The Humphry Davy Notebooks Project has just launched

The Davy Notebooks Project has just launched on Zooniverse, the world’s largest and most popular platform for people-powered research.

Sir Humphry Davy (1778-1829) was one of the most significant and famous figures in the scientific and literary culture of early nineteenth-century Britain, Europe, and America. Davy’s scientific accomplishments include: conducting pioneering research into the physiological effects of nitrous oxide (often called ‘laughing gas’); isolating seven chemical elements (magnesium, calcium, potassium, sodium, strontium, barium, and boron) and establishing the elemental status of chlorine and iodine; inventing a miners’ safety lamp; developing the electrochemical protection of the copper sheeting of Royal Navy vessels; conserving the Herculaneum papyri; and writing an influential text on agricultural chemistry. Davy was also a poet, moving in the same literary circles as Lord Byron, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Robert Southey, and William Wordsworth.

The notebooks selected for this pilot run of the Davy Notebooks Project reveal how Davy’s mind worked and how his thinking developed. Containing details of his scientific experiments, poetry, geological observations, travel accounts, and personal philosophy, Davy's notebooks present us with a wide range of fascinating insights. Many of the pages of these notebooks have never been transcribed before. By transcribing these notebooks, we will find out more about the young Davy, his life, and the cultures and networks of which he was part.

All you need to contribute is a Zooniverse account - sign up today at

If you have any questions, please send them to, or post them on our Zooniverse Talk boards. Project updates will be posted to our Twitter account:

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'Coleridge and the Natural World' - AN UNMISSABLE HALSWAY AUTUMN STUDY WEEKEND this September

Coleridge combined an extraordinary sensitivity to the natural world, the sensuous intelligence of a great poet, and a restless desire to know and understand the living order that we inhabit.

In its unique combination of lectures, seminars and participatory discussion, this year's Autumn Study Weekend will explore the astonishing range and depth of Coleridge's lifelong engagement with nature, both physical and metaphysical, scientific and poetic, in the company of leading scholars and writers.

Its setting at Halsway Manor, nestled in the Quantock Hills, is the perfect place to spend time with Coleridge and his 'wild-wood' ways, 'Through open glade, dark glen, and secret dell'.

Click here to view the details of the program of lectures and Saturday evening entertainment, and to download the registration form.

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New ‘Coleridge and Wordsworth in the Quantocks’ 12-page booklet, by Terence Sackett

I have just written and designed my third Coleridge-related 12-page booklet ‘Coleridge and Wordsworth in the Quantocks’.

It is intended for walkers and visitors to Nether Stowey and Quantock country. Attached is an A4-size PDF that you can download for free.

I will be having a considerable quantity printed as a reduced size A5 booklet for distribution to tourist information centres, the Quantock Hills AONB, Exmoor Park Authority centres, local libraries, galleries and museums, and other tourist destinations. They will be available free, and I am very grateful to both the Quantock Hills AONB and the Friends of Coleridge for financing the printing.

Click here to download the PDF.

Visit the Nether Stowey page under the ‘Coleridge Places’ tab on the Friends of Coleridge website to download my two previous booklets: ‘A walk round Nether Stowey in 1797 with Samuel Taylor Coleridge’ and ‘Thomas Poole’.

Terence Sackett, The Friends of Coleridge


'Beauty, Love and Truth in Cambridge'

Ancient and Renaissance Philosophers on Modern Questions: Plato, Ficino, Leonardo da Vinci, Umberto Eco (among others) on Beauty and Truth (Keats), on Love and Beauty (an unnecessary connection?), on Philosophy and Art (a necessary connection?) - and much more. Two days in Cambridge in the beautiful Madingley Hall. Take a look at the website,

and we very much hope some of you intrepid philosophers will be able to come.'

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Romantic-Era Lakeland - Two-day conference report

Romantic-Era Lakeland: Walking, Viewing,Writing—Robert Southey and Others

27-28 April 2019, Keswick Museum

by Jonathan Gonzalez, University of La Rioja

‘Romantic-Era Lakeland: Walking, Viewing, Writing—Robert Southey and Others’ was a two-day conference held at the heart of Southey Country: in the recently-renovated Keswick Museum, only ten minutes away from Greta Hall, the Lake District home of Coleridge and Southey for over forty years.On the slopes of Skiddaw, it was the ideal venue from which to bringing together research on all aspects of the writing of Southey and his circle in its contexts, with a special emphasis on Romantic-era walking.

Following a special welcome address by the Academic Director of the conference, Tim Fulford, the first panel kicked off to a superb start. Ian Packer and Lynda Pratt provided a fascinating account of their editing work towards the forthcoming volumes of the Romantic Circles edition of The Collected Letters of Robert Southey, offering a peek into the 965 surviving letters addressed to over 150 correspondents throughout the 1820s. Moving from his private towards his public correspondence, Jonathan Gonzalez considered how Southey’s own walking adventures found written expression in his Letters from Spain and Portugal and Letters from England.

In the next panel, Sally Bushell offered a close reading of Wordsworth’s ‘The Brothers’ with particular emphasis on its final twist, yielding a comprehensive examination of the representation of sleepwalking in this piece. Ann C. Colley focused then on Coleridge and the material aspect of Romantic-era walking, while Kerri Andrews’s close work on women writers’ walking revealed how Harriet Martineau was instrumental in shaping the Lakeland pedestrian aesthetics in the 1850s after the publication of her Complete Guide to the Lakes.

The afternoon began with Tom Duggett and a careful consideration of the notion of Southey in foreign and outlandish disguise in Colloquies on Society, which set the tone for Stephen Basdeo’s discussion of his editing work on Southey’s unpublished Robin Hood novel, Harold; or, the Castle of Morford. Robin Jarvis’s thought-provoking take on Southey’s hilarious (yet brilliant) buffet-style approach to the editorial labour for the Annual Anthology rounded off the session. The discussion thenmoved beyond Southey, with Duncan Hay and Rebecca Hutcheon exploring the opportunities and challenges of mapping Coleridge’s literary spaces as part of their work on the Chronotopic Cartographies AHRC-funded project. Gregory Leadbetter closed the last panel of the day with an enthralling paper that brought together his work as a scholar and creative writer, featuring readings of both Romantic-era poems and his own work.

On the second day the conference crew returned to the Keswick Museum, opening the morning with a session that considered the many ways in which walking became an important way to canalise restless textual energiesin the Romantic-era. Gabriel Cervantes and Dahlia Porter provided a fascinating reading of the work of William Hayley, Southey and his circle alongside the figure of the early English prison reformer John Howard, bringing together the themes of itineracy and Romantic reform; followed by Judith Thompson’s wide-ranging paper that took John Thelwall’s engagement with the Lakeland as its focus. Cristina Flores rounded off the panel with a close reading of Southey’s engagement with mountaineering in the Spain in both his poetry and prose.

The morning continued with three closely-linked papers that were to prompt a stimulating conversation. Chris Donaldson offered a nuanced discussion of the long-term effects of Romantic-era writing upon changing perceptions of the value of the Lakeland landscape, and how these perceptions were mediated in turn by commercially produced guidebooks from the 1750s to the 1950s; while Simon Bainbridge and Alan Vardy both provided fascinating accounts of the often overlooked yet pioneering role of female hillwalkers and climbers in the Lakeland, revealing how Dorothy Wordsworth and Elizabeth Smith played a major role in the development of the Romantic culture of ascent. The final panel of the conference focused on the exploration of Coleridgean and Southeyan geographies on foot, engaged first with their pedestrian practices abroad only to finish with a close reading of a walking excursion that set off from Keswick.  Maximiliaan van Woudenberg and Patrick Vincent both offered, respectively, thorough examinations of Coleridge’s 1799 tour of the Harz Mountains and Southey’s thirteen-week continental tour of 1817 with Humphrey Senhouse and Edward Nash; while Tim Fulford closed the panel and therefore the conference with a lively exploration of Southey as the ‘unpicturesque tourist’, focusing on the account of his walking trip from Keswick to Durham in July 1812.

A tightly scheduled two days which also left some time to indulge in walking excursions in the footsteps of Coleridge and Southey—up to Walla Crag, Latrigg, and over the Newlands Valley—, this conference made for an engaging, inspiring and friendly gathering. The organisers, Tim Fulford and Kerri Andrews, are to be congratulated and thanked for putting together a conference characterised by the high calibre of its papers and the intellectually stimulating discussions that ensued, which amply demonstrated that that both Southeyans and Coleridgeans are a warm and welcoming breed amongst Romanticists.

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