Academic journal article Bunyan Studies

International John Bunyan Society Regional Day Conference Held at Northumbria University, Newcastle

Academic journal article Bunyan Studies

International John Bunyan Society Regional Day Conference Held at Northumbria University, Newcastle

Article excerpt

An IJBS Regional Day Conference on 'Prisons and Prison Writings in Early Modern Britain' was held at Northumbria University on 10 April 2017. This was the second such conference in the UK, organised jointly by Rachel Adcock (Keele University), Bob Owens (University of Bedfordshire), and myself. About twenty-five people attended, including academics and postgraduate students from Europe as well as the UK.

The aim of these Day Conferences is twofold: to provide opportunities for regional members of IJBS to meet between the triennial conferences, and to enhance the profile of the Society by organising scholarly events on literary and historical topics that appeal to a wide range of people. The theme of 'Prisons and Prison Writings' seemed a highly appropriate one, given that Bunyan is famous as a 'prisoner of conscience', and that The Pilgrim's Progress was written during his twelve-year incarceration in Bedford jail. The early modern period saw a dramatic increase in the prison population in England and the emergence of prison writing as a major cultural form. Speakers at the conference explored the nature of early modern prisons, the experience of imprisonment and some of the diverse writings that emerged from prisons.

The opening plenary paper was given by Dr Jerome de Groot, University of Manchester. His title was '"Ile make my very Gaole your Liberty": Stoicism, Immobility, and the Writing of Prison', and his paper explored writings by Royalist prisoners during the 1640s and 1650s, and the image of prisons that emerges from their writings. There followed a panel of papers delivered by three PhD students. Jenny Cryar, Queen Mary University of London, spoke about her research on London's Bridewell, and the harsh regime it imposed on inmates. Richard Bell, Stanford University California, discussed how prisoners organised themselves into self-governing 'companies' who effectively ran the prisons. Maximilian Hölzl, University of Manchester, compared Luther's experience of being held in protective custody at Wartburg with Bunyan's imprisonment in the 'denn' at Bedford.

The afternoon panel included two papers. Dr Catie Gill, Loughborough University, focussed on George Fox's Journal, composed just after two periods of imprisonment, arguing that while it presented imprisonment as fulfilling God's purposes, it also included warnings of the punishment that would be visited on those who persecuted Quakers. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.