Romantic Realignments is one of the longest-running research seminars in Oxford.

Past speakers have included Marilyn Butler, Gerard Carruthers, David Chandler, Heather Glen, Paul Muldoon, Philip Shaw, Fiona Stafford and Peter Swaab, to name but a few.

All are very welcome to submit an abstract — we aim to provide a friendly 'workshop' setting in which speakers can try out new papers as well as more finished pieces, and in which lively discussion can flourish.

Held on Thursdays at 5.15pm, Seminar Room A, St Cross (English Faculty) Building.

If you would like to send us an abstract or suggest a speaker, please contact the current convenors Katherine Fender, Sarah Goode and Honor Rieley at:


Week 3 – 'The Antiquarian Collections and Fictions of Horace Walpole and Walter Scott'

Lucy Linforth, University of Edinburgh

We're very happy to have Lucy Linforth with us this week, all the way from Edinburgh! She's going to be speaking about antiquarian objects and the important role they play in the writings of Scott and Walpole.


This paper explores the antiquarian collections held by Walpole and Scott at Strawberry Hill and Abbotsford House respectively, examining their historical and material significance upon the works of both authors. My paper will explore how the object of and objects in these collections might find resonance and representation within the pages of Walpole and Scott’s fictional works.
     In my discussion of Walpole, I will follow the recent example of scholar James Lilley, who has suggested that the collection at Strawberry Hill offers an insight into Walpole’s philosophy of both antiquarianism (‘uniquity’), and of the eighteenth-century narrative of history. Furthermore, I would also suggest that the significance of the antiquarian object in Walpole’s novel The Castle of Otranto (1764) has hitherto been underestimated, and therefore I begin to explore this importance in my paper. Turning to Scott’s fiction, I would suggest that several of his fictional works spring directly from items he collected and displayed at Abbotsford; I hope to demonstrate this using examples from the Abbotsford collection. I will also suggest that Scott too, like Walpole before him, laid great significance upon the presence of the antiquarian object in his fictions, which even acts occasionally as narrative agent.  

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