Tuesday, June 4, 2013

"Corvey Collection” supports NEH Summer Seminar

Painting: Constable's Flatford Mill
Stephen C. Behrendt, University Professor and George Holmes Distinguished Professor of English, and President, International Conference on Romanticism is directing a five-week NEH Summer Seminar for College and University Teachers here at UNL, from 10 June through 12 July. The subject of the seminar is "Reassessing British Romanticism," which will be attended by sixteen faculty members selected from institutions of higher education from around the United States. The purpose of the seminar is to provide an opportunity for intensive research, study, conversation, and collaborative work on a specific subject.
This is the fourth such seminar that has been held at UNL . Behrendt says that one reason why UNL is successful in attracting multiple NEH seminars is the presence of the "Corvey Collection," which the UNL Libraries acquired in microfiche in 1998.
The "Corvey Collection" is an archive of nearly ten thousand titles of literature from the Romantic period (c. 1780-1835). The archive is based on the collections held at "Castle Corvey" in Germany. The collection was copied to microfiche in the early 1990s by a team from the University of Paderborn, in Germany, and it became commercially available shortly after that. The "Corvey Collection" has moved from microfilm to digital format and was incorporated into the Nineteenth Century Collections Online (NCCO) database.
“The presence of these materials here at UNL, together with the library's wonderful digital and other microform media collection in British literary periodicals, newspapers, and national archives, make UNL a terrific place to study the literature and culture of this amazing period in history,” says Behrendt.
Each seminar participant will work on their individual research project, while also participating in daily group sessions during which primary and secondary materials of the Romantic period in Britain are examined.
According to Behrendt, scholars have expanded their examination of the field to include literally thousands of active writers (both men and women) who produced vast amounts of poetry, prose fiction, drama, and other non-fiction prose during that period. Most of those writers had been previously ignored by scholars until the late 1980s. As a result, scholars are re-drawing the Romantic literary "landscape” in ways that are finally returning some historical accuracy to the view of this period during which writing was a culturally central activity and during which writers actually engaged in a sort of community conversation in print.
“And none of it would be possible without the wonderful support -- and the remarkable resources -- the University Libraries,” explains Behrendt.

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