Edinburgh Conan Doyle Network Conference: ‘Conan Doyle and Storytelling’

10–11 December 2021 

Birkbeck, University of London 

Keynote speakers: 

Professor Christine Ferguson, University of Stirling 

Professor Robert Hampson, Royal Holloway, University of London 

“‘Pray compose yourself, sir,’ said Holmes, ‘and let me have a clear account of who you are, and what it is that has befallen you.’” (‘The Beryl Coronet’) 

Arthur Conan Doyle was one of the greatest of all storytellers. He is best known and most enjoyed not for the subtlety of his characterisation or the profundity of his ideas, but as a master of narrative, in many different forms. It is because of his powers as a storyteller that his work not only endures in book form, but continues to captivate television and cinema audiences internationally. The conditions of his own time were propitious for an author with his gift for narrative. He was writing in a period described as ‘the Age of Storytellers’, which was also an age of literature in transition, and of emergent Modernism. We would welcome proposals for 20-minute papers, which consider Conan Doyle’s writing in all these wider contexts, and which might explore:  

  • Conan Doyle and genre: romance literature, detective fiction, historical fiction, the Gothic, sport, travel, and life-writing etc 
  • Narrative and the market: Conan Doyle and publishing history and practice 
  • Late-Victorian and early 20th-century shorter fiction 
  • Neo-Victorian adaptation: Conan Doyle’s stories in the 20th and 21st centuries 
  • Conan Doyle and narratology 
  • Character and action 
  • Narrating the Empire: Conan Doyle and colonialism 
  • Storytelling and Modernism 
  • Conan Doyle’s narrators 
  • Stories of Spiritualism and the supernatural

Please send abstracts of 200–300 words together with a brief biography to: james.machin@bbk.ac.uk 

Deadline for proposals: 31 July 2021 

‘Conan Doyle and Storytelling’ is hosted in partnership with the Birkbeck Centre for Nineteenth Century Studies, and will be the third event associated with a new scholarly enterprise, The Edinburgh Edition of the Works of Arthur Conan Doyle, sponsored by the Royal Society of Edinburgh and the Conan Doyle Estate. 

If we are unable to meet in person, the conference will proceed via Zoom.  

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