Kristin Bluemel, Ph.D., professor of English and Wayne D. McMurray Endowed Chair in the Humanities, is an invited speaker at a conference in Newcastle, England on “New Lives, New Landscapes: Rural Modernism in 20th-Century Britain” sponsored by the British Academy and Northumbria University.
The only American and only English professor invited to speak at the event, Bluemel will be presenting a paper entitled “Modern Impressions: Print Culture, Rural Change, and the 1930s Wood Engraving Revival.” Focusing on book illustration and its impact on tourism and development in interwar Britain, she will discuss her research on a 20th-century Scottish artist and illustrator, Agnes Miller Parker, and the famous 18th-century Newcastle wood engraver, Thomas Bewick, who inspired Parker.
“Wood engravings by Agnes Miller Parker turned her illustrated books of scenes from rural England into bestsellers and fueled a cult of the countryside in Depression-era Britain,” said Bluemel. “Bewick, the inspiration for Agnes Miller Parker’s art and the 1930s wood engraving revival in Britain, revolutionized book illustration, children’s reading, and natural history with publication of his wood engravings in books on British land and water birds, published over 200 years ago.”
The “New Lives, New Landscapes” conference takes place Aug. 1-2. It aims to consider how 20th-century rural landscapes became modern or modernist and what this meant for how the countryside and rural life was understood and experienced.