The New Minstrelsy: Roundtable Discussion

Date(s) - 21/10/2009
3:00 pm

Room 6.11, David Hume Tower



Professor Nigel Leask (University of Glasgow)
Dr Alison Lumsden (University of Aberdeen)
Dr Alex Thomson (University of Edinburgh)

The focus of this roundtable will be two recent books that ask us to look again at the history of British Poetry: Maureen McLane’s Balladeering, Minstrelsy, and the Making of British Romantic Poetry (Cambridge UP, 2008) and Erik Simpson’s Literary Minstrelsy, 1770-1830 (Palgrave, 2008). Our speakers will introduce the books, followed by a general discussion of the questions these new studies raise for our understanding of Romanticism, authorship, readership, cultural production and national and regional identity:

  • What does minstrelsy reveal about the intersection between literature, music and performance in the period?
  • How did the figure of the minstrel and the production and appropriation of the ballad form enter into the cultural market place?
  • How does a consideration of minstrelsy reconfigure our understanding of Romantic poesis?
  • How does participation in the social forms of balladry challenge the received notion of the lone Romantic genius?
  • What appeal did the figure of the minstrel have in the colonies, and for women and the poor? What is the relationship between Romantic-period and Black-face minstrelsy?
  • What role might ballads and minstrelsy play in a digital, global twenty-first-century culture?

L-R: Alex Thomson; Alison Lumsden; Nigel Leask

L-R: Alex Thomson; Alison Lumsden; Nigel Leask

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