March Reading Group

Due to unforeseen circumstances, this session has been cancelled.


Join us on Weds 27th of March for ‘Sinisterity: experiments in art writing, commercial and canonical’. 

Wednesday 27th March 2019, 5.30-7pm, Nottingham Trent University, NEWN41, Newton Building, City Campus

In this reading group session, Bethan Stevens (University of Sussex) will start a conversation about forms of art writing associated with different artistic media. In particular, we will think about how writing engages with commercial art (especially 19th-century wood engraving). We will look at the practical poetics of an industrial printer, Theodore deVinne, and at John Ruskin’s concept of ‘sinisterity’ in the image-making process. What sorts of artworks do we choose to linger on in writing, and how fully (over a whole book, for example, following T. J. Clark)? How do writers make use of provisional forms such as journal entries or lectures? What are the relationships between art writing and canon formation? There will be a writing exercise as part of this discussion.

Bethan Stevens is a senior lecturer in English and Creative & Critical Writing at the University of Sussex. She researches word-image relations in the long nineteenth century, and is collaborating with the British Museum on a project on an archive of wood engravings by the Brothers Dalziel. Her latest creative-critical essays include ‘News from the Thames (Blake! There’s something in the Water)’ <> and ‘Wood Engraving as Ghostwriting’ <>


To confirm attendance and receive reading materials, please email