Nicola Watson (Open University) on writer's houses
“Household effects in the writer’s house museum: Johnson’s coffee-pot and Twain’s effigy”
Prof. Nicola Watson (Photo: Open University)
Professor Nicola Watson will be giving a talk based on her current project The Author’s Effects: On Writer’s House Museums (forthcoming OUP). She will be exploring how a miscellany of domestic objects have been made to speak of the writer’s life and work within the writer’s house museum. She will be discussing in particular the nature and function of inscription and caption at work in the Dr Johnson Museum in London, the Hans Christian Andersen Museum in Odense, the James Joyce Museum in Sandycove, Dublin, and the Mikail Bulgakov Museum in Kiev, before considering ways in which the author represented in statue or effigy has served to caption the writer’s house in its entirety at Dr Johnson’s Birthplace, Mark Twain’s childhood home, and elsewhere.
Professor Nicola Watson holds a chair in English Literature at the Open University, UK, having previously held posts at Oxford, Harvard, Indiana and Northwestern. She is author of three monographs: Revolution and the Form of the British Novel (1993), England’s Elizabeth: An Afterlife in Fame and Fantasy, with Michael Dobson (2002), and The Literary Tourist: Readers and Places in Romantic and Victorian Britain (2006). She is editor of two essay collections, the most recent being Literary Tourism and Nineteenth-century Culture (2009), and many essays and papers. She served as President of the British Association for Romantic Studies from 2011-2015, and founded and presently heads up a new pan-European group of museums and scholarly associations devoted to Romanticism, ERA (European Romanticisms in Association). She is presently Principal Investigator for the AHRC-funded network Dreaming Romantic Europe and curator of its virtual exhibition, RÊVE (Romantic Europe: The Virtual Exhibition) http://euromanticism.org. She regularly works with literary museums and projects related to them, and is here as the guest of the research project TRAUM - Transforming Author Museums, http://traum.hisf.no, with whom she has been working since the project’s inception.