The 8th Triennial Conference of the International John Bunyan Society
Aix-en-Provence (France), 6–9 July 2016
Plenary speakers: Alec Ryrie (Durham), Andrew Spicer (Oxford Brookes), Alexandra Walsham (Cambridge), Helen Wilcox (Bangor).
The conference will concentrate on the expression and representation of Protestant Dissent, Nonconformity and Puritanism (1500–1800), with an emphasis on the relationship between written and oral cultures. Topics might include: preaching, singing and praying; public and private devotion; conferences and disputations; epistolary conversation; religion and politics; rumour and defamation; reading and publishing Dissent; the representation of emotions…
The conference will be hosted conjointly by the research centres on the anglophone world of Aix-Marseille and Montpellier Universities.
Applicants are invited to send proposals for 30-minute papers or for panels (3 x 30-minute papers). Please include a title for the paper; a summary of no more than 300 words; a 100-word biographical outline; and a one-page CV.
Bursaries are available for doctoral students and young researchers. To apply, explain your need for support, your likely travel costs, and include a reference letter (from e.g. a supervisor).
“Representing Dissent in the Long Eighteenth Century”
A Regional Day Conference of the International John Bunyan Society organized by W. R. Owens and David Walker in association with the University of Bedfordshire and Northumbria University will take place at the University of Bedfordshire, Bedford Campus, on Friday 10 April 2015.
This conference is open to anyone interested in Bunyan and in the ways in which Dissent and Dissenters were represented during the period from about 1660 through to the early nineteenth century. The term ‘represented’ may be taken to include self-representation and representation by others in various forms of expression and communication, including, for example, literature, art, the theatre, news media, high and popular culture, sermons, and political discourse and propaganda. Please send a title and very brief summary of a 20-minute paper – no later than 1 February 2015 – to: Bob Owens (firstname.lastname@example.org) and David Walker (email@example.com).
You can download the flier and the registration details here.
We can gain a remarkable insight into the use of Bunyan’s works thanks to a copy of the 1692 folio that has just been donated to the Angus Library and Archive, Regent’s Park College, Oxford, by the Faringdon Baptist Church, in Berkshire.
While working in that Library, I was astonished to be shown what I believe is the only chained copy of the folio in existence. A portion of the rusty chain is still attached to the book, and a fly-leaf note, bearing the name of Philip Farmer, describes how the book was to be used in its original home :
This book was given by Phillip ffarmer to the Church of Christ meeting at their meeting house in Westbrook at ffaringdon, Constituted of such only as are baptized upon profession of their faith; to abide fixed in their meeting house for the use of all such whether members or hearers as shall resort thither at convinient seasons to read in it or hear any part of it read; Never to be moved from their present meeting house so long as they or their succcessours of the same faith and order shall possess and use the same for their meeting house; and if ever that church so constituted shall remove to another meeting place or be [letters deleted] divided, it is the will of the donor that the greatest number of such members as afores[ai]d that shall hold together shall possess and enjoy this book for common use as aforesaid This is declared by the donor the first day of ffebruary anno dom[in]j 1711
Witness. Tho: Langley
This is a unique document, describing how the Bunyan folio was to be permanently kept in the meeting house, for all those wishing to read it, or be read to from it, when stepping into the building. The volume does not possess the frontispiece, the list of subscribers, or the index dedication.
A 19th-century loose sheet inserted in the volume, simply entitled ‘Baptist Church, Faringdon,’ reveals the full contents of a second fly-leaf, which is unfortunately torn. The text runs: ‘A book of Bunyan’s works, originally presented to the Church in the year 1711, by Philip Farmer, and removed by Thomas Mace to prevent it being stolen in the year 1761, was restored by Mr. J. Broad, of Reading, May 21st 1888, particulars of each circumstances being written on the fly-lead of the book, now chained to [an] antique oak lectern in its original position in the Chapel’.
The Angus Library and Archive now possesses three copies of the folio, whose editorial history might still yield some surprises. For those unfamiliar with their wonderful records, see their website, http://theangus.rpc.ox.ac.uk
With many thanks to Emma Walsh and Emily Burgoyne.
Following my July post on the difficulty of finding a nice header for this new website, and after many attempts ranging from photographs of rural chapels to manuscript records, we have finally settled on the above and some readers have since asked that we identify the characters. From left to right are, an ‘Ante Scripturian’, a ‘Soule Sleeper’, an ‘Anabaptist’, a ‘Familist’, a ‘Seeker’ and… a ‘Divorcer’, beating his wife.
As you might have recognized, this is the cropped top tier of vignettes from the title-page of the 1647 broadside A Catalogue of the severall Sects and Opinions in England and other Nations With a briefe Rehearsall of their false and dangerous Tenents in the Thomason Collection, BL 669.f.10 .
The first tier has a “Jesuit”, “One Evins a Welch-man (Arise Evans), an “Arminian”, an “Arian”, an “Adamite” and a “Libertin” breaking the tables of the Law, in the same aggressive posture as the Divorcer below him.
The purpose of this edition (currently in preparation, and forthcoming from Oxford University Press in 2015) is to provide literary scholars and historians, as well as students and general readers, with a scholarly yet accessible annotated edition of A Booke Containing a Record of the Acts of a Congregation of Christ in and about Bedford: the manuscript record of the Bedford congregation’s life during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.
Who the congregation’s members were, how they were received and disciplined, how they survived strife and harassment, and what defined their ecclesiological principles and practices are all revealed in fascinating detail by this remarkable document. This edition will include the Church Book’s record of meetings from 1656, when they begin to be noted, to 1710, when an off-shoot congregation was formed out of the Bedford church and established – on good terms – at Gamlingay, Cambridgeshire. During this period, John Bunyan famously served as the congregation’s preacher and pastor, witnessing significant crises and developments both within the Bedford church and for Restoration Nonconformity more generally.
Registration for the 7th Triennal Conference of the International John Bunyan Society (12-16 August 2013) will close on 31 July 2013. The theme this year is ‘John Bunyan : Conscience, History and Justice’ and Nigel Smith is hosting it in Princeton.
The exciting programme includes over 30 papers and plenaries by N. H. Keeble (Stirling), Laura Knoppers (Penn. State), Paul C. H. Lim (Vanderbilt) and Cynthia Wall (Virginia).
Click here for the provisional programme and visit the website of IJBS for more details.
A research blog on the history, literature and culture of early-modern religious nonconformity in Britain (1500–1800)