News: Bunyan Round Table

INAUGURAL MEETING OF ‘BUNYAN ROUND TABLE’ IN BEDFORD

On 23 November 2017, a ‘Bunyan Round Table’ meeting was held at the Swan Hotel in Bedford. Organised and chaired by Ruth Broomhall, it brought together a group of about twenty people with particular interests in Bunyan. Two key issues were discussed. The first was how the profile of Bunyan, and knowledge about him, might be raised and sustained among local people in Bedford and Bedfordshire. The second was how tourist interest in Bunyan might be stimulated, and how visitors to Bedford might be given a richer sense of Bunyan’s importance in the history of the town than is offered at present.

There was general agreement at the meeting that much more could be done to make Bunyan and his Pilgrim’s Progress central to his home town of Bedford in the way that Shakespeare has become central to Stratford-upon-Avon. For example, road signs to Bedford and railway signs could highlight the link with his name and book. Other discussion focussed on ways of enhancing the experience of visitors to Bedford, by, for example, providing a coherent ‘Bunyan Pilgrimage’ package of information and activities, highlighting his literary, historical, and religious significance, taking in sites in Bedford, Elstow and other places. The specific needs of groups of visitors were also discussed. It was suggested that there might be a special ‘Bunyan Bus’ to take such groups to places associated with Bunyan, and that a series of ‘events’, including exhibitions, activities and talks for groups, might be laid on during the main tourist season.

Ruth Broomhall spoke about her own efforts to bring The Pilgrim’s Progress back into school classrooms in Bedford. She has recently published The Pilgrim’s Progress: A Curriculum for Schools, accompanied by a frieze illustrating the story for display on a classroom wall. These materials are designed to help teachers to bring the story to life for primary school children (see her website: palacebeautiful.co.uk.) One idea discussed at the meeting was the possibility of producing a more extensive ‘Bunyan Pack’ for distribution to Bedford schools. This might include a copy of the Curriculum for Schools together with other material such as a children’s version of The Pilgrim’s Progress, and resources such as Peter Morden’s biography of Bunyan, The People’s Pilgrim.

It was agreed that this inaugural meeting had been extremely useful in drawing together people who were already working to promote knowledge of Bunyan to share ideas about more effective coordination of and support for these efforts. It was agreed to explore the possibility of setting up a not-for-profit/charitable organisation, led by representatives of Elstow Abbey and Bunyan Meeting as the two key Bunyan historical sites. This organisation could then seek grants for specific projects and activities of the kinds discussed. A second meeting of the Bunyan Round Table will be held in February 2018. Further information may be obtained by contacting Ruth Broomhall at: ruth.jb@internet.com.

Bunyan Round Table 2017

‘Bunyan Round Table’ group on the staircase from Houghton House, Ampthill (often thought to have inspired ‘Palace Beautiful’) now at The Bedford Swan Hotel.

 

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2018 IJBS Regional Day Conference

REMEMBRANCE AND RE-APPROPRIATION: SHAPING DISSENTING IDENTITIES

A Regional Day Conference of the International John Bunyan Society, organized in association with the University of Bedfordshire, Keele University, and Northumbria University

Keele University, Staffordshire, Friday 13 April 2018
CALL FOR PAPERS

The purpose of this interdisciplinary conference is to explore seventeenth- and long-eighteenth-century practices of memorialisation and re-appropriation and the ways in which these might be put to work in shaping various dissenting identities. Papers may focus on, for example, the remembrance or re-appropriation of rituals or practices, experiences of persecution, anniversaries, memories, and events (personal or public); conservative vs subversive practices of memorialisation/re-appropriation; the collection and/or re-appropriation of particular texts, authors, or genres (devotional writing, history, biography); the contexts and/or methods for memorialisation/re-appropriation; the use of memorialisation/re-appropriation in the formation and survival of particular dissenting communities. Please send a title and brief (200-word) summary of a 20-minute paper – no later than 1 February 2018 – to: Rachel Adcock (r.c.adcock@keele.ac.uk), Bob Owens (bob.owens@beds.ac.uk), and David Walker (david5.walker@northumbria.ac.uk).

PLENARY SPEAKERS
Professor John Coffey (University of Leicester) – ‘Rewriting the History of Dissent’
Dr Johanna Harris (University of Exeter) – Title tba

REGISTRATION
Attendance is free of charge, but prior registration by 5 March 2018 is essential as numbers are limited. The conference opens at 10.00am, and ends at 5.00pm. Morning and afternoon refreshments and a light lunch will be provided, costing £15 payable on the day.

To register, please email r.c.adcock@keele.ac.uk, david5.walker@northumbria.ac.uk, and bob.owens@beds.ac.uk giving details of name; title; affiliation; postal and email addresses; and any dietary requirements. We may be able to offer modest financial assistance with travel costs of postgraduate students whose papers are accepted. If you wish to be considered for assistance, in addition to sending the title and outline of your proposed paper, please explain briefly why you would need help with travel costs.

QMCRLE announces first conference

Religion and the Life-Cycle, 1500-1800

The Queen Mary Centre for Religion and Literature in English has announced that its first conference, ‘Religion and the Life-Cycle, 1500-1800‘ will take place on Friday 6 July 2018 at QMUL Mile End Campus with keynote lectures from Prof. Elaine Hobby and Dr. Adam Sutcliffe.

The Call for Papers is now open:

The Queen Mary Centre for Religion and Literature in English (QMCRLE) welcomes proposals for twenty minute papers on the theme ‘Religion and the Life Cycle, 1500-1800’ for a one-day interdisciplinary conference. They interpret the term ‘Life Cycle’ broadly, to include biological transition points such as birth and death, social transition points such as coming of age ritual, marital and employment status, life-stages such as childhood or adolescence, and indeed the passage of time and the process of aging. This conference seeks to explore institutional religious ceremonies and prescriptions relating to the life cycle, as well as more personal and informal religious beliefs and responses.

Suggested topics for papers include, but are not limited to:

  • ‘Rites of passage’ ceremonies such as baptism, circumcision, confirmation
  • Spiritual writing / personal writing / prayer which reflects upon Life-Cycle events
  • Religious prescriptive literature relating to Life-Cycle events
  • Representations of religious Life-Cycle processes within literature, art, or material culture

Keynotes
Professor Elaine Hobby (Loughborough): “We have an example in Scripture” (Jane Sharp, The Midwives Book): Women, Religion, and the Early Modern Life-Cycle

Dr Adam Sutcliffe (King’s College London): The Children of Israel and the Passage to Adulthood in Early Modern Europe

Please do consider submitting a paper. See this link for further information: https://religionandthelifecycleconference.wordpress.com/

Save the date!

NINTH TRIENNIAL CONFERENCE OF THE INTERNATIONAL JOHN BUNYAN SOCIETY 
14-17 August 2019 

University of Alberta, Edmonton Canada
 

Networks of Dissent: Connecting and Communicating Across the Long Reformation

 

SAVE THE DATE!

This is an early preview of the next IJBS triennial conference in 2019. We warmly invite you to join us. Information on events, keynote speakers and registration information will become available as the next conference approaches.

Our theme can be broadly and flexibly imagined. We welcome your ideas on relevant topics, examples and areas. We will also welcome proposals for special panels.

Our theme is not exclusive. We will welcome papers on all aspects of Bunyan’s writings and early modern dissent. Papers from a variety of disciplines are welcome.

The University of Alberta’s Bruce Peel Special Collections Library has one of the largest rare Bunyan collections in the world, ranking with the British Library and the New York Public Library. An exhibition of rare books curated by Sylvia Brown will be a main feature of the conference. Your conference visit could include research time in our special collections library.

We plan to add cultural and recreational opportunities to our conference schedule. Edmonton is a great summertime city, featuring theatre and music festivals. Edmonton is also a gateway to Canada’s spectacular Rocky Mountains, making it an ideal prospect for combining conference and holiday time.

Download a copy of our preview flyer here.

Please feel free to contact us with any questions you may have.

Organizing Committee: David Gay (University of Alberta david.gay@ualberta.ca); Sylvia Brown (University of Alberta sb9@ualberta.ca); Arlette Zinck (The King’s University Arlette Zinck Arlette.Zinck@kingsu.ca)

Anne Dutton Conference

On the afternoon of 18 March, Great Gransden Baptist Chapel in Cambridgeshire is hosting an afternoon conference dedicated to one of their most famous former members, Anne Dutton, the prolific 18th century Baptist poet, writer, and autobiographer.

Speakers include: Michael Haykin on ‘The Life of Anne Dutton in the Context of 18th’ and David Gay on ‘Anne Dutton’s Spiritual Relevance for 21st Century’.

For more information download the conference flier here: anne-dutton-conference-flier.

IJBS Regional Day Conference

PRISONS AND PRISON WRITING IN EARLY MODERN BRITAIN

Northumbria University, Newcastle, Monday 10 April 2017

A Regional Day Conference of the International John Bunyan Society, organized in association with the University of Bedfordshire, Keele University, and Northumbria University

Plenary speakers include Dr Jerome de Groot, University of Manchester and Professor Molly Murray, Columbia University, New York.

CALL FOR PAPERS

John Bunyan is famous as a ‘prisoner of conscience’, and The Pilgrim’s Progress was written during his twelve-year incarceration in Bedford jail. The early modern period saw a dramatic increase in the prison population, and prison writing emerged as a major cultural form. The purpose of this interdisciplinary conference is to explore the experience of imprisonment and some of the diverse writings that emerged from prisons during the early modern period. Papers may focus on, for example, prisons and penal law; the physical conditions of prison life; the literary effects of imprisonment; the purposes of writings from prison; specific prison writers and writings. Please send a title and brief (200-word) summary of a 20-minute paper – no later than 1 February 2017 – to: David Walker (david5.walker@northumbria.ac.uk), Rachel Adcock (r.c.adcock@keele.ac.uk) and Bob Owens (bob.owens@beds.ac.uk).

To download a copy of the Call For Papers poster, click ijbs-northumbria-day-conference-2017-flier-nov-2016.

 

2016 Richard L. Greaves Prize

The International John Bunyan Society is pleased to announce that on 9 July RyrieAlec Ryrie received the Richard L Greaves Award for his monograph Being Protestant in Reformation Britain (Oxford University press, 2013). The award was presented to Prof. Ryrie by the president of the selection committee, Neil Keeble, and committee members Cynthia Wall and Ann Hughes, at IJBS’s Triennial Conference in Aix-en-Provence.

The Richard L. Greaves Award is presented triennially by the International John Bunyan Society for an outstanding book on the history, literature, thought, practices, and legacy of English Protestantism to 1700.

An Honourable Mention went to Meredith Marie Neuman for her monograph, Jeremiah’s Scribes, Creating Sermon Literature in Puritan New England (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2013).