Being a Part of It: the Benefits of Being on a Committee

Do you like being part of your academic community? Do you feel that talking to people in your field is inspiring? Maybe you should be on a Committee…

Personally I find it really exciting when I get a chance to speak to people who really understand my subject. The best conversations are the ones where I get to talk about the specific issues at play in my wider field of performance and my narrower field of circus – the chance to talk about the specific issues at play is really exciting because of the connections it inspires and the feeling of being understood.

So, last year when the chance to join the Society for Theatre Research’s New Researcher’s Network  came up, it seemed a good opportunity. I had the chance to meet and work with like-minded people with the aim of trying to think about some of the ways we could make being a PGR or ECR in the field of performance easier.

For me it also represented something slightly different: an opportunity to bring my old professional life and my newer academic life into conversation. Previously I had been a marketer who ran events and managed communications, including social media. This set of skills was something that the NRN needed, so it felt like a good way to contribute something useful.

Since I joined the NRN I’ve worked with the other person responsible for social media and publicity to set up our own blog  focused on providing useful reflections on personal experiences of research eg the ‘I-wish-I’d-known-this-when-I-started’ or descriptions of moments that changed people’s perspectives on their research. I’ve also started to organise a symposium that has given me the chance to draw on personal connections for mutual benefit, eg publicising an archive I love and drawing on the expertise of some of my personal connections. There is also something interesting in observing how these types of organisation work.

I think this is probably the key to deciding if you want to be part of a committee like the NRN. You need to be prepared to give something as well as to work out what is in it for you. For me a lot of the experience I have had has been in a range of industries such as corporate events, civil engineering/construction services (sexy!) and the charity sector. Being a part of a field-specific committee has allowed me to use those skills and make them more relevant to the academic context I am now working in, whereas for you it might be gaining them for the first time. It has also widened my network to include some great people who I am now working with who I might not have met because are research doesn’t overlap – circus meets live-streaming/Shakespeare/early modern studies anyone?

You probably can identify something else hovering underneath all of this description. I think we have to be honest that part of what being on a committee involves is a wish to make your CV more desirable. Yes, that is definitely true, but you will only get the most out of it if you are also invested in giving something back. I’d definitely recommend doing it because you’ll meet some great people and have some inspiring conversations along the way.

Author’s Bio

Kate Holmes is based in the Drama department and is in the third year of a PhD on female aerial performers of the 1920s and early 1930s. For more information on Kate’s research please see her eprofile .

This Blog has been posted with the permission of the author.


Rock/Body: A new research network

Rock Body

Photo courtesy of Isabel Pina Ferreira and Lizzy Burt

Dr João Florêncio explores questions raised as part of Rock/Body, an AHRC-funded project for which he is the Principal Investigator.

If asked about the similarities and possible continuities between the geologic world and the human body, most people will probably shrug and leave it at that, probably with a sense of disbelief on the value of the question just thrown at them: what would such disparate realms have in common? Why would one be interested in thinking together rocks—perceived as hard, static, dead, ever-lasting—and human bodies—seen as living, fleshy, organic, perishable, and capable of affects?

However, when paid closer look, geologic and human bodies begin to appear somewhat porous to one another. Think about calcium, for instance. Produced by the stars, it entered the composition of rocky planets like the Earth, where it became constituent part of sedimentary rocks. However, calcium is also very soluble in water and thus makes the jump into the animal food chain where it becomes a crucial element for the mineralisation of teeth and bones as well as some cellular processes. Without calcium—arriving from the stars to the rocks to the water to the food you eat–you wouldn’t be able to stand, let alone dare to walk.

Besides life’s dependence on minerals, geologic and human bodies have also been brought closer together thanks to two other events of a totally different kind (recent ones, if we consider them in relation to the wider history of the Earth). Those events—industrialisation and capitalism—unfolded through the exploitation, on the one hand, of geological resources such as coal and, on the other, human resources in the form of labour time. It was coal that powered James Watt’s steam engine; and it was human labour that extracted the coal to feed the industrial revolution. The burning out of rocks and bodies were essential for the accumulation of capital. And they keep on being so even today when our smartphones, tablets, and “cloud computing” interfaces—so cleanly conceived and designed they appear eons away from the smog and black lung of the industrial revolution—are still dependent on the mining of rare metals mostly taking place in developing countries and which are necessary to support the circuit boards, servers, and communication cables upon which our fetishised gadgets depend. Further, it is also often developing countries that are paid to import the e-waste produced when our smart machines reach their planned obsolescence and dispose of it. What do these stories tell about different kinds of human bodies and their relationships with metal and other geological resources at a time when one could be forgiven for thinking the world has freed itself from matter and become primarily quantified and understood in terms of data and Mbps (Megabytes per second)?


Image courtesy of Isabel Pina Ferreira and Lizzy Burt

As such, if we consider the porosity of the geologic and the human to one another, highlighted by millions of years of circulation and storage of minerals between rocks and living bodies and back again; and if we accept that both rocks and human bodies have a shared history of exploitation under capitalism, in what ways can these overlaps—these blurry areas where rock becomes (human) body becomes rock—open new pathways for collaborative research projects across disciplinary borders that have divided modern academia between sciences, humanities, and arts? What kinds of questions can a focus on these areas of ontological fuzziness bring about if the geologic and the human appear to no longer hold clearly defined boundaries separating the one from the other? And what can it do for the ways in which we make sense of ourselves and our place in the world at a time when the planet is changing so rapidly, environmentally, socially, politically?

In order to start probing these questions, Lancaster University’s Professor Nigel Clark and I have brought together a diverse group of scientists, humanities scholars, and artists under Rock/Body, an AHRC-funded research networking project. Departing from the belief that the scope and implications of the issues at hand cannot be safely contained within the traditional boundaries of a single discipline—or of various disciplines working without permeability to one another—the participants in the network have been meeting since April for a series of three research seminars where each researcher has been contributing their own thoughts on the interfacings of the geologic with the human body.

Organised around three sub-themes—Flesh/Minerality, Extraction/Exhaustion, and Time/Duration—the seminars bring together artists, curators, social scientists, earth scientists, and humanities scholars in order to start enacting much-needed cross-disciplinary dialogues and, from there, sketch future research partnerships.

The project will culminate at Exeter in September with an exhibition of artworks by participating artists and the presentations of a new site-specific performance piece conceived in response to the seminar discussions and the Exeter landscape.

FAT_6918_JoaoFlorencioDr Joao Florencio is a Lecturer in History of Modern and Contemporary Art and Visual Culture. He holds a BA from the Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Portugal, an MA with Distinction from the University of Greenwich, and a PhD from Goldsmiths, University of London.

7 ½ Reasons Why You Should Visit the Cartoon Museum before 24 July 2016

As part of my current AHRC project Reframing the Graphic Novel I have curated an exhibition with the Cartoon Museum in London called The Great British Graphic Novel. It tells the story of the graphic novel in the UK since the eighteenth century, with an emphasis on the last 40 years. There are all kinds of displays: cabinets of books, video interviews, and old comics, but the main attraction is original art. Over 125 pages of original art. The exhibition runs until 24 July, so you have roughly a month left to visit – and here are 7 ½ reasons why you should:

1. … to see a giant tube map of UK graphic novels


(c) Cartoon Museum 2016(c) Cartoon Museum 2016

How could we show the history of graphic novels – and all the different types of graphic novel – and provide visitors with a way of navigating the different parts of the exhibition? We decided to visualise the graphic novels on display as stations on a map of the London Underground, where the lines represent the exhibition’s sections. The whole idea was brought to life as a spectacular image drawn by veteran underground comix artist Hunt Emerson. As you can see, he’s added characters and symbols from the graphic novels themselves. And if you think it looks good on a computer screen, the first thing that greets you when you walk into the main gallery is a giant version of Emerson’s map!

2. … to attend an amazing talk

We’ve had some great events tied in with the exhibition. Since we opened:

  • Bryan and Mary M. Talbot discussed their new graphic biography The Red Virgin and the Vision of Utopia, about the nineteenth-century feminist and revolutionary Louise Michel
  • Three editors from major UK companies shared their experiences and offered advice on getting your graphic novel published
  • We’ve been showcasing writers and artists from the Laydeez Do Comics collective

And there’s more to come:

  • Have you heard of graphic medicine but want to learn more? Come to the event on 13th July!
  • Woodrow Phoenix has been doing page-turnings of his graphic novel She Lives! (see below) and there are more page-turnings coming up
  • You can also catch Monica Walker’s Spotlight Talks focusing on key works in the exhibition!

3. … because some of the art on display is HUGE

Size matters, right? Well, the multimedia art of Dave McKean is enormous and spectacular. One of the graphic novels McKean famously worked on was The Sandman, written by Neil Gaiman. McKean’s covers gave the series a distinct look that set it apart from other comics on the rack and in the exhibition you can see that McKean didn’t just draw the covers, he constructed them as large-scale, three-dimensional art objects that absorbed mementoes and found objects.


Another gigantic exhibit in the show is Woodrow Phoenix’s She Lives! This is a one-off graphic novel. We’re displaying the book that Phoenix made by hand because there is no published version. Not many people would have room in their homes for it! There is only one copy in the world and it’s on show in The Great British Graphic Novel.


And while you can’t turn the pages yourself, you can (a) come to one of the page-turnings and have Woodrow Phoenix take you through the story himself, or (b) the pages can be viewed on the video screen next to the book.

 4. …because you never knew graphic novels went back that far

My research is about the history of graphic novels and the opening section of the exhibition shows how comics have grown in length, been published as books, and been read by adults (all things associated with the graphic novel format) over the last 300 years. To reflect the influence of engraver William Hogarth on later artists, the exhibition starts with some prints from Hogarth’s sequence of images A Harlot’s Progress (1732). Contemporary creators are not only influenced by the history of illustration, they appropriate and rework artistic traditions, and Eddie Campbell’s Bacchus is a great example of this. In the 1980s and 1990s Campbell depicted the present-day exploits of Bacchus, the Greek god of wine and revelry, and in one scene (shown in the exhibition) Bacchus is chased by Mr. Dry (a character based on Prohibition-era political cartoons) through a mini-history of alcohol-related paintings, starting with Hogarth’s Beer Street (1751).

5. …to learn how graphic novels get put together

One of the pleasures of curating the exhibition was illuminating how the country’s leading artists go about producing their graphic novels. Some of the draft work on show includes character designs and page layouts (sketches that outline where panels will go on a page and what goes in each one). Visitors can see the lengths Hunt Emerson went to in his adaptation of Inferno, drawing his own map of the underworld to help him recreate the events in Dante’s original. You can also see how artists like Katie Green work with computers as well as pencils and ink. All of this, we hope, will inspire visitors old and young to pick up different tools and have a go at making comics for themselves!

6. …to see the classics of the future before they’re even published

At the end of the exhibition we’ve spotlighted three works by Kate Charlesworth, Asia Alfasi, and Jade Sarson which are still in progress but are shaping up to be classics of the future. The work of Alfasi and Sarson demonstrates the influence of Japanese comics on British graphic novelists (elsewhere in the exhibition, the art from the Manga Shakespeare series is another example of this). Jade Sarson’s book For the Love of God, Marie! is forthcoming as I write this but it will be published by the time The Great British Graphic Novel closes.

7. …to marvel at page after page of your old favourites

It’s edifying to spend years putting an exhibition like this together and for people to enjoy it. We haven’t been able to show art from every British graphic novel ever published, but what we’ve included has received some very positive reviews. If you’re already a passionate reader of graphic novels and are expecting to see your personal favourites, the chances are you won’t be disappointed. There’s art on show from Posy Simmonds’s Gemma Bovery and Tamara Drewe, The Sandman by Neil Gaiman and various artists, Alan Martin and Jamie Hewlett’s Tank Girl, Bryan Talbot’s Alice in Sunderland, and Grant Morrison and Dave McKean’s Arkham Asylum. Alan Moore is one of the most written-about comics writers of all time and we have pages of art from five of his graphic novels: From Hell (art by Eddie Campbell), Watchmen (Dave Gibbons), V for Vendetta (David Lloyd), A Small Killing (Oscar Zarate) and League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (Kev O’Neill).


(c) DC Comics Inc. 1986

7 ½.…because there’s lots to do when you (eventually) finish looking round the exhibition

The Cartoon Museum is one street down from the British Museum and located perfectly to explore Bloomsbury, or to do some shopping on Oxford Street, or to see a show in the West End. So although you’ll obviously come to look at the comics, you won’t have any difficulty finding other things to do when the Museum closes …

Dr Paul Williams is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of English in the College of Humanities at the University of Exeter. He is currently researching how comics became graphic novels in the long 1970s. This project is funded by an AHRC Early Career Research Fellowship (2014-16) and you can read more about it on his blog.

The University of Exeter host landmark Lusitanist International Conference

Dr Ana Martins and Dr Susana Afonso lecture in Portuguese in the Modern Languages Department at the University of Exeter.

The Association of British and Irish Lusitanists (ABIL) met for the VI International Conference at the University of Exeter, on the 7-8 September. The event attracted attendees from across the UK, Ireland and overseas, including Brazil, North America and Mozambique to discuss cultural developments across the Portuguese-speaking world.

The conference also coincided with a series of celebrations, including the 10th anniversary of the Association of British and Irish Lusitanists (ABIL), and the 50th anniversary of the publication We Killed Mangy-Dog, written by acclaimed author and keynote-speaker Luís Bernardo Honwana.


Dr Susana Afonso and Dr Ana Martins with guest of honor Luís Bernardo Honwana and the president of the Association, King John II Professor of Portuguese Phillip Rothwell

The international event also marked the first official UK visit for the acclaimed Mozambican writer, who penned the influential collection of short stories in 1964, We Killed Mangy-Dog and Other Stories. Mr Honwana’s achievements extend beyond his literary accomplishments, having worked as Director of the Mozambican President’s Office in the newly independent Mozambique in 1975. Mr Honwana later went on to serve on the Executive Board of UNESCO (1987 to 1991), Chairman of Unesco’s Intergovernmental Committee for the World Decade for Culture and Development, and Director of UNESCO’S office in South Africa.

Keynote speakers also included Professor David Treece, Camoens Professor of Portuguese from Kings College London, and Professor Anna Klobucka, Professor of Portuguese and Women’s and Gender Studies at UMass Dartmouth.

Dr Ana Martins, lecturer in Portuguese at the University of Exeter, and local organiser said: “The papers presented at the conference were of a very high standard. The plenary speakers in particular offered insights into topics as varied and timely as the politics and aesthetics of black music in Brazil, the linguistic future of Mozambique, and the politics of gender in Portuguese modernism, setting the tone for the ensuing general panel discussions. There were also three exciting thematic panels dedicated to ‘Translating Cultures,’ ‘Lusophone literatures and environmental criticism,’ and ‘In Memory of Professor Clive Willis,’ as well as a postgraduate session and a publisher’s talk. We would like to thank all our panellists for contributing to creating such a vibrant and scholarly debate throughout the conference.”

Null_A_MartinsFocussing on the theme “De/formations: Illegitimate Bodies, Texts and Tongues”, the international event offered postgraduate students and early career researchers the opportunity to share their latest research, and explore aspects of Lusophone culture from the medieval period to the present day.

Fellow organiser Dr Susana Afonso said: “The conference was particularly significant for Portuguese in the Department of Modern Languages, as Portuguese was one of the languages which was launched quite recently, in 2014. It was therefore an honour to have hosted such a fantastic event at Exeter.”

This was the first time the conference was be held at the University of Exeter, in partnership with ABIL, Instituto Camões in Portugal, The University of Exeter, and the Anglo-Portuguese Society.

For more information about the VI International Conference, please visit the VI International Conference of the Association of British and Irish Lusitanists webpage. To learn about the conference, please use the accompanying hashtag #abil2015 on Twitter, or visit the Facebook page.

‘Science at the Seaside’: Experiential learning and public engagement

Dr Kyriaki Hadjiafxendi and Professor John Plunkett, from the English Departments of  Bath Spa and Exeter Universities respectively, talk about their ‘Science at the Seaside’ project which focuses on environmental tourism in North Devon during the Victorian and Edwardian periods.


Year 3/4 children from Denbury Primary School, drawing sea creatures based on illustrations by the Victorian naturalist, Philip Grosse.

If you thought that the Victorian seaside was just about Punch and Judy, promenades, and amusement machines, think again. Before the heyday of Devon’s tourist resorts, its coast was a place of discovery and inspiration, somewhere to visit and enjoy a hands-on engagement with the environment. We strongly believe that the rich history of scientific and literary writing about the North Devon coast deserves to better known and celebrated. In 2013, we received a grant of £30k from North Devon Fishery Local Action Group (FLAG) to work on the public engagement project ‘Science at the Seaside: Pleasure Hunts in North Devon’. Our aim was to highlight a neglected aspect of south-west heritage; namely, the growth of seaside science and environmental tourism in North Devon during the Victorian and Edwardian periods.

Our interest in this area was kindled by our research and teaching interests in literature, landscape and the environment. The primary investigator on the project, Dr Kyriaki Hadjiafxendi (Bath Spa University), is a specialist on the Victorian novelist George Eliot, who wrote her first collection of short stories, Scenes of Clerical Life (1857), while accompanying her partner, George Henry Lewes, to Ilfracombe to gather material for his work, Sea-side studies at Ilfracombe, Tenby, the Scilly Isles, and Jersey (1858). What was it that led two of the foremost versatile figures of the age to choose the West Country for their holidaymaking in 1856? North Devon was not the most obvious and accessible location for metropolitan intellectuals, who would have to travel by rail and then coach for many hours to reach Ilfracombe. Intriguingly though, Eliot and Lewes were far from alone as an increasing number of middle-class tourists made their way to Devon.

Anna-Marie Linnell teaching   the 'Science at the Seaside' project  at Danbury Primary School.

Anna-Marie Linnell teaching the ‘Science at the Seaside’ project at Denbury Primary School, near Newton Abbot.

The research of the co-investigator on the project team, Professor John Plunkett (University of Exeter), is concerned with the growth of Victorian popular science across the south-west. Natural history was a popular Victorian leisure pursuit. At a time when the population of towns and cities were expanding enormously, there was a contrary desire to research and explore the natural environment. The rockpools, beaches and marine biodiversity of North Devon attracted many individuals, literary and scientific, local and distinguished. In addition to Eliot and Lewes, those helping to popularize North Devon included other well-known writers such as Charles Kingsley and the naturalists Philip Gosse and George Tugwell, all of whom published accounts of their explorations. The rich history of writing about the North Devon coast played an important national role in the national growth of popular science in the Victorian period.

Ilfracombe and the surrounding area developed its own niche brand of tourism. As the North Devon Journal declared in 1871:

Like pebble-hunting at Hastings, Ilfracombe has also its speciality of amusement — natural history; everyone hunts for anemones, sea shells, and sea weeds, and everyone has got an aquarium. If you wish to stand well with Ilfracombe society you must, if not already in love with its marvellous beauties, go in for natural history.[1]


Year 5 pupils from Littleham C of E Primary School, Exmouth, holding some of the sea objects upon which they based their stories.

‘Seaside science’ was so popular because it accorded with the contemporary belief in ‘rational recreation’ – the notion that leisure time should be used in a way that was both educational and entertaining. With this mind, we used our FLAG grant to create a programme of activities with Ilfracombe Museum in a similar spirit of experiential learning. The organised events included a number of hands-on, family activities, ranging from Victorian rockpool rambles and handicraft workshops to marine collages, nature writing retreats and a symposium on ‘Curious Objects’. Over 400 children attended the family activities in 2013; around 18,500 visitors have seen a new permanent exhibition on seaside collecting we curated at Ilfracombe museum since it opened in April 2014.

The success of the museum education programme motivated us to extend our activities into schools. Thanks to funding from Bath Spa and Exeter Universities, we were able to design workshops for Devon junior schools to be delivered by PhD students. We were amazed at the interest shown by junior school teachers; we also found ourselves in a new world of Key Stage 2 learning outcomes, national curriculum objectives and the challenge of translating our research into 2-3 hour workshops suitable for years 3-6 students. What knowledge can you expect of these age groups? Can you relate the Victorian passion for natural history to the children’s own curiosity about the seaside?


Describing Coastal Objects: Brainstorming for Creative Writing Workshop.

Working with schools was a steep learning curve but it ended up being a fantastic and engaging experience for all of us. Stephanie Devoy, a teacher from Lifton Community Primary School, has told us that the children ‘loved exploring the objects, creating their pastel drawings and starting their stories. . . . people outside of school coming in to interact with the children is an invaluable experience in itself and heightens the “cultural capital” for all.’ We have been working with 17 schools this year and we delivered workshops to circa 1000 pupils at Bassetts Farm, Cockwood, Dartmouth, Ermington, Halwill, Horwood and Newton Tracey, Littleham, Marwood, Newton Ferrers, and Pilton Blue, among others.

The school workshops were very much a collaborative effort and we are enormously grateful to the Exeter University Outreach Officer, Dr Rosalind Leveridge, as well as the workshop leaders who helped us to continuously improve them (Sophia David, Georgina Hunter,  Anna-Marie Linnell, Tamara Sharp). As Sophia commented, participation in the project demonstrated both the fun and the employability skills that public engagement can foster:

Science at the Seaside was a very rewarding project to be involved in. Working with primary school children across Devon was an entirely different experience from my usual doctoral activities. . . . I quickly found that primary school students are full of wonderful, imaginative and original ideas and it was not such a difficult task, after all. Teaching the children was a more reciprocal experience than I had anticipated. The workshops aimed to develop ideas about the significance and value of the pupils’ local seaside through art and creative writing. Yet, the insights that they shared gave me an entire new perspective on these notions.

We already have a line up of new schools that have expressed an interest in participating in the project in 2015-16. We are in the process of developing a web resource that will continue to inspire curiosity and interest in the coastal heritage of Devon and can be used for teaching activities (which will supplement a digital eHive of ‘curious’ objects created at Ilfracombe Museum as part of the FLAG project).

For more information on the project, the school workshops, the teachers’ training days, or the e-learning resource, please contact Kyriaki Hadjiafxendi ( or John Plunkett ( You can now follow us on Twitter @ScienceSeaside for new developments on the project.

PhD student and creative writer, Tamara Sharp, talking about her experience of working on the project.

[1]‘At Ilfracombe’. North Devon Journal, 2 November 1871: 6.

Dr Kyriaki Hadjiafxendi is Senior Lecturer in the Department of English at Bath Spa University; she is also the programme leader of the MA in Literature, Landscape and the Environment. Her research interests are in Victorian women, work and art as well as literature and place; her publications include Crafting the Woman Professional in the Long Nineteenth Century: Artistry and Industry in Britain (Ashgate, 2013), What is a Woman to Do? A Reader on Women, Work and Art, c. 1830-1890 (Peter Lang, 2011), and Authorship in Context: From the Theoretical to the Material (Palgrave, 2007). She has now embarked on a new book project on nineteenth-century women, place and creativity, which explores the material practices of interior design through which middle-class women claimed recognition of their (taste in) art and makes an argument about how they form part of a broader narrative about the way in which transnational ways of thinking and living entered British culture.

John Plunkett is Associate Professor in the Department of English at the University of Exeter; he is also Director of the Centre for Victorian Studies. His publications include Queen Victoria – First Media Monarch (OUP, 2003), the co-edited, with Andrew King, Victorian Print Media: A Reader (OUP, 2005) and Popular Exhibitions, Science and Showmanship 1820-1910 (Pickering and Chatto, 2012), co-edited with Joe Kember and Jill Sullivan. He is currently working on a book of nineteenth-century visual entertainments, covering the panorama, diorama, peepshow and magic lantern, provisionally entitled, Picture Going: Popular: Popular Visual and Optical Entertainments 1820-1914.

“There is no escape.” Horace Walpole and the terrifying rise of the Gothic

Originally posted on the OUPblog, from Oxford University Press

Professor Nick Groom

This year is the 250th anniversary of Horace Walpole’s The Castle of Otranto, first published on Christmas Eve 1764 as a seasonal ghost story. The Castle of Otranto is often dubbed the “first Gothic novel” due to Walpole describing it as a “Gothic story,” but for him the Gothic meant very different things from what it might do today. While the Gothic was certainly associated with the supernatural, it was predominantly a theory of English progress rooted in Anglo-Saxon and medieval history — effectively the cultural wing of parliamentarian politics and Protestant theology. The genre of the “Gothic novel,” with all its dire associations of uncanny horror, would not come into being for at least another century. Instead, the writing that followed in the wake of Otranto was known as the German School, the ‘Terrorist System of Writing’, or even hobgobliana.

Reading Otranto today, however, it is almost impossible to forget what 250 years of Gothickry have bequeathed to our culture in literature, architecture, film, music, and fashion: everything from the great Gothic Revival design of the Palace of Westminster to none-more-black clothes for sale on Camden Town High Street and the eerie music of Nick Cave, Jordan Reyne, and Fields of the Nephilim.

And the cinema has been instrumental in spreading this unholy word. Despite being rooted in the history of the barbarian tribes who sacked Rome and the thousand-year epoch of the Dark Ages, the Gothic was also a state-of-the-art movement. Technology drove the Gothic dream, enabling, for instance, the towering spires and colossal naves of medieval cathedrals, or enlisting in nineteenth-century art and literature the latest scientific developments in anatomy and galvanism (Frankenstein), the circulation of the blood and infection (The Vampyre), or drug use and psychology (Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde).

The moving image on the cinema screen therefore had an immediate and compelling appeal. The very experience of cinema was phantasmagoric — kaleidoscopic images projected in a darkened room, accompanied by often wild, expressionist music. The hallucinatory visions of Henry Fuseli and Gustave Doré arose and, like revenants, came to life.

The Nightmare by Henry Fuseli, 1781. Public Domain via Wikiart

The Nightmare by Henry Fuseli, 1781. Public Domain via Wikiart

Camera tricks, special effects, fantastical scenery, and monstrous figures combined in a new visual style, most notably in Robert Wiene’s The Cabinet of Dr Caligari (1920) and F. W. Murnau’s Nosferatu: A Symphony of Terror (1922). Murnau’s Nosferatu, the first vampire film, fed parasitically on Bram Stoker’s Dracula; it was rumored that Max Schreck, who played the nightmarish Count Orlok, was indeed a vampire himself. The horror film had arrived.

Cabinet of Dr Caligari Lobby Card (1920). Goldwyn Distributing Company. Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons

Cabinet of Dr Caligari Lobby Card (1920). Goldwyn Distributing Company. Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons

Mid-century Hollywood movie stars such as Bela Lugosi, who first played Dracula in 1931, and Boris Karloff, who played Frankenstein’s monster in the same year, made these roles iconic. Lugosi played Dracula as a baleful East European, deliberately melodramatic; Karloff was menacing in a different way: mute, brutal, and alien. Both embodied the threat of the “other”: communist Russia, as conjured up by the cinema. Frankenstein’s monster is animated by the new cinematic energy of electricity and light, while in Dracula the Count’s life and death are endlessly replayed on the screen in an immortal and diabolical loop.

It was in Britain, however, that horror films really took the cinema-going public by the throat. Britain was made for the Gothic cinema: British film-makers such as Hammer House of Horror could draw on the nation’s rich literary heritage, its crumbling ecclesiastical remains and ruins, the dark and stormy weather, and its own homegrown movie stars such as Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee. Lee in particular radiated a feral sexuality, enabling Hammer Horror to mix a heady cocktail of sex and violence on the screen. It was irresistible.

The slasher movies that have dominated international cinema since Hammer through franchises such as Hellraiser and Saw are more sensationalist melodrama than Gothic, but Gothic film does thrive and continues to create profound unease in audiences: The Exorcist, the Alien films, Blade Runner, The Blair Witch Project, and more overtly literary pictures such as Bram Stoker’s Dracula are all contemporary classics — as is Buffy the Vampire Slayer on TV.

And despite the hi-tech nature of film-making, the profound shift in the meaning of Gothic, and the gulf of 250 years, the pulse of The Castle of Otranto still beats in these films. The action of Otranto takes place predominantly in the dark in a suffocatingly claustrophobic castle and in secret underground passages. Inexplicable events plague the plot, and the dead — embodying the inescapable crimes of the past — haunt the characters like avenging revenants. Otranto is a novel of passion and terror, of human identity at the edge of sanity. In that sense, Horace Walpole did indeed set down the template of the Gothic. The Gothic may have mutated since 1764, it may now go under many different guises, but it is still with us today. And there is no escape.

Professor Nick Groom is Professor of English at the University of Exeter. His new edition of The Castle of Otranto for Oxford University Press will be launched at the British Library on 6 December. You can now listen to a complete audio guide of Professor Nick Groom’s interview with Oxford University Press.

Professor Groom will also be speaking about The Castle of Otranto at Horace Walpole’s former residence, Strawberry Hill on the 19 December 2014 from 7pm to celebrate the 250th Anniversary of The Castle of Otranto, taking place on the 24 December.

Empire: The Controversies of British Imperialism

Originally posted on the Imperial and Global Forum – the blog of the Centre for Imperial and Global History at the History Department, University of Exeter.

Marc-William Palen


Exeter’s Centre for Imperial and Global History launches a new, free online course.

We are delighted to announce that, starting in January 2015, we will be running a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on the history of the British Empire.

The British Empire was the largest empire ever seen. It ruled over a quarter of the world’s population and paved the way for today’s global economy. But British imperialism isn’t without controversy, and it continues to cause enormous disagreement among historians today. This free online course will help you understand why.

Over six weeks, we’ll explore the British Empire through six themes – money, violence, race, religion, gender and sex, and propaganda. You’ll get to hear the stories of the fascinating individuals who contributed to both its rise and fall.

Along the way, you’ll be able to debate the questions these themes raise – with both course educators and learners from around the world – and draw your own conclusions.

Experts from The Centre for Imperial and Global History at the University of Exeter will be your guides. The Centre brings together the strong research expertise of the University’s eminent imperial historians. It comprises one of the largest groups of imperial and global historians currently working in the UK.

The lead educator for this course is Richard Toye – Professor of Modern History and author of several acclaimed books, including “Churchill’s Empire: the World That Made Him and the World He Made.” You can follow him on Twitter @RichardToye.

You can start to explore the British Empire and find out more about the Centre for Imperial and Global History by following @ExeterCIGH on Twitter. Use the hashtag #FLEmpire to join and contribute to social media conversations about this course.

This course will also give you the opportunity to purchase a Statement of Participation.

This course is intended for anyone with an interest in imperial history. It doesn’t require any reading before you start or previous experience of studying the subject.

To sign up via the FutureLearn site, please click here.

Dr Marc-William Palen, Lecturer in Imperial History at the University of Exeter and is editor of the Imperial & Global Forum, the blog for the Centre for Imperial and Global History.

Find out more by visiting the Centre for Imperial and Global History on their blog or follow on Twitter @ExeterCIGH #FLEmpire.

In search of British values

Rumana Begum and Andrew Thompson

Email Rumana Begum, or Andrew Thompson,  

This post was originally published on the Care for the Future: Thinking Forward through the Past blog.

Last week Michael Gove rekindled the debate on British values by demanding that they should be taught in Britain’s schools. Gove’s broadside against the dangers of Islamic extremism taking a hold of our education system was backed by the Prime Minister, who rallied to his Education Secretary’s side, claiming that the incorporation of British values into the school curriculum was likely to have the “overwhelming support” of the country. The Prime Minister went on to give his own view of what these values are, citing freedom, tolerance, respect for the rule of law, belief in personal and social responsibility, and a respect for British institutions.

This is not the first and doubtless it won’t be the last time that the question of “core British values” has hit the media headlines. In 2001, in the wake of riots in Bradford, Burnley and Oldham, the failure to identify and inculcate British values was widely thought to be the biggest stumbling block to community cohesion and a shared sense of national identity. The debate last week closely paralleled that of thirteen years ago. Anxiety about Britain becoming a more segregated, intolerant and fragmented society is as acute in 2014 as it was in 2001. The concern that ethnic minorities may have too much cultural protection, licensing them to live parallel lives, hangs over us now just as it did then. And confusion about what British values are – indeed whether they really exist – rather than diminishing over in intervening decade has, if anything, increased.

The most interesting intervention in last week’s debate was not however that of the Education Secretary nor that of the Prime Minister. It was the interview by the Faith and Communities Minister, Baroness Warsi, which was given to BBC Radio 4’s World at One. Warsi is the first woman Muslim to serve in the cabinet. With a subtlety and sensitivity typically lacking in such debates, she drew a distinction between conservatism and extremism and cautioned against ‘tackling these matters’ in a way that made matters worse and alienated the majority of Muslims. Crucially, as calls were being heard for a national conversation about British values, Warsi underscored the necessity of all of Britain’s communities being included in that conversation.

In 2005, the authors of this blog went in search of British values among Britain’s first generation Asian migrants. One of us worked in a university history department, the other in an Equality & Diversity Unit of a local council. We conducted interviews with thirty men and women in the Tameside District of a Greater Manchester who had arrived in Britain from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh between 1956 to 1972. The youngest was 49, the eldest 86.

We saw ourselves as rising to the challenge issued by the former CRE Commissioner Shahid Malik, who had recently noted that “we know what British values are broadly-speaking’, but tellingly went on to add that “it would be nice to get them down on paper somewhere”. We felt that the idea of core British values would remain an empty one unless there was a greater understanding of what Britain’s migrant communities considered those values to be.

We also felt that if the voices of Britain’s ethnic minorities were rarely heard in the public debate about Britishness, the voices of Asian communities were heard even less than those of other groups. We focused our attention on the first generation, for whom Britain was a largely alien society when they arrived, but who had since come to make Britain their home.

Our findings were striking. The majority of our interviewees confidently described themselves as “British Indian”, “British Pakistani”, or “British Bangladeshi”. The sense of Britain being their home meant that few entertained the notion of eventually returning to their place of birth, even though they had often clung to such a possibility during their early years of settlement.

They were moreover remarkably consistent in their sense of what British values were. Alongside a legal definition of Britishness – the right to hold a passport, which they clearly prized – they identified a core set of values: religious toleration, the welfare state, respect for law and order, and the monarchy.

Having the freedom to practice their religion was clearly something very important to all of those we interviewed. When one Bangladeshi man was asked what he valued about Britain he simply replied: “They have never questioned me about my religion, which I have been able to practice freely”. There is a paradox here. The default position is to think of core British values as a quest for what culturally we have in common – a search for sameness. But the people we spoke to put the respect for diversity right at the heart of what they valued about living in Britain.

Our interviewees – who had worked tirelessly to give their children opportunities beyond their own reach – spoke of the welfare state. Many had been actively involved in voluntary activity and a wide range of community work. But they also valued the services provided by local authorities and central government – especially the NHS. They shared their concerns with us about the breakdown of the extended family in their communities – which among other things acted as a counterweight to reliance on the state. Interestingly, as we published our findings, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation reported the impact of ageing on the health of ethnic minorities was occurring at a comparatively younger age when compared to other sections of society, underscoring the importance of the NHS.

Respect for law an order was a value widely shared. The first generation avoided confrontation, a fact not always sufficiently recognised, and which, because it removed one line of defence, may explain their appreciation for the times when they had faced racial hostility and were supported by the police.

Two-thirds of those we spoke to identified closely with the monarchy. In fact some thought that it was the Queen who more than anyone or anything else best summed up what it meant to be British. The perception of a strong link between the royal family and the Commonwealth may well have been important here.

What should we make of these first generation Asian migrants’ articulation of British values. At their worst British values can come across as little more than a collection of pious platitudes or convenient political slogans. This wasn’t true of our interviewees who spoke about these values with sincerity and in a way that related them to their day-to-day lives. On the face of it, there is a fair overlap between their values and those of the Prime Minister – albeit tolerance had a higher priority for our interviewees, and be more explicitly linked to the question of freedom of religion.

But our study had a very different dynamic to the debate we have witnessed over the last week. We were not trying to establish whether or to what extent our interviewees agreed with what others – be they politicians, journalists or indeed Ofsted inspectors – thought core British values were. Rather, we went with open minds in search of British values in Greater Manchester’s Asian communities without presuming that they existed or that, if they did, we already knew how they were going to be defined.

We will never break out of the current cycle of confusion about British values until we allow ourselves to think differently about them. To breathe life into these values we have to work from the bottom up not the top down. We have to recognise that for something to be taught it first has to be defined, and for something to be defined it first has to be discussed. We don’t need edicts from government, however well intentioned. What we need is a nationwide dialogue about the British values we do (and perhaps don’t) share – a dialogue that spans the sacred and the secular, the north and the south, the urban and the rural, and the advantaged and disadvantaged. It may well be that our schools are among the best drivers of this dialogue, but only if we downplay its didactic purpose in favour of our best traditions of democratic debate.

For the full report, “Asian Britishness. A study of first generation Asian migrants in Greater Manchester”, go to

BBC documentary on Ivor Gurney

Originally posted on War Poetry – the blog of Tim Kendall, Professor of English.

My documentary on Ivor Gurney, directed by Clive Flowers, will be broadcast this Sunday, 30 March, at 9pm on BBC4.

Several years ago, a number of scholars specialising in the First World War were invited to a jointly-organised AHRC/BBC event in London. We discussed our work, and gave our views on how the BBC might mark the forthcoming centenary. There I met an executive producer, Mike Poole, who, as luck would have it, had always wanted to commission a programme about Gurney. So he approached Clive, making him the gift of a rather startled academic with no previous TV experience as presenter.

The filming process, although exhausting, was an absolute joy. Locations included the Somme (where Gurney was shot), Passchendaele (gassed), the Royal College of Music, and some of the hills around Gloucester which inspired Gurney’s greatest poetry. Thanks to Ryan‘s stunning camerawork, it is easy to appreciate why Gurney loved these landscapes. We were also lucky to interview such eloquent experts, my biggest regret being that, for an hour-long documentary, so much superb material ended up on the cutting-room floor.

Lost in the no-place of the asylum for the last 15 years of his life, Gurney complained constantly that he had not received the ‘honour’ that was due to him. Wishing for death, he felt forgotten, betrayed, exiled from his native Gloucestershire and condemned to lingering torture. I thought about that a great deal as I was helping to make this documentary. The programme is intended as some small and belated recompense, a homage to an extraordinary genius who remains underappreciated even today.

Remembering the Home Front of the First World War

Originally posted on the Imperial and Global Forum – the blog of the Centre for Imperial and Global History at the History Department, University of Exeter.

Richard Batten

The commemoration of the Western Front should not wholly overshadow the wide-ranging activities of the men, women, and children of the British Home Front. Devon’s local tendency toward charity over service reflects the unusual autonomy of its citizens as they attempted to navigate the different challenges of the war.

The recent politicised controversies surrounding the centenary of the First World War reveal the strong emotions and the common misperceptions that the conflict continues to evoke. Presently, the deliberations about the commemoration of the Great War also remain primarily focused on how and why Britain went to war: who started what, the failings of military strategists, and the gruelling experience of British soldiers. This is reflected in the staggering amount of books about the Great War that have been published to coincide with and capitalise upon the conflict’s centenary. Yet Margaret Macmillan rightly points out that whilst the passions evoked in the debate on the First World War ‘may make for a good spectacle’, it does not do ‘what history should – and that is help us to understand the past in all its complexity’. Yet, amid these heated debates of how the First World War should be remembered in Britain, there has been little discussion and reflection of the complex wartime experiences of individuals that fell outside the requirements of military service: the women, children and men unable to serve in the military who instead participated in various forms of economic and social self-mobilisation.

According to John Horne, the mobilization of the European nations was essentially a ‘political and cultural process’.[1] These mobilization efforts to support the British war effort constituted a second front that supported the fighting front. This secondary British front became defined as the Home Front.[2] It seems that the word ‘Home Front’ first appeared in the Oxford English Dictionary in 1917. Yet, despite the evocation of home as an emotional counterbalance to the military front, Susan R. Grayzel indicates that in Britain and France, whilst the First World War had created the concept of ‘Home Front’, the conflict ‘never stabilized the boundaries separating war from home’.[3]

Self-Mobilization: Devon as Microhistory

Histories of the British Home Front during the Great War have typically concentrated on the analytical framework of the nation state.[4] However, Keith Grieves suggests that the wartime experiences of the British Home Front were not so ‘complete and universal that one monolithic historical narrative can serve the nuances of differences, which inhabited contemporary “lived” representations of the nation at war’.[5] He also proposes that the local histories of the Home Front comprise a ‘new’ cultural history of the Great War in that it is informed from below by giving a greater ‘emphasis on the effects of war on local communities in their distinctive settings’.[6] A reflection of the British Home Front on both a local level and a national level reinforces the fact that Britain in 1914 was no monolithic structure.[7] Thus, the contributions that civilians made to the war effort in fact varied greatly across the British Isles. For this, the county of Devon proves particularly illustrative.[8]

An examination of the South Western county of Devon, the third largest county in England, provides an important reflection of the strengths and limitations of different forms of self-mobilisation. Like elsewhere, the Army worked closely with local elites in order to garner recruits.[9] Despite this, recruitment efforts in Devon during 1914 and 1915 did not produce the success that the Army recruiters and the county’s elite had hoped that Devon would achieve.[10] Instead, they encountered hesitation and indifference from some Devonians towards their exhortations that the county’s men should volunteer. Frustrated with recruiting efforts at the South Devon resort of Dawlish in the autumn of 1914, Army recruiter Major-General Laye observed that Devonians were ‘too content away from the war in the sunshine’.[11] And in December 1914, the recorder of Tiverton, Sir Trehawke Kekewich, put forward the accusation that recruitment was not a priority in Devon and instead the county had its eyes on another prize: ‘In Devonshire they had not done their duty; they beat Somerset at games but Somerset was beating them in the “war game.”’.[12] He went on to reference a legend within the county folklore of Devon in order to reinforce through this comparison the lacklustre response of Devon’s men: ‘an old tradition that when England was in difficulty or danger old Drake was heard beating his drum. He never was beating it so furiously as now; one could imagine him on the Hoe, calling the young men to come’.[13]

Local logic supported Devonian hesitancy. The Reverend Dr. John T. Trelawny-Ross, a former vicar of Paignton, proposed that a large number of Devon’s men were reluctant to volunteer until they were compelled because they thought that ‘sooner or later they will have to go’.[14] In other words, although some enlisted, more than a few Devonians did not believe the war to be a life or death struggle for Britain or the Empire, fostering a general feeling of unreality amongst the county’s men about the war’s significance.[15]

Humanitarianism, not Opposition

However, the hesitant response from Devon should not be interpreted as symptoms of anti-war sentiment or lack of patriotism. Rather, it stemmed from the fact that Devonians often developed their own rationalisations for abstaining from the behaviours that Devon’s elite prescribed for them. This was evident in February 1915 when an Army representative urged the men of the West Devon village of Bridestowe to join the army. The answer that he received to his appeals was: ‘“We’ve got no time for that rummage”’.[16] This is also noted in the responses from farmers’ sons’ in North Devon with their declaration that they were ‘going to stay home and look after the grub and the money’.[17]

The evidence from the archives and newspapers of Devon, alongside an examination of the wartime experiences of Devon’s elite, indicate that the participation of Devon’s population in the measures introduced in the name of the war effort was not perceived to be a straightforward choice. Instead, for some Devonians it was to focus on local and individual priorities because the preservation of their livelihoods in wartime took precedence over appeals to consider some ill-defined national interest. Rather, the involvement of Devonians with the war effort was informed by what was considered to be an appropriate contribution and a practical way to engage with the war effort.

Bedford Circus for Sale of War Bonds (December 1917)
A model Tank was used in a procession through the streets of Exeter in December 1917 which became the centrepiece in a campaign to encourage Devonians to buy War Bonds. The title for the card on the tank reads: ‘The Bonds Bought Here Buy Bombs & Guns & Build More Tanks To Beat The Huns’.

This was evident in the practical way that Devonians engaged with the war effort through purchasing War Loans and War Bonds. By 1918, Devon, which possessed 31 War Savings Associations, was listed as one of the ten counties in England and Wales with the largest number of War Savings Associations.[18] Adrian Gregory acknowledges that whilst the number of local WSA’s is a crude measure to indicate their popularity, ‘it does give some idea of the depth of involvement of local communities’.[19]Furthermore, Mr Lloyd Parry, the Town Clerk of Exeter, revealed that in respect to the War Saving’s Movement the city of ‘Exeter can claim to be well in the forefront, as not long after the close of the war, it was found that local subscriptions to War Savings Certificates were in comparison with the population – 75 per cent more than the average of the whole country’.[20] This meant that charitable forms of participation with the war effort were more successful than the recruitment efforts in Devon.

The great popularity of charities and philanthropic activities in Devon related to the war effort reveals that voluntary aid found more resonance with the humanitarian sensibilities of the county’s population. This was evident with the Voluntary Aid Detachment in Devon which had grown in popularity since 1909 to the extent that Thekla Bowser suggests in terms of financial support that Devon was ‘one of the richest “veins” which existed in England before the war’.[21] This great financial success was also evident with the Devon branch of the British Red Cross when it had raised £6,300 15 s. 7 d. which exceeded ‘by over £900 the collection of any other County’.[22]In Lady Fortescue’s view, this was one of the ‘many proofs of Devon’s unbounded generosity’ during the First World War.[23]

These examples reaffirm the strength of the humanitarian nature of Devon’s patriotism and emphasize the accomplishments that Devon’s population had achieved in various philanthropic activities. Hence, whereas, throughout much of the British Home Front, local communities rallied around recruitment tables, many Devonians were instead more prepared to give to the war effort in the form of charitable efforts to claim their citizenship in the wartime community.[24] Their tendency toward charity over service reflects the unusual autonomy of Devon’s citizens as they attempted to navigate the different challenges of the war whilst they weighed-up the benefits and constraints of participating in different forms of mobilization against individual and local priorities.

Mayoress of Exeter Mothering (August 1915)
The Mayoress of Exeter, Mrs J. G. Owen, along with other prominent women of Exeter provided refreshments for the Army troops travelling between Exeter and Plymouth throughout the war.

The mobilization of Devon’s women into charitable efforts was significant because their engagement with charitable efforts provided a distinct ‘recognition of citizenship emerging from their patriotism’.[25] This was evident with the activity of knitting when during the first weeks of the war the women of Devon had made and donated to Lady Fortescue 5,000 pairs of socks and 1,500 body belts.[26] However, according to Lord Fortescue, despite the fact that the majority of the socks were badly made they were used to ‘put over the breech action of the rifles as [a] mud guard’.[27]

Children also became active participants in the ‘war effort, not only through education and the singing of patriotic songs in assembly but by the variety of relief efforts’.[28] For instance, the boys of the Holy Trinity School in Barnstaple in September 1914 collected ‘blackberries to make jam to send to the “Jam Committee” of their local Distress Fund’.[29] This was also true of girls who were encouraged to fulfil their wartime obligations through knitting. The children of Hunshaw Church of England National School in Barnstaple sent a parcel containing ‘“sixteen pairs of socks, five long mufflers and eight pairs of mittens together with cigarettes to the value of ten shillings” to the soldiers of the Devonshire Regiment, via the Mayoress of Exeter’.[30]These actions recognise the significant contribution made by Devon’s civilians throughout the war.

It is also important to acknowledge the uncertainty and difficulty of the civilian experience of the First World War wherein many of the measures introduced in the name of the war effort were not always easily acquired. There was a tension between individual priorities and national priorities that was apparent in the encounters between Devon’s elite as agents advocating the necessity of wartime mobilization and the county’s populace during the war. From these differences, fascinatingly, many of the men, women, and children of Devon crucially turned instead to humanitarian methods for supporting the Western Front. In the midst of our intellectual battle over the causes and conflict of the First World War, we would do well to remember the unique local contributions of the Home Front.

[1] John Horne, ‘Introduction: mobilizing for “total war”, 1914-1918’ in J. Horne ed., State, Society and Mobilization in Europe during the First World War (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997) p. 1.

[2] Gerard J. DeGroot, Blighty: British Society in the Era of the Great War(Harlow: Pearson Education Limited, 1996), Jay Winter and Jean-Louis Robert eds., Capital Cities at War: Paris, London, Berlin, 1914-1919(Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999), George Robb, British Culture and the First World War (Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2002), Jay Winter and Jean-Louis Robert eds., Capital Cities at War: Paris, London, Berlin, 1914-1919Volume 2: A Cultural History (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007), Adrian Gregory, The Last Great War: British Society and the First World War (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008),Tammy M. Proctor, Civilians in a World at War, 1914-1918 (New York: New York University Press, 2010), Adrian Gregory, ‘Britain and Ireland’ in J. Horne ed., A Companion to World War I (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2012) pp. 403-417.

[3] Susan R. Grayzel, Women’s Identities at War: Gender, Motherhood, and Politics in Britain and France during the First World War (Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 1999) p. 7.

[4] John Williams, The Home Fronts: Britain, France and Germany, 1914-1918 (London: Constable, 1972), Trevor Wilson, The Myriad Faces of War: Britain and the Great War, 1914-1918 (Cambridge: Polity Press, 1986), Arthur Marwick, The Deluge: British Society and the First World War, 2nd edn (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006).

[5] Keith Grieves, ‘The quiet of the country and the restless excitement of the towns: rural perspectives on the home front, 1914-1918’ in M. Tebbutt ed., Rural and Urban Encounters in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries: Regional Perspectives (Manchester: Conference of Regional and Local Historians, 2004), p. 94.

[6] Ibid., p. 80.

[7] Gerald Gliddon ed., Norfolk & Suffolk in the Great War (Norwich: Gliddon Books, 1988), Keith Grieves, Sussex in the First World War(Lewes: Sussex Record Office, 2004), David Parker, Hertfordshire Children in War and Peace, 1914-1939 (Hatfield: University of Hertfordshire Press, 2007). Paul Rusiecki, The Impact of Catastrophe: The people of Essex and the First World War (1914-1918) (Chelmsford: Essex Record Office, 2008).

[8] Pierre Purseigle, ‘Beyond and Below the Nations: Towards a Comparative History of Local Communities at War’ in J. Macleod and P. Purseigle eds., Uncovered Fields: Perspectives in First World War Studies (Leiden: Brill, 2004) pp. 95-123, Helen B. McCartney, Citizen Soldiers: The Liverpool Territorial’s in the First World War (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005), Helen Townsley, ‘The First World War and Voluntary Recruitment: A forum for regional identity? An analysis of the nature, expression and significance of regional identity in Hull, 1900 -1916’, University of Sussex, PhD thesis, 2008, Paul Rusiecki, The Impact of Catastrophe: The people of Essex and the First World War (1914-1918) (Chelmsford: Essex Record Office, 2008).

[9] Keith Grieves, ‘“Lowther’s Lambs”: Rural Paternalism and Voluntary Recruitment in the First World War’, Rural History Vol. 4, 1 (1993) pp. 55-75.

[10] ‘Devonshire and the War’ in R. Pearse Chope ed., Devonian Year Book 1915 (London: The London Devonian Association, 1915) p. 41,Western Times, 24 November 1914, p. 5, Devon and Exeter Gazette, 10 December 1914, p. 2.

[11] Major General Laye, ‘The Nation’s Call’, Dawlish Gazette, 15 September 1914.

[12] Western Times, 8 December 1914, p. 3.

[13] Ibid.

[14] Plymouth and West Devon Record Office: 1305/10, ‘Local Patriotism and Organisation in 1803 (By Dr. Trelawny-Ross)’, 1914, p. 8, Western Morning News, 15 December 1914, p. 4.

[15] Ibid.

[16] Devon and Exeter Gazette, 20 February 1915, p. 3.

[17] Western Morning News, 18 February 1915, p. 3.

[18] Gregory, The Last Great War, p. 221.

[19] Ibid.

[20] Devon Heritage Centre: FB 12/6/1, Documents of Town Clerk, 1919, p. 2.

[21] Thekla Bowser, The Story of V.A.D. work in the Great War, (London: Imperial War Museum, 2003) p. 94.

[22] Emily Fortescue, ‘Devon and the Red Cross’, Devon and Exeter Gazette, 8 November 1918, p. 5.

[23] Ibid.

[24] John Morton, The Voluntary Recruiting Movement in Britain, 1914-1916 (New York: Garland Publishing, 1982), Peter Simkins, Kitchener’s Army: The raising of the new armies, 1914-1916 (Barnsley: Pen & Sword Military, 2007).

[25] Paul Ward, ‘“Women of Britain Say Go!”: Women’s patriotism in the First World War’, Twentieth Century British History, Vol. 12, 1 (2001) p. 38.

[26] DHC: 1262M/FH42, Typescript memoirs for the war years, 1919, p. 17.

[27] Ibid.

[28] Catriona Pennell, A Kingdom United: Popular Responses to the Outbreak of the First World War in Britain and Ireland (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012) p. 75.

[29] North Devon Record Office: 1903C/EEL, Holy Trinity Boys’ School, Barnstaple, School Log Book, 4 September 1914 as cited in Pennell, A Kingdom United, p. 75.

[30] NDRO: 3073CEEL, Huntshaw C. E. National School, Barnstaple, School Log Book, 1893-1915, 15 December 1914 as cited in Pennell, A Kingdom United, p. 75.