cultural figures of her era – she enjoyed a fifty-year career as a playwright, poet, Bluestocking, novelist, moralist, educationalist and philanthropist and was at the heart of a network of literary, political and religious figures whose activities sought to redefine and reshape the social and moral values of the age – More has often been dismissed as a conservative crank, a paternalistic chauvinist whose values are far removed from our own. This attitude remains despite an increasingly rich vein of scholarship on More and the multiple fields in which she was active: major studies have been published on More’s political writing (Mellor, 2000); her drama (Donkin, 1995); abolition (Richardson, 2002); her counterrevolutionary activities (Smith, 1985 and Keane, 2001); philanthropy (Scheuermann, 2002); patronage (Andrews, 2013); and novel-writing (Cleere, 2007). More has been the subject of major scholarly biographies, including Demers (1996) and Stott (2003), the latter of which argued that it is now essential that we reassess More’s importance, and to undo the ‘vandalism’ inflicted upon More’s reputation by the ‘good intentions and bad scholarship’ (Stott, 2003: viii) of William Roberts whose inadequate 1834 four-volume edition of More’s letters remains the one researchers use.
Nor is it just interest in More herself that has blossomed, but interest in the wider circles in which she moved during her long and active life. The lives and works of the Bluestockings in particular have come in for renewed scrutiny, with a six-volume edition of writings by the Bluestocking circle, Bluestocking Feminism, published by Pickering and Chatto in 1999, whilst two special editions of the Huntington Library Quarterly dedicated to studies on the Bluestockings appeared in 2002. Subsequent articles and monographs (such as Eger, 2010) have built upon this work further, and in 2011 a major project was launched to produce an electronic edition of the letters of More’s close friend Elizabeth Montagu. Whether it is the morality of the nation, the education of royalty, the necessity of abolishing slavery, the care of the poor or celebrity gossip, More was typically deeply involved.
Hannah More in Context will bring together scholars from across a disciplines in which More was active to reconsider this remarkable woman’s life, career, and reception, and to consider where next for studies that engage with the rich world of which More was so integral a part.
Hannah More in Context will be held at two locations in the pretty Mendips village of Wrington where More lived for nearly thirty years. Both places were central to her life: Barley Wood, the home More had built for herself and her sisters in 1801; and All Saints Church in Wrington where More worshipped for decades. Delegates will have the opportunity to enjoy tours of Barley Wood, both the house and grounds – which More helped design and plant – thanks to the support of the house’s owners, YMCA Somerset. Delegates will also be able to explore Wrington church and its graveyard, where More and all four of her sisters are buried. There will be a conference dinner on one night, with informal dining on the other night arranged for those who wish to participate. The conference will, where possible, showcase local produce including regionally-produced wine at the wine reception.
Contributions from university-based, independent, and/or local scholars are equally welcome. Those wishing to give papers are encouraged to consider a diverse audience.
We welcome papers on any aspect of Hannah More’s literary, philanthropic, educational or other activities, and/ or her relationship with wider cultural, political and historical contexts of the eighteenth and/or nineteenth centuries.
Papers may explore topics including, but not limited to:
• Hannah More and eighteenth-century theatre
• Hannah More and Evangelical Christianity
• Provincial schools
• The Church of England in the late-eighteenth and early-nineteenth centuries
• Hannah More and the Bluestockings
• The Cheap Repository Tracts
• Friendships: Samuel Johnson; Eva Garrick; Lady Waldegrave; Lady Olivia Sparrow; Henry Thornton; William Wilberforce; Zachary Macaulay
• The Sunday School movement
• Hannah More and the Mendips
• Patronage: by David Garrick; of Ann Yearsley; Louisa, ‘the Maid of the Haystack’
• Posthumous reputation and/ or literary reception: the role of biography; More’s biographers and/ or editors; editions of More’s works; feminism and More’s literary reputation; Marxism and More’s posthumous reputation
• Hannah More and the Digital Humanities; Women’s Writing and the Digital Humanities
• Epistolary networks
• Thomas Cadell; Cadell and Davies; More’s relationships with her publishers
• Constructions of authorship in the long eighteenth century
• Hannah More and local history
• Hannah More and Heritage Studies
• Women in the eighteenth-century theatre
• Hannah More and genre
• Philanthropy in the long eighteenth century
• Reading Hannah More in the future
• Pedagogy and Hannah More – university, school, other contexts
• Any aspect of More’s literary works
• Hannah More and the periodical press
• Philanthropy in the long eighteenth century
• Social reform and religious dissenting
Please send your 250-word abstract to the organisers, Dr Kerri Andrews (Edge Hill University) and Dr Sue Edney (University of Bristol) at email@example.com by 30 November 2018.
By air: Wrington is located very close to Bristol airport and is just a five-minute taxi ride from the terminal (approx.. £10 with Arrow cars near airport entrance; Uber also possible). By train: Bristol Temple Meads is the nearest major hub station, linking the southwest with London and the north. It is possible to get to Wrington from the station using bus A1 to Bristol airport
By car: Wrington is located about thirty minutes’ drive from the M5 motorway linking the Midlands with the southwest. Alternatively Wrington can be accessed from the A38 which runs south from Bristol. If bringing a car please be aware that Wrington is a quiet and picturesque village and vehicles should be parked considerately.
As a result of the village’s proximity to Bristol airport there is a range of accommodation available to suit all budgets. Over the course of the next few months we will be looking to secure deals with local hotel chains.
Local Pubs and Dining Options
The Plough Inn
In the village centre. Good cider and food, ££. Booking recommended.
The Golden Lion
Drinks and live sports. Central Wrington.
The White Hart
Located to the west of Wrington. Serves local beers and ciders. ££.