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Call for Papers: Beyond the Garden Party: Re-thinking Edwardian Culture

Spencer Gore, ‘The Garden Path’, c.1910

CALL FOR PAPERS: Beyond the Garden Party: Re-thinking Edwardian Culture

It must have seemed like a long garden party on a golden afternoon – to those who were inside the garden. But a great deal that was important was going on outside the garden: it was out there that the twentieth-century world was being made. Nostalgia is a pleasing emotion, but it is also a simplifying one; to think of Edwardian England as a peaceful, opulent world before the flood is to misread the age and to misunderstand the changes that were dramatized by the First World War (Samuel Hynes, The Edwardian Turn of Mind).

More than forty years since Samuel Hynes wrote these words, many accounts and representations of Edwardian England still invoke the image of the garden party. Building on recent critical reappraisals, such as The Edwardian Sense (Yale 2010), and coinciding with the major Edwardian exhibition at the Yale Center for British Art, this interdisciplinary conference seeks to examine this notion, and to explore the alternatives. Was there such a thing as a distinct Edwardian culture; if so, what were the forces behind it?

We invite papers on any aspect of British culture between the years 1895-1914 (the ‘long Edwardian’ era). Topics may include, but are not limited to, the following:

• Edwardian Media: art, communication technologies, design, fashion, fiction, film, music, poetry, religion, theatre, and other forms of ‘high’ and ‘popular’ culture.
• Categorising the Edwardians: Victorianism/Edwardianism/Modernism/pre- and post-War/fin de siècle/the turn of the century. How useful is the term ‘Edwardian’?
• Revisionary Edwardians: challenging conventional notions of Edwardian writers, artists, and thinkers; fresh perspectives on famous Edwardians, and critical recoveries of neglected figures.
• Eclectic Edwardians: the catholicity of Edwardian taste and cultural products, the genre-hopping of Edwardian writers and artists, and Edwardian interdisciplinarity.
• Edwardian Afterlives: Edwardian nostalgia, Edwardian cultural afterlives, twenty-first-century visions of the Edwardians.
• The past and future of Edwardian studies; teaching the Edwardians.

‘Beyond the Garden Party: Re-thinking Edwardian Culture’ is the inaugural conference of the Edwardian Culture Network. The two-day conference will be joint-hosted by the Universities of York and Durham on 12th-13th April 2013. Speakers will be asked to state in which city they would prefer to give their paper.

Please send 300 word abstracts to edwardianculture@hotmail.co.uk by no later than Monday 3rd December 2012.

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Edwardian Weekend Spectacular

For those with an interest in twenty-first-century recreations of the Edwardian age, the following ‘Edwardian Weekend Spectacular’ may be for you! The two-day event, held in the grounds of Thornton Manor Estate and Gardens on the 9th and 10th of June, promises a ‘vintage funfair’, gasp-worthy ‘sideshow’, and requisite ‘garden party’. Further details can be found here.