CFP Reminder: Enchanted Edwardians


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)



Third Annual Conference of the Edwardian Culture Network,

University of Bristol, 30TH-31ST MARCH 2015


Confirmed Keynote Speakers:

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


‘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.

Such encounters are all the more powerful because of their briefness: the sense that enchantment is, as Kipling suggests in Puck of Pook’s Hill, fast becoming a thing of the past. What room was left for fantasy in the modern, scientifically advanced world of the early twentieth century? This conference seeks to explore this question, and to investigate other ways in which the Edwardians understood and employed the idea of the enchanted, the haunted and the supernatural.

We invite 300-word proposals for papers on any aspect of the theme ‘Enchanted Edwardians’, from scholars working in all fields of British culture c.1895-1914. Topics might include, but are not limited to:


♦ Art as a process of enchantment: enchantment as a metaphor for art; the legacy of Pre-Raphaelitism and Symbolism in art; the representation, or musical evocation, of enchanted worlds.

♦ Childhood: childhood as an enchanted land; representations and understandings of childhood in Edwardian culture and psychology; Kenneth Grahame, J. M. Barrie and the ‘Golden Age’ of children’s literature.

♦  Enchanted and Haunted Spaces: Britain as an ‘enchanted isle’; the landscape as a culmination of historically enchanted layers; Conan Doyle and the concept of ‘lost worlds’; echoes of ‘Eden’, ‘Cockaigne’ and ‘Arcadia’.

♦  Fairytales and Mythologies: fantasy literature in the Edwardian age; appropriation of mythological stories; Yeats and the Celtic Revival.

♦  Psychologies: psychoanalysis and the dream-world; Freud and British culture; art and interiority.

♦  Science and Technology: new inventions and breakthroughs such as the motor car, air travel, quantum theory, x-ray, Marconi and the trans-Atlantic telegraph; science fiction; time-travel.

♦  Sensuality and the ‘Other’: enchantment and exoticism; the enchantment of other cultures; Omar Khayyam and the Arabian Nights; the Edwardian interest in Chinese, Indian, and Japanese cultures.

♦  Spirituality and the Supernatural: theosophy; mysticism; witchcraft and the occult; ghost stories; séances; theological modernism; the relationship between culture and religion; James Frazer and the ‘The Golden Bough’.

♦  Disenchantment: enchantment and its antitheses; fantasy versus realism; the magical and the prosaic; imagination and pragmatism.


Proposals should be sent to no later than December 5th 2014. For more about the Edwardian Culture Network, including previous conferences and events, see

This conference will be hosted by the University of Bristol, in association with the Edwardian Culture Network.

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