Exhibits, Rare Book Collection, Special Collections

Lyric Impressions: Wordsworth in the Long Nineteenth Century

wordsworth_exhibit_posterLyric Impressions: Wordsworth in the Long Nineteenth Century
Melba Remig Saltarelli Exhibit Room
Wilson Special Collections Library
January 20, 2016 – April 15, 2016
(919) 962-3765 or wilsonlibrary@unc.edu

A spring exhibition in UNC’s Wilson Special Collections Library will celebrate the Rare Book Collection’s William Wordsworth Collection and related holdings in Romantic literature and British culture. Lyric Impressions: Wordsworth in the Long Nineteenth Century will be on view in the Melba Remig Saltarelli Exhibit Room from January 20 through April 15. It is free and open to the public.

The William Wordsworth Collection began in 1994 with the acquisition of more than 250 books by and about Wordsworth from the collection of scholar Michael Jaye. In 2010, a gift of more than 1,700 volumes from UNC Professor Mark L. Reed, III tripled the size of the Wordsworth Collection, and made UNC a major print repository of Wordsworth’s writings in the United States.

The exhibition contextualizes the Wordsworth Collection within global events of the long nineteenth century, from the explosive years of the French Revolution to the cataclysmic First World War. Drawing on the Rare Book Collection’s extensive holdings in Romantic literature, the exhibition considers Wordsworth in the context of transformation: how his influential approach to poetic composition transformed English literature, but also how the rapid changes that characterized his time transformed him.

The exhibition also capitalizes on the vast scope of the Wordsworth Collection to outline Wordsworth’s reception in the years following his death in 1850. Reprinted, repackaged, and repurposed for new generations of readers, posthumous publications of Wordsworth reveal the evolving tastes and sensibilities of a population increasingly urban, modern, and technologically savvy.

Highlights of the exhibition include Wordsworth’s first published poem, “Sonnet on Seeing Miss Helen Maria Williams Weep at a Tale of Distress,” from 1787; the first edition of Lyrical Ballads (1798), a landmark work in the development of English literature; and a rare chapbook edition of Wordsworth’s popular poem “We Are Seven.” These items and more are arranged alongside significant publications that illuminate the political, historical, and social world of nineteenth-century England.

Lyric Impressions: Wordsworth in the Long Nineteenth Century will be on view until April 15, 2016, and will be featured through the following events:

“Wordsworthian Carnage”
Monday, February 22
Keynote lecture by Duncan Wu, Professor of English at Georgetown University
5:30 p.m. – Viewing of Lyric Impressions: William Wordsworth in the Long Nineteenth Century, Melba Remig Saltarelli Exhibit Room
6 p.m. – Program, Pleasants Family Assembly Room, Wilson Library

Bettie Allison Rand Lectures in Art History
Monday, March 28– Saturday, April 2
British Landscape Painting in the Age of Revolution: Romanticism, Naturalism, and the Decline of Deference
by Andrew Hemingway, Professor Emeritus of Art History at University College London and author of Landscape Imagery and Urban Culture in Early Nineteenth-Century Britain.

Monday, March 28: “Naturalistic Landscape Painting and the Decline of Deference”
5 p.m. – Viewing of Lyric Impressions: Wordsworth in the Long Nineteenth Century, Melba Remig Saltarelli Exhibit Room
5:30 p.m. – Program, Pleasants Family Assembly Room, Wilson Library

Tuesday, March 29: “The Artisanal Worldview in the Paintings of John Crome”
5:30 p.m. – Program, Pleasants Family Assembly Room, Wilson Library

Thursday, March 31: “Constable’s Meanings: Iconography and the Aesthetic”
5:30 p.m. – Program, Pleasants Family Assembly Room, Wilson Library

Saturday, April 2: “The Field of Waterloo Exposed: Turner, Byron, and the Politics of Reaction”
11 a.m. – Program, Pleasants Family Assembly Room, Wilson Library

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