CFP Reminder: Enchanted Edwardians

thewindinthewillows

Our third annual conference will be held at the University of Bristol next March. Please see details below, and share with interested parties! (pdf version: Enchanted Edwardians CFP)

 

CALL FOR PAPERS: ENCHANTED EDWARDIANS

Third Annual Conference of the Edwardian Culture Network,

University of Bristol, 30TH-31ST MARCH 2015

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Confirmed Keynote Speakers:

Professor Ronald Hutton (University of Bristol) and Dr. Sarah Turner (Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art)

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‘The Hills are empty now, and all the People of the Hills are gone. I’m the only one left. I’m Puck, the oldest Old Thing in England, very much at your service if—if you care to have anything to do with me’.

Rudyard Kipling, Puck of Pook’s Hill (1906)

Edwardian culture is filled with otherworldly encounters: from Rat and Mole’s meeting with Pan on the riverbank in Wind in the Willows (1908), to Lionel Wallace’s glimpse of an enchanted garden beyond the green door in H. G. Well’s short story The Door in the Wall (1911). In art, Charles Conder’s painted fans evoked an exotic arcadia, whilst the music of Edward Elgar and Frederick Delius conjured up nostalgic dreamlands. Continue reading

Review: Reading Saki

saki

Brian Gibson, Reading Saki: The Fiction of H.H. Munro (McFarland & Company Inc., 2014)

Hector Hugh Munro, best known by his pen-name ‘Saki’, was a true “Edwardian” writer, with a literary career which spanned the period from late 1890s until his death on the Front in 1916. He was born in Burma, raised in England, and travelled throughout Europe with his family to improve his education; not an especially irregular upbringing for middle-class children during the days of the Empire. Munro’s works encapsulate the lingering nostalgic Victorian notions of Empire, not only in terms of the exotic appeal and the yet cultural un-attainability of the colonies, but also of European rivals, particularly the Russian Empire (which projected, for him, a glorious image of Romance and chivalry). He is known predominantly for short satirical stories, offering deliciously scathing commentaries and dark sketches on the superficiality he perceived in the society of his time. Continue reading

In the Words of Arnold Bennett (9): On Belief

Hornsey High Street, 1873

Hornsey High Street, 1873

‘She could never say, with joyous fervour: “I believe!” At best she could only assert that she did not disbelieve – and was she so sure even of that? No! Belief had been denied to her; and to dream of consolation from religion was sentimentally womanish; even in her indifference she preferred straightforward, honest damnation to the soft self-deceptions of feminine religiosity. Ah! If she could have been a Roman Catholic, genuine and convinced […] But she was not a Roman Catholic. She could no more become a Roman Catholic than she could become the queen of some romantic Latin country of palaces and cathedrals. She was a young provincial girl staying in a boarding-house at Hornsey, on the Great Northern line out of London, and she was suffering from a nervous breakdown. Such was the exterior common sense of the situation.’ (Hilda Lessways, 1911)

This quotation is the ninth part of a series dedicated to the work of the great Edwardian writer Arnold Bennett (1867-1931), on whom we will be co-hosting a symposium (‘Arnold Bennett and His Circle’) at Keele University on 17th-18th October. More details here.

In the Words of Arnold Bennett (8): London and Paris

Niels Moeller Lund 'The Heart of the Empire', 1904

Niels Moeller Lund ‘The Heart of the Empire’, 1904

‘Annunciata was very English. It had been vouchsafed to her that the English race was the master-stroke of the eternal powers. The very defects of the English were good qualities. All other races were inferior; the thing was obvious. And if there was one other race that Annunciata in especial contemned, that race was the French. The French were not serious; they were not moral; they were frivolous. You could not rely on them. Their women were dolls; their men were wicked, besides being paltry and grotesque to the eye. Germany had humiliated them – catch Germany trying to humiliate England! – and there they were enjoying themselves and “going on” as though nothing had happened. She had read that Parisian theatres were often crowded during the siege of Paris. That settled the French, so far as Annunciata was concerned.’

‘Lawrence did not greatly love London. It appealed to his imagination, but in a sinister way. To him it was the city of vast and restless melancholy. And though there was nothing of the sentimental in his composition, and he despised the facile trick of fancy which attributes to cities, heroically, the joys and griefs of the unheroic individuals composing them, London did nevertheless impress him painfully as an environment peculiarly favourable to the intensification of sorrow. Whenever he went to London it seemed to him to be the home of a race sad, hurried, and preoccupied; the streets were filled with people who had not a moment to spare, and whose thoughts were turned inwards upon their own anxious solicitudes, people who inevitably die before they begun to live, and to whom the possession of their souls in contemplation would always be an impossibility. The unique and poetic grandeur of the theatre which the character of this race had created for the scene of woes, only added to the situation the poignancy of visual beauty. Instead of lightening it increased the burden.’
(Whom God Hath Joined, 1906)

This quotation is the eighth part of a series dedicated to the work of the great Edwardian writer Arnold Bennett (1867-1931), on whom we will be co-hosting a symposium (‘Arnold Bennett and His Circle’) at Keele University on 17th-18th October. More details here.

In the Words of Arnold Bennett (7): Careless Condescension

Edward_Elgar

Edward Elgar c.1900

‘ “It’s only the Elgar,” he said, with careless condescension, perceiving at once, by the mere virtue of a label, that the music was not fine and not Russian. He really loved music, but he happened to be at that age, from which some people never emerge, at which the judgment depends almost completely on extraneous suggestion.’ (The Roll Call, 1918)

 This quotation is the seventh part of a series dedicated to the work of the great Edwardian writer Arnold Bennett (1867-1931), on whom we will be co-hosting a symposium (‘Arnold Bennett and His Circle’) at Keele University on 17th-18th October. More details here.

In the Words of Arnold Bennett (6): On Beauty

Samuel Peploe, 'Interior with a Japanese Print' c.1915 (University of Hull)

Samuel Peploe, ‘Interior with a Japanese Print’ c.1915 (University of Hull)

‘Edwin had never heard the word “beautiful” uttered in quite that tone, except by women, such as Auntie Hamps, about a baby or a valentine or a sermon. But Mr. Orgreave was not a woman; he was a man of the world, he was almost the man of the world; and the subject of his adjective was a window!’ (Clayhanger, 1910)

‘When the smock was finished he examined it intently; then exclaimed with an air of surprise: “By Jove! That’s beautiful! Where did you get this pattern?” He continued to stare at it, smiling in pleasure. He turned over the tattered leaves of the embroidery book with the same naïve, charmed astonishment, and carried the book away to the studio. “I must show it to Swynnerton,” he said. As for her, the epithet “beautiful” seemed a strange epithet to apply to a mere piece of honest stitchery done in a pattern, and a stitch with which she had been familiar all her life. The fact was she understood his “art” less and less. The sole wall decoration of his studio was a Japanese print, which struck her as being entirely preposterous, considered as a picture. She much preferred his own early drawings of moss-roses and picturesque castles – things that he now mercilessly condemned.’ (The Old Wives Tale, 1908)

This quotation is the sixth part of a series dedicated to the work of the great Edwardian writer Arnold Bennett (1867-1931), on whom we will be co-hosting a symposium (‘Arnold Bennett and His Circle’) at Keele University on 17th-18th October. More details here.

In the Words of Arnold Bennett (5): Reconsidering Fundamental Opinions

A Melbourne Clog-Dan cer, 1894

A Melbourne Clog-Dancer, 1894

‘Edwin was staggered. The blood swept into his face, a hot tide. He was ravished, but he was also staggered. He did not know what to think of Florence, the champion female clog-dancer. He felt that she was wondrous; he felt that he could have gazed at her all night; but he felt that she had put him under the necessity of reconsidering some of his fundamental opinions.’ (Clayhanger, 1910)

This quotation is the fifth part of a series dedicated to the work of the great Edwardian writer Arnold Bennett (1867-1931), on whom we will be co-hosting a symposium (‘Arnold Bennett and His Circle’) at Keele University on 17th-18th October. More details here.