CFP Extended: Writing Lives Together: Romantic and Victorian Biography



Keynote speakers:

Prof. David Amigoni (Keele),  ‘Writing Lives Together in the Darwin family, 1804-1876: gender, heredity and authority’

Dr. Daisy Hay (Exeter), ‘Adventures of an Unromantic Biographer’


Recent biographical criticism and biographies of the Romantics and Victorians have moved away from a focus on the single life to encompass different creative relationships: the friendship circle; the literary family; the local or religious community. In so doing they are returning to the practices of Romantic and Victorian biographers who often ‘wrote Lives together’, both in the sense of focusing on multiple subjects and in adopting collaborative modes of authorship. Our conference will reflect on these and other kinds of ‘writing together’, in Romantic and Victorian life-writing – for instance how life-writing might bring together Romantic and Victorian subjects/authors; or different disciplines, materials or media.

We welcome proposals on any aspect of Romantic and/or Victorian life-writing. Topics may include but are not limited to:

  • Collaborative authorship in Romantic and/or Victorian life-writing
  • Family circles as writers and/or subjects of biography/letters
  • (Married) couples/ siblings/friends and life-writing
  • Cross-generational life-writing (parents, children, descendants)
  • Religious/local communities as writers and/or subjects of life-writing
  • The tensions of togetherness in life-writing
  • Collaborative authorship/multiple subjects
  • Formal experimentation in, or different forms of, life-writing
  • The politics of writing lives together
  • Victorian Lives of the Romantics
  • Romantic and/or Victorian life-writing and intertextuality/interdisciplinarity/intermediality
  • Cross-disciplinary life-writing, eg. the interface between literature and science, or literature and the arts

We are delighted to announce that we will be including a selection of papers from the conference in a special issue of the journal Life Writing to appear in 2016. 

Papers will be of 20 minutes duration. We also hope to hold a postgraduate poster event. Posters will be displayed in the foyer and there will be an opportunity for you to present your research informally with reference to your poster, and to make it available online after the event. If you would prefer to present your work in the form of a poster, please indicate this in your abstract. (There is more information on creating a postgraduate research posterhere.)  You will find two examples by Leicester PhD candidates, Katie Heathman and Kristan Tetens, here. If you send your powerpoint slide to us via email we will print and display your poster and cover the cost.

We anticipate that the registration fee will be approximately £35 (including lunch). Details to be confirmed when registration opens later in the year. Due to the generous support of the British Association for Victorian Studies (BAVS) and the British Association for Romantic Studies (BARS), we are able to offer six conference fee waivers for postgraduate students or postdoctoral/unwaged researchers. Priority will be given to those who send proposals for papers by the deadline (NOW EXTENDED: 24th April 2015), and whose proposals are accepted.

Please send  your abstract of no more than 250 words by e-mail to Dr. Julian North and Dr. Felicity James no later than 24 April 2015.  You will be informed by 30 April 2015 whether your paper or poster has been accepted.


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