Saturday, October 28, 2023

Romantic Futures

Today I went to the Stuart Curran Symposium on "Romantic Futures" and got to meet up with various people and hear about the novel behind an important play of the early nineteenth century.

I've previously written about W.H. Murray's melodrama Obi; or, Three-Fingered Jack, which is based on the story of the Jamaican folk-hero Jack Mansong. The piece was later published in the Dicks' Standard Plays series, and I've also seen illustrations of the play for the toy theatre.

Kristina Huang gave a paper at the symposium about the play's source text: Obi; or the History of Three-Fingered Jack. The 1800 novel by William Earle is written as a series of letters from a resident in Jamaica to a friend living in England. The novel was adapted as a pantomime by John Fawcett prior to Murray's adaptation, and Murray's printed text attributes its plot and principle incidents to the pantomime.

Later at the symposium, we heard from the editors of The Routledge Handbook to Global Literature and Culture in the Romantic Era. Those editors include Arif Camoglu, whom I had only met virtually, when we were both on a Zoom panel on Lord Byron last year.  The other editors are Bakary Diaby, Omar F. Miranda, Gaura Narayan, and Kate Singer

Next up on my academic calendar is the Modern Language Association's convention in Philadelphia this January. I'll be delivering a paper on Byron and modern drama, as well as chairing a panel on Charles Dickens and D.H. Lawrence.