Passionate Politicians: Parliament, Print and Theatre in the Age of Sheridan and Austen – deadline 6 January 2018

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Date / time
Date(s) - 15 March - 16 March
All day

Bath’s Royal Scientific and Literary Society


Keynote Speaker: Professor Elaine Chalus, University of Liverpool

Georgian Bath was a meeting place, a place for recreation and, sometimes, contestation. Politicians retreated to the city to recover from misfortune and to plan their restoration, as did generals, admirals, and members of the beau monde. Bath was also the launching pad for successful careers, none more spectacular than that of Richard Brinsley Sheridan (1751-1816), playwright and politician. Sheridan fought duels in the city, published his first satires in the Bath Chronicle, and set his first comedy, The Rivals, amongst its parades. Sheridan became a major political figure as a leading member of the Foxite Whigs – and was arguably one of the greatest speakers the House of Commons has seen. During the last years of his life Sheridan was an avid reader of Jane Austen, perhaps recognising in her works some strain of his own earlier efforts. Austen certainly exploited the same Bath locations that Sheridan had used and would have recognised. These connections make Bath a particularly fitting location for a conference which aims to examine the literary, political and theatrical world of the late eighteenth century.

Our conference aims to place Sheridan’s career and that of his contemporaries in its broader cultural, social and literary context (as part of the activities of the Leverhulme funded @sheridanproject). We hope to illuminate a wide range of Sheridan’s associations, including: his literary and theatrical worlds; his political and oratorical contributions, some of which had a powerful emotional dimension; his intimate relationship with the media, and his role as one of the ‘celebrities’ of the Georgian era. Papers are welcome on both Sheridan and other aspects of his intellectual and cultural milieu – including those individuals that featured in his political, literary and social orbit, but we would be particularly keen to receive proposals on any of the following:

  • The Georgian MediaWomen and Political Life
  • Bath, London, and the Urban World
  • Political Careers and the Culture of Celebrity
  • Empire and Ireland
  • Sociability and Associational Culture
  • Sheridan, Austen, and Georgian Satire

Proposals for 20 minute papers (c.250 words) should be sent to Martyn Powell at or Robert Jones at by 6 January 2018.