Archive for the ‘News’ Category

New Scholarship on Beddoes in 2021

Thursday, December 9th, 2021

Two books published in 2021, The Rail, the Body and the Pen: Essays on Travel, Medicine and Technology in 19th Century British Literature, edited by Brian Cowlishaw, and The Poetics of Palliation: Romantic Literary Therapy, 1790-1850, by Brittany Pladek, include new scholarship on Thomas Lovell Beddoes.  In “‘Stiff Limbed’ and ‘Doubly Souled’: The Queer Anatomy of Thomas Lovell Beddoes’s Death’s Jest-Book,” part of the Cowlishaw book, Shelley Rees argues that two of the male characters, Melveric and Wolfram, in Beddoes’s play are sexually attracted to each other.  She writes that the competition between Melveric and Wolfram for Sibylla “forms a ‘conduit’… that allows them to mediate their attraction for each other in a heterosexual, and thus socially viable context” and “Melveric fulfills his desire for Wolfram by killing him.”  In “Thomas Lovell Beddoes’s ‘Fictitious Condition,’’’ one of the chapters in The Poetics of Palliation, Pladek investigates Death’s Jest-Book in terms of the narrative control of death.  She writes, “The play’s tragicomic main plot skewers the efforts of its leads to die in the heroic or romantic ways they feel will affirm their identities,” with Mandrake’s subplot forming a significant alternative.  “Where Athulf and the play’s other would-be heroes illustrate fears of losing control, Mandrake models an acceptance of relative agency that became increasingly common in the nineteenth century as medicine consolidated its control over palliative care.”  The Rail, the Body and the Pen is available from McFarland and Co. and The Poetics of Palliation is available from Liverpool University Press.




New Scholarship on Beddoes’ Poetry

Wednesday, January 6th, 2016

Rodney Stenning Edgecombe’s A Reader’s Guide to the Narrative and Lyric Poetry of Thomas Lovell Beddoes has been published by Cambridge Scholars Publishing. In this book Dr. Edgecombe, who is a lecturer in English Literature at the University of Cape Town, argues that Beddoes had a greater gift for poetry than for drama. Edgecombe provides detailed commentaries on Beddoes’ individual poems, and the arrangement of the commentaries follows that of the texts in H.W. Donner’s 1935 The Works of Thomas Lovell Beddoes, making this an excellent companion volume to Donner’s edition.

Scaroni Added to Website

Wednesday, June 24th, 2015

Beddoes’ youthful work of fiction, Scaroni, or The Mysterious Cave, has been added to the Text section of the website. H.W. Donner writes, “As the sub-title, The Mysterious Cave, betrays, it is an offspring of the terror school” and employs “all the apparatus of an early nineteenth-century thriller: the complicated misfortunes, mysterious assemblies, murders and ghosts, inhuman wickedness punished, children and parents found and happiness restored…the midnight scenes, the chambers ‘strewed plentifully with bones,’ the ghosts and walking skeletons are common to all the novels of terror, but the taste for them was to remain with Beddoes” (Thomas Lovell Beddoes: The Making of a Poet).

Beddoes, Beddoes and Madness

Sunday, September 28th, 2014

David M. Baulch, professor of English at the University of West Florida, has published the article “Romantic Madness and the Playwright/Psychoanalyst: Dr. Thomas Beddoes’s Hygëia (1802) and Thomas Lovell Beddoes’s The Brides’ Tragedy (1822)” in European Romantic Review (v.25, n.2., 2014, pp.139-159). From the abstract: “This essay examines both medical considerations of madness and the stakes in its dramatic representation in Dr. Thomas Beddoes’s medical self-help book Hygëia and Thomas Lovell Beddoes’s play The Brides’ Tragedy. Separated by twenty years, these texts show a father and son challenging Enlightenment nosology and exploring the limits of associational psychology. Both find in the playwright and his productions the model for a nascent Romantic psychoanalysis. While Hygëia identifies madness as a national crisis because of the influence its representations have upon the British populace, it sees Shakespeare as the model diagnostician of madness. The Brides’ Tragedy moves beyond the associational model that dominates Hygëia, to expose madness as part of a fundamental condition akin to Sigmund Freud’s death drive. Read together, Hygëia and The Brides’ Tragedy suggest the transformation of madness from an epistemological discourse to a science of the psyche capable of addressing ontological questions.”

Lucas Anthology Back in Print

Wednesday, January 15th, 2014

Cambridge University Press has reissued Thomas Lovell Beddoes: An Anthology, edited by F.L. Lucas. The anthology was originally published in 1932, and includes selections from Beddoes’ letters, poetry and dramas.