Jen Davis

Jen Davis

Coleridgean Eliot

I’m in the fifth year of part-time research for my doctoral thesis. My research project focuses on allusions to Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s poetry in the work of George Eliot. It develops a methodology for reading Eliot’s allusions to Coleridge, and presents a case for reading Eliot through a Coleridgean lens. My thesis is that a Coleridgean presence is demonstrable in Eliot’s work at a textual level, and that this presence is supported by thematic preoccupations in both writers’ work. Further similarities in each author’s hypothetical and procedural approaches to their writing are identified and explored. In the context of readings of convergences in Coleridge and Eliot, divergences and their effects are also interrogated. The development of Coleridgean elements in Eliot’s work is analysed, as are the disruptive effects of Eliot’s adoption of these elements.

My thesis examines Coleridgean allusions thematically, commencing with Eliot’s presentation of childhood experience and iterations of the self, and continuing with chapters on other/othered characters, presentations of organicism, uses of metaphor and symbolic language, and narrative techniques and authority.

Public engagement

Conference papers:

‘The ghost of ‘Christabel’: haunting allusions in later works’, Friends of Coleridge Study Weekend, Halsway Manor, September 2016.

‘‘Then all the charm is broken’: Coleridgean allusion in George Eliot’, Authorship and Appropriation Conference, University of Dundee, April 2016.

‘Intertext: negotiating the space between Coleridge and Eliot’, English Departmental Postgraduate Research Afternoon, University of Chester, November 2015.

‘George Eliot's Dresses’, Dressing and Undressing the Victorians Conference, Univeristy of Chester, March 2015.

‘‘Witchery by Daylight: ‘Christabel’ and Daniel Deronda’, North West Long Nineteenth Century Seminar Series, Manchester Metropolitan University, November 2014.

‘‘Witchery by Daylight’: ‘Christabel’ Unbound’, joint paper with Dr Sally West, Biennial Coleridge Conference, Cannington College, Somerset, August 2014.

‘The Uses of Silence: Solitude, Society, and Morality in Coleridge and Eliot’, Romantic Lacunae: Silences, Gaps, & Empty Spaces, Queen's University, Belfast, August 2013.

‘‘From Foulness Afar’: The Uncanny Woman in Samuel Taylor Coleridge's ‘Christabel’ and George Eliot's Daniel Deronda’, Faculty of Humanities Postgraduate Symposium, University of Chester, May 2013.

'Symbolic Gestures: Narrative, Community, and Subjectivity in Coleridge's 'Ancient Mariner' and George Eliot's Silas Marner, Gladstone Colloquium, Gladstone's Centre, Hawarden, November 2012.

'The Sole Unquiet Thing': Materialising Coleridge In The Work of George Eliot', Gladstone Colloquium, Gladstone's Centre, Hawarden, November 2011.

'Sweet Afton: a Thing Theory Reading of Class-Inflected Objects in the Early Work of Angela Carter', Spectres of Class Conference, University of Chester, July 2011.

Published work:

‘‘Witchery by Daylight’: ‘Christabel’ Unbound’, with Dr Sally West, Coleridge Bulletin, Winter 2014.

Silas Marner: George Eliot's Most Coleridgean Work?’ The George Eliot Review, 2015.

Jen was awarded the 2015 George Eliot Fellowship's Annual Essay Prize for her essay, Silas Marner: George Eliot's Most Coleridgean Work?’