CALL FOR PAPERS JOYCEAN LITERATURE:FICTION AND POETRY 1910-2010 June 13-14, 2011 School of Advanced Studies,

Institute of English Studies, University of London,
Senate House

Plenary Speakers: 
Professor Derek Attridge (York) 

and Coffin Memorial Lecturer,

Professor Michael Wood (Princeton)

James Joyce’s influence on literature has been enormous. This conference will examine Joyce’s complex international impact on fiction, long or short, and on poetry. The field remains under-explored. Valuable studies have appeared: either following the links between Joyce and individual authors (Beckett most obviously) or asking about Joyce’s example for the twentieth-century avant-garde. In Irish Studies, too, a strong sense has obtained of Joyce as challenge and example. But much productive work remains to be done to bring these strands together, to broaden the range of influences considered, and to ask critical questions about the nature of influence and legacy. We want to consider Joyce as model, shadow, inspiration, irritation or obstacle for a roster of writers like the following: Amis-Auden-Ballard-Banville-Beckett-Borges-Bowen-Brooke-Rose-Burgess-Burroughs -Carter-Carver-Coe-Coetzee-DeLillo-PKDick-TSEliot-Foster-Wallace-Heaney-Huxley-BSJohnson-Kundera-Lawrence-Lowry-MacDiarmid-McGahern-EO’Brien-FO’Brien-Orwell-Nabokov-Pamuk-Perec-Pinter-Prynne-Pynchon-Raine-Rushdie-SinclairSpender-Stoppard-Thorpe-Toibin-Updike-Walcott-AntoniaWhite-PatrickWhite-Winterson-Woolf-Zweig
This two-day conference will address these and other questions through particular studiesor broader enquiries. The conference will feature some forty papers alongside prestigious plenary speakers, chosen from the most dynamic critics and writers at work today.Please send proposals of up to 300 words, for 20-minute papers, to both

Joe Brooker (


Finn Fordham (

by James Joyce’s 129th birthday, 2 February 2011

General Enquiries: Jon Millington, Events Officer, Institute of English Studies, Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU; tel +44 (0) 207 664 4859; Email

Further info:

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Figuring the Past: the Literary and Historical Imagination

3-5 March 2010

The difference between historian and poet is, according to Aristotle, that the one describes the thing that has been, and the other a kind of thing that might be. He sees a clear and evident distinction between a historian, who describes events and a writer, who invents them. This distinction has been the subject of debate over the last few decades with some calling it into question and others looking more closely at the relationship between the two. The debate has moreover taken place in the midst of rapid and radical changes brought on by the forces of globalisation eroding the national frameworks within which literature and history have for so long been viewed. In the field of history this has driven efforts to evolve transnational or global perspectives and to questions about the colonial and imperialist dimensions of much of modern history. In literary studies this has fuelled the revisiting of canonical texts to see how they are embedded in and reflect these dimensions and their impact on the emergence of genres, literary movements, narrative practices. A further aspect of these new ways of seeing is the increasingly interdisciplinary practice of cultural history, the turn to questions of cultural memory, and the focus on popular culture and popular fiction to provide insights into the mentalities and anxieties of past ages.

The contemporary boom of the historical novel, a literary genre that embodies the complex interdependence of history and literature, underscores the relevance of the debate. Initially emerging as a vehicle for popularizing national histories, the historical novel appears today to reflect a very different sense of the world. Its protagonists seem to be increasingly drawn from the margins of society, from the subaltern classes. In place of (his)story, we often have (her)story. And it seems to be less concerned with constructing a singular identity than with questioning this idea. Are these observations generally valid? And why this resort to history in times that exhort us daily to forget the past and focus on the future?

Even as we reflect on the ways in which history and literature figure the past, our concerns are with the present, and with its no less compelling conflicts and crises. We invite papers that explore the interactions of history and literature in the light of these concerns. Papers focusing on other artistic forms, on film or on related debates in other disciplines are also welcome.

[Deadline for submission of abstracts (200-300 words):
15 January 2011]

Contact name: Shaswati Mazumdar





An academic conference

Chetham’s Library, Manchester,

 28th-29th January, 2011

For more details contact James Smith and Joel Swann at:


Call for papers

During the restoration and eighteenth century, the civil war period was consistently represented as a traumatic break in the history of England and the British Isles, separating the institutionally and culturally modern Augustans from either the primitiveness or idealised simplicity of the earlier epoch. Today, much academic practice silently repeats the period’s self-representation as a century divided between pre and post civil war cultures, whether in research, job descriptions or in undergraduate survey courses. Among the effects of this division of labour is a tendency for the earlier ‘Renaissance’ decades to be privileged over the restoration, which is frequently treated as a poor relation to the eighteenth century.

This conference provides a forum for researchers in all disciplines whose work spans all or any part of the long seventeenth century. As our titular quotations from Clarendon’s History of the Rebellion and Swift’s sermon ‘On the Martyrdom of King Charles I’ suggest, we also encourage papers on subsequent imaginings of the period that have contributed to or contested the ways in which it is read today. Concerns include but are not limited to:

  • The comparative study of seventeenth-century writing, sciences, visual arts and music before, during and after the civil war period; their material and intellectual dissemination; their relationship to ideas of what constitutes the early modern and the restoration.
  • Constructions of the seventeenth century from the restoration to the present; representations in literature, art, history and film; the cultural influence of the seventeenth century on subsequent periods.
  • The role critical theory can play in our reading of the period and/or narratives of the long seventeenth century from within literary criticism and critical theory; e.g. Leavis and Eliot on the Metaphysical poets, Walter Benjamin on the baroque, Foucault on madness, Habermas on the public sphere.
  • The study of non-canonical and marginalized texts and materials, and nationally comparative readings of the period.
  • The representation and reception of pre-seventeenth-century culture during the seventeenth century; the place of the past in the period’s self-representations.

Confirmed speakers include:
Rosanna Cox (Kent), Jeremy Gregory (Manchester), Helen Pierce (York), George Southcombe (Oxford), Jeremy Tambling (Manchester), Edward Vallance (Roehampton)

Please send abstracts of 300-500 words to James Smith (Manchester) and Joel Swann (Keele) by 15th October 2010, at Proposals from students are particularly welcomed, for whom attendance will be subsidized thanks to the generous support of the Society for Renaissance Studies.



Dates:   14 to 16 October 2011
Venue: University of Toronto, Canada


Contact name: Emily Kasak

The conference explores the current role and future possibilities of the book, welcoming academics and practitioners from many areas, including publishing, librarianship, printing, education, literacy studies, and information technology.

Organized by: Common Ground Publishing

Check the website for full details


Decadent Poetics
Centre for Victorian Studies,  University of Exeter, UK  –  1-2 July 2011
Deadline for proposals: 10 November 2010

Keynote speakers: Stephen Arata (Virginia), Joseph Bristow (UCLA),  Regenia Gagnier (Exeter), Catherine Maxwell (Queen Mary, London)
The initial reception of ‘decadent’ writing in both France and England was characterized by a focus on form and the importance of the poets of the late Roman Empire. From Theophile Gautier’s Preface to the 1868 edition of Baudelaire’s Les Fleurs du Mal to Arthur Symons’s ‘The Decadent Movement in Literature’ and Paul Borget’s famous delineation of decadent writing attempts to articulate a ‘decadent poetics’ were central to the definition of this new literature. Yet in recent years our understanding of decadence has been occluded by the focus on cultural politics and sexual transgression, which continue to dominate academic criticism of the fin de siècle. This conference seeks to return to the Victorian interest in language, poetics and form as the key to understanding decadence and aestheticism as literary phenomena. The focus here will be on both poetry and prose of the period and we particularly encourage those interested in marginal and forgotten writers of the period, along with the debates on the relationship between poetics and a culture in decline. In an attempt to outline a decadent poetics, we also seek to expand and complicate the canon of ‘’ecadent’ writers who dominate prevailing versions of the Victorian fin de siècle.

Possible topics include, but are not limited to:

– education and language;
– Victorians and Roman literature;
– Decadent prosody;
– Decadent and Modernist poetics;
– Aestheticist poetics;
– transatlantic Decadence;
– fin-de-siècle philology/linguistics;
– politics of Decadence and Aestheticism;
– satires of Decadent form;
– print/visual cultures of Decadence;
– Decadence and new technologies;
– genetic readings of Decadence;
– archival Decadence;
– material Decadence

Abstracts of 300-500 words should be sent to Dr Alex Murray and Dr Jason Hall via email at <> by 10 November 2010.

Proposals for panels (comprising three speakers) are also welcome — please submit the title and a brief description of the panel as well as abstracts for the individual papers. Speakers (whether part of a proposed panel or not) are asked to include a one-page CV with full contact details, institutional affiliation (where applicable) and a list of relevant publications.

Please bear in mind that final papers should take between 15 and 20 minutes (maximum) to deliver.


An Historiographical Analysis of Small Presses Publishing American Avant-Garde Poetry and Poetics between 1970-2000
A Research Project funded by the Spanish Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación
Home Page Links People Publications
                • Université du Maine, Le Mans, France
                  14-16 October 2010
        • “Poets and Publishers : Circulating Avant-Garde Poetry (1945-2010)”

Call for Papers

In the second half of the 20th century and the first decade of the 21st, the material conditions of avant-garde poetry’s circulation have come to the attention of critics. With the development of reader-response theory, research about the poets’ ways of informing the larger public of their experiments has come to encompass technical considerations, economic, social and political preoccupations. Small presses–not the vanity presses of former times–thus became the laboratories of the publishing world, picking up on the latest avant-garde movements.

How do these publishers, and the poets who entrust their works to them, contribute to poetic innovation in a publishing context marked by commercial decline of the book and the poem alike? To what extent do small presses convey aesthetic initiatives that would otherwise remain “readerless”? Could one talk, along with American poet Barrett Watten of a “systemic de-totalization” bringing about new configurations of the poetic landscape into networks and archipelagoes?

We are inviting papers that will risk answers to these questions in the context of a wider reflection on the publishing world, its margins and its objects, notably poetic texts inspired and shaped by the recent advances of sociology, philosophy and cultural studies. The aim is a global assessment of the circulation of avant-garde poetry.

300-word proposals in either English, French or Spanish to Hélène AJI (Université du Maine, France, and Manuel BRITO (Universidad de La Laguna, Canaries, Espagne, by 31 March 2010.

11th International Connotations Symposium

Poetic Economy: Ellipsis and Redundancy in Literature

Eberhard Karls Universitaet Tuebingen

July 31 – August 4, 2011

Call for Papers

What is it that distinguishes poetic language from ordinary kinds of utterance? We probably wouldn’t listen to poets if they weren’t any better at using language than we are. But then poets have always striven to speak the “real language of man,” or, as T. S. Eliot put it, “Every revolution in poetry is apt to be […] a return to common speech.” Accordingly, we wouldn’t listen to poets either (at least poets seem to think so) if they wouldn’t use language the way we do. In the history of poetics, the question of poetic language has frequently been addressed in what one might call economic terms. Sir Philip Sidney points out that the (musical) nature of verse demands “the words […] being so set as one cannot be lost, but the whole woorke failes,” which implies not only that there is, ideally, one right way of choosing and placing words but also that there is a right number: too many or too few words would destroy the work. This seems plausible and may provide an answer to our initial question: whereas most of us need too many or use too few words to make a point, poets get the number exactly right. But in practice, things aren’t perhaps quite so obvious. For what about the fact that poetry (and other forms of literature) is frequently elliptical? Only think of Emily Dickinson’s fragmentary syntax, which often lacks the function words that might establish a coherent utterance. And what about the notion that literary art deletes, condenses and compresses elements of language, that Dichtung is Verdichtung (as Kafka and others put it)? But there is also the contrasting notion that literature, and poetry in particular, is marked by an excess, superfluity and redundancy of words and other elements of language. There are not only baroque ideals of style with their emphasis on copia verborum, there is also Keats’s dictum that poetry “should surprise by a fine excess,” or there is the notion held in pragmatics that the effect of an utterance which is not primarily due to the proposition put forward but to a wealth of “weak implicatures” (such as attitudes, feelings and states of mind) should be called poetic.

One way of resolving these apparent contradictions would be to consider the question of “too little” or “too much” not in absolute but in relative terms. An aphorism may have too many words and a Victorian novel may lack the very words needed for a reader to regard it as a success. But this leaves us with the tricky question of decorum: what is the idea or purpose to which a particular number of words is appropriate and by which we measure the verbal economy of a literary work of art?

The venue will be a beautifully situated hotel in the Black Forest (near Freudenstadt), which is partly owned by Tuebingen University (see

As the emphasis of the Connotations symposia is on critical debate, talks will be 30 minutes, leaving another 30 minutes for discussion.

Please send your proposal by October 1, 2010 to symposium2011(at)