On 12th December 2015, the Department of English at KCL will host an international conference themed around strange collaborations and unexpected patterns of literary influence at the turn of the century. This was a fluid and formative era, when disparate writers were brought together by common interests or provisional groupings, even if aesthetic or political questions were to drive them apart in subsequent decades. A particular focus will be interlinked social circles within fin-de-siècle London, and the present need to complicate and blur categoric labels such as ‘aesthetic’, ‘decadent’ and ‘imperialist’. Our keynote speaker will be Professor Ronald Schuchard (Emory University), author of The Last Minstrels: Yeats and the Revival of the Bardic Arts.
We invite proposals for papers from scholars working in Literature, History, Art History, History of Science and related fields. Particularly welcome are papers addressing Rudyard Kipling and W.B. Yeats, two contemporaries whose 150th birth anniversaries fall this year.
Potential topics include:
- Oscar Wilde’s more eccentric satellites.
- Societies, such as the Rhymers’ Club, that brought together disparate writers.
- Patrons and their circles: W.E. Henley, John Lane, Edmund Gosse.
- Occult organizations: Theosophy, the Golden Dawn.
- Accommodation and division within Irish cultural organizations.
- The Vegetarian Society.
- The Folklore Society.
- The Fabian Society.
- International links and correspondence between cosmopolitan writers.
- Label-blurring personalities: aesthetic nationalists, decadent imperialists etc.
- Unusual friendships or alliances formed by Kipling or Yeats.
- Forgotten links between Kipling and Yeats.
There will be no registration fee. A conference dinner is planned for participants, upstairs at the Olde Cheshire Cheese in Fleet Street, for which there will be a charge.