London-Paris Romanticism Seminar: Robert Morrison, Online Seminar, Friday 22 October 2021

The first meeting of the 2021-22 series of the London-Paris Romanticism Seminar will take place via Zoom on Friday 22 October 2021 at 17.30-19.30 London time (GMT+1). To launch our programme, we are delighted to welcome the distinguished international scholar and author Professor Robert Morrison of Bath Spa University and Queen’s University, Ontario, who will deliver a paper entitled Sex and the Regency: Love, Rakery, and Respectability. This will be followed by a discussion in which questions from the audience are invited. The seminar will be chaired by Gregory Dart (University College London).

The seminar is free and open to everyone. Prior registration is nercessary. To book a place via the Institute of English Studies website, click here. When you register, you will be provided with a Zoom link and details of how to join the online forum. Whether you wish to contribute or simply to listen in, you are warmly invited to join us.

Robert Morrison is British Academy Global Professor at Bath Spa University and Queen’s National Scholar at Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario. He is the author of The Regency Revolution, which was shortlisted for the Historical Writers’ Association Crown Award for the best in non-fiction historical writing, and The English Opium Eater: A Biography of Thomas De Quincey, which was shortlisted for the James Tait Black Prize. He edited De Quincey’s Selected Writings for Oxford University Press, and Jane Austen’s Persuasion for Harvard University Press.

Regarding the subject of his talk, Robert writes:

‘Sexual oppression and censorship were commonplace across the Regency, but these forces did not to prevent—and indeed in some instances seem to have caused—a simultaneous outburst in passionate expressions of erotic longing and individual desire, as seen especially in the love stories of Jane Austen, the love poems of Percy Shelley, and the love letters of John Keats. Libertinism enjoyed its last great flourishing among the female and male rakes of the Regency, and the same unquenchable appetite for sexual pleasure also produced a booming trade in pornography and prostitution. The Regency witnessed both the highest peak of government-sanctioned, mob-based homophobic violence and the first sustained exploration of alternative sexual identities. There was, too, a deep engagement with a series of other sexual topics and practices, as well as with sexual deviancies such as incest and necrophilia, both of which are given disturbing expression in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.’

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