Sibylline Leaves: Chaos and Compilation in the Romantic Period. A Bicentennial Conference

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Venue: Birkbeck School of Arts, 46 Gordon Square, London WC1H 0PD
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July 2017 marks the bicentenary of Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s poetry collection Sibylline Leaves and Biographia Literaria, which he had initially planned as an introduction to the poems. For Coleridge the collection included ‘the whole of the author’s poetical compositions’, from those already published in Lyrical Ballads to those taken down on ‘loose papers and [in] numerous Common-place or Memorandum Books […] including Margins of Books & Blank pages’. While Coleridge ennobles his poems through an allusion to Virgil’s Cumaean Sibyl, their ‘fragmentary and widely scattered state’ also evokes the cheap materiality of newspapers. For William Hazlitt Biographia was no more significant a work than the ‘soiled and fashionable leaves of the Morning Post’ from which it was supposedly composed. From the prophetic to the everyday, through the high and low traditions of flying leaves, this conference focuses on the materiality of Romantic collections.

Organised by Marianne Brooker and Luisa Calè.

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