Swinburne: A Centenary Conference

Proposals for papers are invited for a conference marking the hundredth anniversary of Swinburne’s death. ‘Swinburne: A Centenary Conference’ will take place in the Institute of English Studies, Senate House (London) on Friday 10th and Saturday 11th of July, 2009.

Algernon Charles Swinburne (1837-1909), poet, dramatist, novelist and critic, was late Victorian England’s unofficial Poet Laureate, admired by his contemporaries for his technical brilliance, his facility with classical and medieval forms, and his courage in expressing his sensual, erotic imagination. Immensely important in his own day, Swinburne was critically neglected for a large part of the twentieth century, but his reputation has continued to rise steadily since the 1960s. There has been, however, no conference on his life and work since 1985. This international centenary conference aims to reclaim Swinburne’s position as the pre-eminent late nineteenth-century poet, to draw attention to the breadth and diversity of his oeuvre, to re-evaluate his considerable achievements, and to assess his impact on those who came after. It will benefit from current critical work on aestheticism, the arts, gender and sexuality in the Victorian period, as well as recent scholarship that exposes the indebtedness of the modernists to their derided Victorian predecessors. In addition to the three distinguished plenary speakers – Jerome McGann, Terry Meyers, and Yopie Prins – the conference aims to attract both those with specialist interests in Swinburne and those keen to extend their knowledge of one of the most exciting literary figures of the Victorian age. It also aims to stimulate further academic scholarship on Swinburne, with the specific intention of producing an edited collection of the best papers resulting from the conference. The conference is also timed to allow delegates to attend the joint BAVS/NAVSA conference 13-15 July 2009, Churchill College, Cambridge.

The organizers
Stefano Evangelista (Trinity, Oxford),
Catherine Maxwell (Queen Mary, London),
Patricia Pulham (Portsmouth) – welcome papers on all aspects of Swinburne’s life and works (poetry, essays, dramas and novels), but are keen to receive proposals relating to writing produced after 1866.

Possible subject areas include

Swinburne and Classicism
Swinburne and Medievalism
Swinburne and the Arts (painting, music, sculpture)
Swinburne and Aestheticism/Decadence
Swinburne and Modernism
Swinburne and France/Italy
Swinburne and Politics
Swinburne and his Influences
Swinburne and his Contemporaries
Swinburne and his Successors
Swinburne, Gender, and Sexuality
Swinburne and the Body/Senses
Swinburne, Style, Form, and/or Metre
Swinburne and Controversy
Swinburne’s Reception
Please email proposals (500 words maximum) to all three organizers at the following addresses, stating your academic institution and status (if applicable), by 28 February 2009.