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School of English news - July-August 2016

The Marchmont Manuscript

Margaret Connolly was interviewed on Radio Scotland about the university's recent acquisition of the Marchmont manuscript. This sixteenth-century manuscript contains a copy of Regiam Majestatem, a collection of Scottish statutes and legal texts, written in Lowland Scots. A special point of interest is that the manuscript belonged to the poet Alexander Hume (1557‒1609), who was a graduate of St Mary's College. Hume went on to become a minister; his best known poem, a Christian pastoral, is 'Of the Day Estivall'.

More details about the manuscript may be found in the press release:,608078,en.php.

The interview with Mhairi Stuart can be heard at: (at 51:19).

Marchmont manuscriptMarchmont manuscript 2

Pope's Essay on Man

Essay on man

Tom Jones's edition of Alexander Pope's Essay on Man is published by Princeton University Press this month.

A substantial introduction describes the argumentative style of the poem, and traces its intellectual context and reception history. Footnotes relate the published texts to its surviving manuscripts and elucidate allusions to people, events, ideas and other texts.

An interview with Tom is featured on the Princeton University Press blog:

The Sound of Edward Lear

Sara Lodge has been awarded £2000 from The Russell Trust for a project entitled 'The Sound of Edward Lear'. Edward Lear (1812-88), most famous as an artist and author of nonsense poems such as 'The Owl and the Pussycat', was also a keen musician, who sang and played the piano, the small guitar, the flute, and the accordion. He composed and published settings of 12 of Tennyson's poems and many of his own poems were originally set to music. The project, in collaboration with David Owen Norris of the University of Southampton and postgraduate students at the Royal Northern College of Music, will involve recording songs that Lear knew and cited, sang, collected and, in some instances, parodied, as well as songs of his own composition. It will try to recreate his 'sound-world' so that readers of Lodge's forthcoming book, Inventing Edward Lear: Nonconformity and the Art of Nonsense (Harvard UP) can listen to his varied output and consider the musical influences on his writing.

Lectures and Conferences

Neil Rhodes gave the opening plenary lecture at the biennial Society for Renaissance Studies conference in Glasgow on 18 July. His subject was 'Making Common in Sixteenth-Century England', and he talked about England's relations with Europe and addressing the question: why was the renaissance in England so late?

Postgraduate Students

News featuring Megan Hoffman, Garry MacKenzie, Rose Harris-Birtill, Katherine Bone, and Dr Michael Nott

Congratulations to Megan Hoffman, whose book Gender and Representation in British Golden Age Crime Fiction is now out with Palgrave MacMillan.

Recent PhD graduate Garry MacKenzie has just has his book Scotland: A Literary Guide for Travellers published by I.B. Tauris. Taking the reader on a journey to every corner of Scotland, this is an accessible and entertaining introduction to Scottish literature and to the work of the many writers who have lived in, travelled to, or been inspired by the country and its people. The book is available now, and a launch was held at Waterstones St Andrews on Thursday, 21st July, at 6.30 pm.

Following a grant award from The Spalding Trust, Rose Harris-Birtill presented a paper entitled "'Looking down time's telescope at myself': reincarnation and global futures in David Mitchell's fictional worlds" at the 16th Triennial Conference of the International Society for the Study of Time (ISST), held at the University of Edinburgh from 26th June - 2nd July 2016. The conference marked the 50th anniversary of the founding of the ISST, and also featured an appearance by British author David Mitchell.

Katherine Bone presented a paper entitled 'Beyond the Image: New Measures of the Visual in Poetry' at the 'Poetic Measures' conference at the University of York 1-3 July.

Dr Michael Nott (PhD 2015) has received a Fulbright American Studies Early Career Award which will take him to the University of California, Berkeley, from September to December 2016. Dr Nott will be pursuing a project on the Anglo-American poet Thom Gunn.