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We are delighted to announce this year’s six Visiting Fellows, who will join us over two 4-week cohorts in August and November.

 

This year, we have awarded two British Association of Romantic Studies Fellowships, with the generous support of BARS, as well as four Chawton House Fellowships, including the Deirdre Le Faye Fellowship for a scholar working on Jane Austen. Fellowships have also been made possible by the continued support of the Ardeola Charitable Trust.

Summer Cohort

Madeleine Mikinski (University of York), Deirdre Le Faye Fellow

During my time at Chawton House, I will consult a variety of conduct guides, which offer insight into prevailing attitudes (and, often, anxieties) surrounding gossip in the late eighteenth century. My doctoral project, Credit and Credibility, explores the numerous ways that gossip and credit intersect in Jane Austen’s work. In Austen’s novels, as in our own lives, gossip and credit are united through the practice of trust, and my work connects these juxtapositions with the eighteenth century’s chaotic, centralising credit economy. Archival work at Chawton House will allow me to illustrate how mediaeval, credit-minded warnings against “sins of the tongue” had evolved into the latter part of the long eighteenth century. Gossiping, Austen’s novels testify, is an inherently social act, and understanding contemporary discourse on gossip is key to understanding Austen’s reproductions of such talk.

Claudia Cornelissen (St John’s College Cambridge)

I will spend my time as a visiting fellow at Chawton House working on two chapters of my PhD thesis, which revolves around feminist revisionist literature. Feminist revisionism is the mode in which female authors rewrite canonical literature from the perspective of the original text’s marginal female characters, in order to reflect on issues of gender in both the primary material and their contemporary society. I plan to write up a chapter focusing on Aphra Behn’s 1677 play The Rover, which I believe to be the first English-language example of feminist revisionism, and to conduct research on a chapter on Charlotte Lennox’s 1752 work The Female Quixote, which revises Cervantes’ work to think about the gendering of genre and the emergence of a female reading public.

Katie MacLean (University of Stirling)

My primary focus at Chawton will be to study the manuscript of Sir Charles Grandison, one of Jane Austen’s extant adaptations. The first chapter of my dissertation argues that the Grandison manuscript shows Austen’s engagement with adaptation as a genre which can oppose societal norms and temporal structures. I will consult the Mary Martha Sherwood Archive to get more information about the Abbey School in Reading, which Austen attended for a short time. I will also look at Louise Lushington’s journal to hopefully get more insight into private theatricals. The Jane Austen Society reports may also provide some information about amateur or professional adaptations of Austen’s novels, which is a valuable contribution to my database of all known British and American stage adaptations of Austen’s work. I am also looking forward to creating an exhibit called “Women and the Theatre at Chawton” during my fellowship, which will highlight women’s roles in theatre making through the manuscripts held at Chawton House.

Winter Cohort

Deborah Alun-Jones (King’s College London), BARS Fellow

My research interest is concerned with the influence of locality and landscape in the life and work of daughters of the parsonage in the long eighteenth century. The archive at Chawton is an invaluable resource to investigate Jane Austen’s fictional presentation of the moral geography of the parish to critique the institutional structure of the Church of England shę inhabited. The contemporary articles and journals in the Yablon archive will also be of particular interest to inform new research into Bertha Mason as Charlotte Brontë’s fictional instrument of evangelical cleansing – a further example of the parson’s daughter entering the moral discourse of the nation through the assertive act of literary place-making.

Roseanna Kettle (University of York), BARS Fellow

Building on issues raised in my doctoral thesis, my current research interests concern the poetry of financially disadvantaged women within the framework of improvement put forward by rational dissenters c. 1750-1850. Though commentary exists on the alternative social organisation of religious minority groups in this period, less attention has been garnered by the role labouring literature played in these movements. Focussing on regional examples, I will survey print editions of poetry, examining how such work is conveyed by the editor (be that through the selection of poems, prefatory materials, editorial notes etc.), presenting the poet as fulfilling a specific social role according to Christian ideals of domestic femininity. So far, my research has revolved primarily around female writers published in the north of England, owing to a large, politically active network of rational dissent present in Britain’s regions during this period; using Chawton House’s available resources, I seek to connect these examples to wider national trends, comprising a body of case studies located not only England but also in Scotland and Ireland.

Virlana Shchuka (UNC Chapel Hill)

In my research at Chawton House, I will investigate how Romantic-period writers (especially women) represented maternal anxiety as related to experiences of childbirth and postnatal complications. Within the library’s collections, I will examine personal correspondence, novels, and medical treatises for labour and associated care narratives, with a particular focus on understudied Minerva Press writers and discussions of early birth fears. I am interested in exploring the potential of the era’s various expressions of maternal anxiety to inform our understanding of the ‘maternal guilt phenomenon,’ which plagues many parents today. By intersecting discourses from Jane Austen’s period and our own, I seek to highlight how labour complication stories across periods creatively narrate journeys of heroic advancement through and beyond fear, toward perseverance and hope.

We would like to congratulate our Fellows, and look forward to working with them later in the year.