Reassessing the Dramatic Monologue in the 19th and 20th centuries: Browning, Before, Beyond.

Reassessing the Dramatic Monologue in the 19th and 20th centuries: Browning, Before, Beyond.
Royal Holloway, University of London 28-30 June 2012

Organised by the Browning Society in collaboration with Royal Holloway, University of London, the University of Westminster and the University of the West of England. Supported by the British Association of Victorian Studies (BAVS).

Confirmed Keynote Speakers:

Isobel Armstrong
Daniel Karlin
Tricia Lootens
Cornelia Pearsall

Over the past two centuries, Robert Browning has been hailed initially as the co-inventor of the dramatic monologue, and more recently, as earlier origins of the genre have been proposed, as its most prominent practitioner. To celebrate the Bicentenary of Browning’s birth, the Browning Society is hosting an international conference to reassess not only Browning’s work in what is arguably the defining genre of his oeuvre, but also the broader practice and theory of the dramatic monologue before, after and during his lifetime.

The conference remit of Browning, Before and Beyond proposes, in the first instance, to discuss the dramatic monologue in relation to Browning and other Victorian practitioners of the genre. The conference seeks to explore the reasons behind the rise of the genre during the Victorian era and the extent to which its formal and generic concerns with issues of performativity and spectacle, identity and subjectivity, text and truth – Browning introduced his Dramatic Lyrics of 1842 as ‘so many utterances of so many imaginary persons, not mine’ – are illustrative of key concerns of the Victorian age.

Further, the conference hopes to extend critical discussion of the growth, profile, and generic nature of the dramatic monologue. The organisers welcome papers on pre-and post-Victorian poets and poems as a means of exploring the historical limits and reaches of the genre. Similarly, papers that explore the generic and disciplinary reaches of the form – its associations with drama, or connections to the Romantic lyric mode, for example – are warmly encouraged.

20-minute papers are invited on any topic relating to the dramatic monologue. Submissions may include, but are not restricted to:

· new approaches to defining the dramatic monologue and its significance
· reassessments of established approaches to the genre
· the origins/ predecessors of the genre
· Victorian variants of the genre
· issues of subjectivity and selfhood
· Post-Romanticism and the dramatic monologue
· the dramatic monologue and gender
· the genre’s relation to history
· hybrid versions of the genre
· twentieth-century and twenty-first century uses of the genre
· the dramatic monologue and performance poetry

Conference organizers: Dr Simon Avery, Dr Vicky Greenaway, Dr Britta Martens. Please submit 300-word abstracts to s.avery@westminster.ac.uk<mailto:s.avery@westminster.ac.uk> by 31 January 2012.

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