CfP: George Meredith and His Circle: Intellectual Communities and Literary Networks Bishop Grosseteste University 24th & 25th July 2015

Organised by Dr Claudia Capancioni and Dr Alice Crossley

meredithconference@bishopg.ac.uk

Keynote Speaker: Professor Sally Shuttleworth, University of Oxford

This will be the first international conference on George Meredith’s work and critical reputation, and therefore a landmark event in Meredith studies. The conference also highlights debates about the circulation and exchange of ideas between Meredith and his contemporaries, encompassing the wider resonances of legacy and literary community in the circulation of ideas in the second half of the long nineteenth century.

The conference will firstly bring together both established and emerging scholars working on Meredith, and will therefore provide a forum for critical discussion of his work and his place in the literary history of both the Victorian and Modern periods. While his work has not been popularly embraced, he still remains consistently at the forefront of nineteenth century literary studies, albeit as an author and poet who has received inadequately sustained critical attention.

Secondly, expanding on this close focus on various aspects of his work, the conference will consider more broadly Meredith’s position at the centre of a wider network of nineteenth-century connections with and intersections between other prominent figures of his day, on both professional and personal levels. Meredith’s longevity and literary reputation made for prolific associations with other public figures, so that throughout his life Meredith generated a wide circle of acquaintance, many of whom made a productive impact on his work and vice versa.

As a part of the conference, delegates will be able to visit the archives of the Tennyson Research Centre in Lincoln. Collections Access Officer Grace Timmins will be curating a mini-exhibition specifically for the event. The conference organisers aim to provide a limited number of bursaries for postgraduates and early career researchers to assist with their attendance at the conference.

We are inviting papers of 20 minutes, and topics might include (but are not limited to):

  • Meredith and influence: James Joyce, Henry James, Virginia Woolf, E. M. Forster, Siegfried Sassoon, and others.
  • Legacy and critical reception: the history and development of Meredith scholarship.
  • Meredith and celebrity culture: literary reputation and recognition/(un)popularity.
  • Meredith and publishing: authorship, peer/publisher reviewing, and his role as literary mentor.
  • Meredith and the archive: correspondence, publication history, manuscript revision, book collection, marginalia.
  • Meredith and politics: journalism, the Risorgimento, the Boer war, anti-fascism, and National/European politics.
  • Meredith’s intellectual networks and peers: Thomas Hardy, Alfred Tennyson, Leslie Stephen, D. G. and W. M. Rossetti, A. C. Swinburne, Olive Schreiner, Thomas Love Peacock, George Eliot, G. H. Lewes, Lucie Duff Gordon, Janet Ross, Caroline Norton,  Robert Louis Stevenson, George Gissing, J. M. Barrie, W. T. Stead, Mark Twain, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and others.
  • Meredith and prose: genre, narratology, aphorism, the bildungsroman, the psychological novel and stream of consciousness, storytelling, comedy, dialogism, intertextuality and other aspects.
  • Meredith and poetry.
  • Meredith the Victorian and/or Meredith the Modernist.
  • Meredith and contemporary debates: age and education, medicine and science, class and gender, ethnicity and the environment.
  • Meredith and sexuality: fictional masculinity, queer criticism and feminist readings.
  • Meredith and travel: war correspondence, cosmopolitanism, foreign journeys, walking, topographical space and location
  •  Meredith biography: Meredith as father/husband/friend/neighbour, notorious personal life, anecdote and hearsay, ancestry and inheritance.

Please submit abstracts of up to 300 words to meredithconference@bishopg.ac.uk, together with a brief paragraph of relevant biographical information. The deadline for abstracts is 15th March 2015. Please contact Dr Claudia Capancioni and Dr Alice Crossley for further information.

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