The British Modernities Group was established in 2005 at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to spur critical discussion in British studies across period boundaries. It discusses recent scholarship, workshops group members’ original work, and organizes an annual graduate student conference. Each semester, the BMG explores wide-ranging critical topics, including transatlanticism, modernity, embodiment, and imperialism. As a student-run group, we strive to create an informal setting in which faculty and graduate students can meet and share information.
Our 2014-15 theme, Bad Books, explores critical work on the continuing impact of “low-brow,” pulp, and genre literature. In our monthly meetings we will discuss topics such as production practices, literary “borrowing,” and theories of aesthetic valuation in an attempt to reevaluate the significance of so-called “bad” books. We will kick-off the 2014-15 year by reading Bram Stoker’s The Lair of the White Worm (1911).