“Building a Global Bookshelf” Bubb, April 4th, 2 pm, Faculty Lounge

Alexander Bubb, whose book *Meeting Without Knowing It: Kipling and
Yeats at the Fin de Siècle* just came out, will be visiting to give the
talk below, which is sponsored by the Graduate English Students
Association, the Department of English, and the Bibliographical Society
of the University of Virginia.

“Building a Global Bookshelf: Asian Classics for the Victorian General
Reader, 1845-1915.”

April 4th, 2 pm, Bryan Hall, Faculty Lounge

In spring 2016 I discovered a remarkable book: a pocket-pamphlet edition
of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam that belonged to a soldier in the First
World War, annotated with quotations from Kabir (vernacular Hindi) and
Yasuhide (Japanese). My project explores the reading culture that made
this artefact possible. I will explain how, in the late nineteenth
century, classic Asian literature hitherto known only to scholars was
made accessible to the general reader in popular translations. I aim to
chart changing domestic reading patterns, analyse publication
strategies, discuss cultural ‘spin-offs’ in music and art, and identify
‘failed’ classics that never achieved the Omar Khayyam-style success
their translators had projected for them. My project will show how the
popularizing process—a word the Victorians themselves use for the first
time—gave rise to debates over authenticity and trivialization, and
ultimately suggest how we might re-orient our view of the English
‘common reader’.

He’d be especially grateful to hear views at UVa on the ever-evasive
‘common’ or ‘general’ reader and his or her habits.  He’s the
Leverhulme Early Career Research Fellow at King’s College London: http://www.kcl.ac.uk/artshums/depts/english/people/academic/bubb.aspx

Those interested in Victorian literature, reading history, bibliography,
or world literature are especially encouraged to come, but any
interested participant is welcome.

English Department Events

The Graduate English Students Association (GESA), established in 1975, is the primary graduate student organization within the University of Virginia’s English Department. GESA advances the interests of graduate English students to departmental and university administrators, fosters and supports a vibrant intellectual community, and provides valuable resources to members at every phase of the University’s program in English.

GESA affords students the unique opportunity to become familiar with and have a hand in the administration of a large academic department. Each year we elect new officers, appoint members to departmental committees, convene monthly GESA meetings, and organize a number of intradepartmental activities.

We encourage all graduate English students to participate in GESA, and to take an active role in the academic milieu to which they belong while at UVA.