London-Paris Romanticism Seminar: Romantic Salons and Salonnières, Online International Panel, 21 May 2021

The next seminar in the London-Paris Romanticism Seminar series is an online international panel on Romantic Salons and Salonnières which will take place via Zoom on Friday 21 May 2021 at 17.30-19.30 London time (GMT+1). As our guest speakers, we are delighted to welcome two distinguished Romantic scholars: Susanne Schmid, of the Freie Universität Berlin, who will speak on Travellers, Publishers and Lions: International Contacts and the Countess of Blessington’s Salons; and Carmen Casaliggi, of Cardiff Metropolitan University, whose paper is entitled Germaine de Staël and Ugo Foscolo at Holland House. Abstracts appear below. The two illustrated talks will be followed by a discussion in which questions from the audience are invited. The panel will be chaired by David Duff (Queen Mary University of London).

The seminar is free and open to everyone. Prior registration is necessary. To book a place via the Institute of English Studies website, click here and scroll down to the relevant seminar. When you register, you will be sent a confirmation email containing a Zoom link and details of how to join the online forum. If you do not receive this confirmation email, please contact Whether you wish to contribute or simply to listen in, we invite you to join us for this special international event, the last seminar in the current series.

Susanne Schmid has taught at a range of universities in Germany, Britain, and the US, among them Princeton, Salford, Freie Universität Berlin, Frankfurt, Mainz, and Greifswald. She is currently based in Berlin. Book publications include her award-winning Shelley’s German Afterlives: 1814-2000 (2007) and British Literary Salons of the Late Eighteenth and Early Nineteenth Centuries (2013). She has coedited several collections: The Reception of P. B. Shelley in Europe (2008), Drink in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries (2014) and Anglo-American Travelers and the Hotel Experience (2018). Her most recent book is an edition of Marguerite Blessington’s 1847 novel Marmaduke Herbert for the Chawton House series (2019). She is interested in travelling women, the history of books and reading, institutions of sociability (hotels, department stores, inns, coffeehouses), transatlantic cultural contacts and in coffee and tea as well as other beverages.

Carmen Casaliggi is a Reader in English at Cardiff Metropolitan University. Her research interests include Romantic literature and art, the relationship between British and European Romanticism, Romantic literary circles, and the work of John Ruskin. She has published a wide range of journal articles and book chapters and her books include: Ruskin in Perspective: Contemporary Essays (ed. with Paul March-Russell, 2007); Legacies of Romanticism: Literature, Culture, Aesthetics (ed. with Paul March-Russell, 2012); Romanticism: A Literary and Cultural History (with Porscha Fermanis, 2016); and Using Interactive Digital Narrative in Science and Health Education (2021). She is currently working on a monograph entitled Romantic Networks in Europe: Transnational Encounters, 1786-1850. She was recently awarded Fellowships at Maynooth University and Yale University (Lewis Walpole Library) to conduct research on this new project. She is guest editor for a special issue entitled ‘Housing Romanticism’ for the European Romantic Review due to be published in 2022.


Travellers, Publishers and Lions: International Contacts and the Countess of Blessington’s Salons

Marguerite Blessington, a well-known hostess, traveller, author of novels as well as editor of keepsakes such as Heath’s Book of Beauty, presided over several salons over a timespan of three decades, from 1818 until 1849, both in London and while staying in Italy. She was particularly renowned as the hostess of Seamore Place and Gore House in the 1830s and 1840s. Her literary activities are inseparable from the sociable circles she hosted, where writers, editors, publishers and reviewers met. This talk will look at the international side of her circle: friends she had made in Italy, publishers interested in reprinting and selling her books outside Britain as well as celebrity guests from abroad. (Susanne Schmid)

Germaine de Staël and Ugo Foscolo at Holland House

This paper focuses on Germaine de Staël’s and Ugo Foscolo’s London experience to show how an exposure to cultural difference within the European Romantic community of Holland House shapes both writers’ literary identity. Through an analysis of Staël’s Considerations on the Principal Events of the French Revolution (1817) and Correspondance générale (1814-17) and Foscolo’s Epistolario (1816-18), the paper problematises Holland House’s interest in French politics and debates on the slave trade while also considering the social and intellectual function of the salonnière as the orchestrator of (un)harmonious conversations. The aim is to redress the image of Holland House as a place primarily devoted to fostering collaboration and friendship, arguing instead that the prolific discussions which took place there often involved dissent and disagreement, a quality which is partly responsible for the intellectual dynamism of Romantic salon culture. The engagement with transnational social and political concerns at Holland House provides a framework for nationalism in the writings of both Staël and Foscolo. (Carmen Casaliggi)

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