Monthly Archives: January 2014

The Last Word in Impossibility


‘Nude Study’ by William Orpen, 1906

‘…when I am not at portraits I am painting nudes […] and my word – can a nude ever go well – it seems to me the last word in impossibility. I struggle and struggle and the things get worse and worse – I spent the afternoon in the Louvre looking at Nudes and there are none in the least like a woman – Rembrandt’s seated one is of course a marvel – but its not like a woman – Manet’s nude after all is a poor show – as a woman – and Courbet’s one in the Louvre is a shocker – though I remember seeing photographs of some nude woman of his a long time ago which looked wonderful – Forgive me writing all this stuff – I’ll have a drink and forget it’ (William Orpen, letter to William Rothenstein, 22nd November 1921)

CFP: Periodisation: Pleasures and Pitfalls


CFP: ‘Periodisation: Pleasures and Pitfalls’

All Souls College, Oxford (June 3 2014)
Keynote: Professor James Simpson (Harvard)
Abstract deadline: March 1 2014

What do we mean by ‘medieval’?  When does ‘late eighteenth-century’ become ‘Romantic’?  What on earth is ‘Early Modern’?  How did these categories come about in the first place?  Papers are invited for a one-day conference on the advantages and problems of periodisation, which aims to interrogate the literary-historical categories that govern the way we organise, teach and think about literature.

We ask whether periodisation is a useful tool for segmenting the lengthy sweep of English literature into sensible sections for study, or whether it is a naïve, narrowly historicist critical approach that risks making unhelpful connections between radically different types of texts.  Continue reading

CFP: Modernism Now!

‘Figure Composition’ by David Bomberg, c.1913

The British Association for Modernist Studies, International Conference 2014


26–28 June 2014

Institute of English Studies, Senate House, London

Keynote Speakers: Tyrus Miller (University of California, Santa Cruz), Jacqueline Rose (Queen Mary, London)

Modernism Now! is a three-day international, interdisciplinary conference organised by the British Association for Modernist Studies, designed to explore modernisms throughout the late nineteenth, twentieth and twenty-first centuries. The conference aims to discuss the past achievements of modernism, its possible futures, and to provide a review of current activity in the field. In Modernism and Theory, Neil Levi has recently suggested that in thinking about modernism we consider ‘the idea of a contemporary perpetuation of artistic modernism’ and that we see ‘modernist works as events whose implications demand continued investigation.’ Continue reading

Review: Charles Ricketts, Everything for Art


Charles Ricketts, Everything for Art: Selected Writings, edited by Nicholas Frankel (Rivendale Press, 2014)

Like many artists of his generation, the cultural contributions of Charles Ricketts (1866-1931) were wide and varied.  He was, variously, a book designer, wood-engraver, draughtsman, painter, sculptor, costume and set designer, jewellery designer, and talented typographer. He founded one press – The Vale Press, whose beautiful books are still greatly sought after – and two short-lived yet influential magazines, The Dial and The Pageant. The latter promoted not only his own work (and that of his partner, the artist Charles Shannon), but also that of relatively unknown British artists and writers such as ‘Michael Field’, Thomas Sturge Moore and Charles Conder.

Ricketts and Shannon were, in their own quiet way, a power couple; their extensive art collection ranged from Persian miniatures to Puvis de Chavannes, whilst their Chelsea – and, later, Richmond – house served as a meeting place for like-minded individuals, many of whom (like Roger Fry and Charles Holmes) would go on to assume positions of great responsibility in the British art world.  ‘The Vale is one of the few houses in London where one is never bored’ claimed Oscar Wilde, one of Ricketts’s most famous collaborators. Continue reading

CFP: Adapting Conrad


‘Hanyut’ – a 2012 film based on ‘Almayer’s Folly’ by Joseph Conrad

Adapting Conrad: A multi-disciplinary conference on what
happens to books when translated into other media

“Thereʼs been a lot of talk about the way in which Hollywood directors distort literary masterpieces. Iʼll have no part of that!”
– Alfred Hitchcock to Francois Truffaut, 1968.

Joseph Conradʼs fictions have been adapted for stage, screen, and radio, and
have appeared in songs, graphic novels, and art installations. His work has
been adapted by Alfred Hitchcock, Orson Welles, Francis Ford Coppola, Bob
Dylan, Christopher Hampton, Nicolas Roeg … and Conrad himself, who wrote
three stage plays and a film treatment based on his own stories.

What happens to a literary work – masterpiece or otherwise – when it is
adapted into another media? Is it always a distortion? What criteria of success
can be used to judge an adaptation? What can we learn about narrative,
audiences, and genre from the process of adaptation and the relationship
between the original and the adaptation? How can different critical approaches
help us understand that relationship? These are some of the questions we will
be addressing in ʻAdapting Conradʼ, a one-day conference hosted by the
Institute of English Studies at Senate House, London, on 30 May 2014. Continue reading

Review: Edwardian Radicals and Literary Modernism


Anne Fernihough, Freewomen and Supermen: Edwardian Radicals and Literary Modernism (Oxford University Press, 2013)

Flicking through the suffragist journal Votes for Women (1907-1918) today, a striking feature is the amount of space dedicated to advertisements for suffragist merchandise. ‘Wonderful Bargains in Electioneering Gowns’, announces an advertisement from January 1910, listing dresses with such names as ‘The Mildred’, ‘La Russe’, and ‘The Moscow’. In later issues there are suffragist banners, items of jewellery, and, perhaps most delightfully, Christmas crackers in suffragist colours (one wonders at the gifts and jokes they may have contained). Such merchandise, of course, helped to raise valuable funds and broaden the profile of the cause; harder to explain are the advertisements for ‘yougourt agents’, with accompanying articles extolling the health benefits of this vegetarian food. At first glance these advertisements can appear rather anachronistic: yogurt is hardly a convenient snack to take on a march, and does not obviously signify one’s suffragist allegiance in the same way as a ‘Votes for Women!’ pendant in purple, white and green. Yet during the Edwardian era radical politics and a healthy diet were often part and parcel of the same thing: a desire to attain an apparently higher, more evolved and more humane state of being.

The relationship between progressive thinking and individual development is the subject of Anne Fernihough’s exciting new study, Freewomen and Supermen: Edwardian Radicals and Literary Modernism. Continue reading

CFP: Folklore and Thomas Hardy


‘A Frosty March Morning’ by George Clausen, 1904

Please find below details of a call for papers for a postgraduate panel at ‘Folklore and Thomas Hardy’, being held in Dorchester 11-13 April 2014.

Folklore, Thomas Hardy and Rural Writing: A Joint Conference of The Folklore Society and The Thomas Hardy Society 11-13 April 2014 at The Corn Exchange, Dorchester.

Individual submissions are invited for a panel of three postgraduate papers on the works of Thomas Hardy. The following themes are encouraged but are by no means exclusive: Continue reading