Category Archives: academic

Fun with Ngrams

One of the pleasures of the British Poetry of the First World War conference (and the pleasures were many – I’ll be mentioning several over the next week or so) was Jay Winter’s talk on ‘Glory’. He traced the decline of the word in English by use of  Google Ngrams. This is a neat bit […]

The Fashion in War Poetry

I’m greatly looking forward to the British Poetry of the First World War conference at Oxford this weekend, and have been studying the programme with interest. So many panels, and hard choices to be made… I found myself counting the poets named in the various paper titles, seeing which poets were most academically  popular in […]

‘Culture Wars’ papers now online

Some of the papers from the very enjoyable ‘Culture Wars’ conference at Sheffield Hallam University are available online. They are on the site of the Middlebrow Network, which has done much over the past few years to encourage intelligent thinking about the less academically respectable kinds of writing. My own paper is about detective stories. […]


There are several conferences coming up. Here are two that I might have got to if I still lived near London: Next week at the British Library there is the second half of a conference (the first half was in Antwerp) on Languages and the First World War. The conference blog has some intriguing items, […]

Les Amis du Roman Populaire

In Amiens last week I attended a meeting of L’ Association des Amis du Roman Populaire. This is a group of academics and others interested mostly in French popular fiction of the last century, and the two-day conference was about the popular literature of the Great War. We met in the Logis du Roy in […]

‘Sapper’ in Amiens

Tomorrow I shall be going to Amiens, to deliver a paper on “‘Sapper’ : from realism to melodrama” to a conference organised by Les Amis du Roman Populaire. This is an association devoted to all kinds of popular fiction – but especially to the French fiction of the last century, and this conference is considering […]

Oxford Conference

The programme for the British  Poetry of the First World War conference at Oxford (September 5 to 7) is now online: It looks a very good line-up indeed, and I’ve already noted several speakers that I  very much want to hear.  These include Elizabeth Vandiver, author of the brilliant Stand in the Trench, Achilles, […]

How the First World War is taught

The recent controversy about how schoolchildren are taught about World War I has been strong on assertion but light on factual evidence. The excellent World War I in the Classroom group  will soon be publishing the results of their large-scale survey about the teaching of the subject, and that should tell us much. While we’re […]

WW1 Children’s Literature

I’ve been sent details of a conference at Dublin next June. The subject is : The First World War in European Children’s Literature: 1970-2014. It will look at the way the War has been represented for children in the past forty years, which could be interesting, especially as it is asking for international comparisons. During […]

Conferences and Margins

Coming home after two talk-full days at the Marginalised Mainstream conference, I’m chuffed to find in my inbox an email saying that my paper proposal for the British Poetry of the First World War conference in Oxford next September has been accepted. The paper will be about the ways in which war poets were represented […]


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