Monthly Archives: March 2016

CFP: Modernity and the Shock of the Ancient

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Edwardian scholars may be interested in the following CFP:

Modernity and the Shock of the Ancient:
The Reception of Antiquity in the Late 19th and Early 20th Century
June 10th, 2016, Ashmolean Museum, Oxford.

Two personalities fought for possession of his soul, and he could not always keep back the lower of the two. They interpenetrated…something very, very old projected upon a modern screen.    (Algernon Blackwood,  The Wave: An Egyptian Aftermath, 1916)

The ancient world was vital to what it meant to be ‘modern’ at the turn of the last century. Yet antique reception in this period is vastly understudied in all areas except that of classical Greece and Rome. At a time when the looting or wholesale destruction of non Graeco­-Roman ancient sites is creating new public interest in their importance to modern cultures around the world, it is crucial that this narrow picture is reconsidered.

We invite abstracts for a one -day interdisciplinary conference at the Ashmolean Museum on June 10th, 2016.  This conference will re-­evaluate the reception of the ancient past in the late 19th and early 20th century, and its relation to constructions of ‘modernity’.  It will explore the reception of a geographically diverse antiquity – from Greece and Rome to Egypt, Mesopotamia and East Asia – in a variety of spheres including literature, public art and architecture, museum exhibitions, cinema, and consumer goods. As a new century began, the ‘ancient’ was signalling the ‘modern’ in both popular and high avant-garde culture, and was harnessed to a range of (often opposing) political agendas. In the process, a ‘new’ antiquity was born, the study of which illuminates what it means to be both ‘modern’ and ‘Western’, today as much as in the early 20t​h century. Continue reading

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Schedule: ‘To show a foreigner England’: Englishness and the Edwardian Landscape

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As noted below, registration is now open for our April 11th symposium, ‘To show a foreigner England: Englishness and the Edwardian Landscape’, organised in association with the Royal West of England Academy in Bristol and sponsored by the Paul Mellon Centre. We look forward to seeing you there on what promises to be a fascinating day. The schedule for the day is as follows:

10.30-11.00: Registration

11.00-11.15: Short introduction

11.15-12.00: Exhibition viewing, with tour by curator Gwen Yarker

12.00-1.00: Lunch

1.00-3.00: Papers

David Matless (University of Nottingham): Regions of Englishness

Jessica Feather (Paul Mellon Centre): Collecting Watercolour in Edwardian England: Landscape and Englishness

Bill Greenslade (University of the West of England): Edwardian Afterlives: Thomas Hardy and Wessex

3.00-3.30: Break

3.30-4.30: Roundtable discussion, with introduction by Ysanne Holt

To show a foreigner England: Englishness and the Edwardian Landscape

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We are pleased to announce that registration is now open for our April 11th symposium, ‘To show a foreigner England: Englishness and the Edwardian Landscape’, organised in association with the Royal West of England Academy in Bristol. Tickets cost a mere £6.00, and include a light lunch. The day will start at 10.30 and run until  4.30. Speakers include Professor David Matless (author of Landscape and Englishness) and Professor Ysanne Holt (author of British Artists and the Modernist Landscape). There will also be an exhibition tour with the curator, Gwen Yarker.

This one-day symposium – coinciding with Inquisitive Eyes: Slade Painters in Edwardian Wessex – takes as its starting point the following quotation from E.M. Forster’s novel Howard’s End (1910),

If one wanted to show a foreigner England, perhaps the wisest course would be to take him to the final section of the Purbeck Hills, and stand him on their summit, a few miles to the east of Corfe. Then system after system of our island would roll together under his feet.

Forster’s comment suggests that the rolling hills of the South West should be taken as a synecdoche for England. Taking a cue from this idea – but expanding the discussion to include other regions also – the symposium will address a range of important questions: where was Englishness located at the turn of the century, and why? What made a landscape especially English, or distinctly not-English? What role did artist’s colonies play in understanding and promoting particular landscapes in the national consciousness? How important was landscape to the development of modern art in England?

If you have any questions, please e-mail us at edwardianculture@hotmail.co.uk