Tag Archives: modernist conference

CFP: The Spirit of Speed – Culture on the Move in Edwardian Britain

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The Spirit of Speed: Culture on the Move in Edwardian Britain

University of Lancaster, 8th-9th September, 2017

‘Before us stretched the deserted road; we could trace it for miles and miles, a long line of grey in a vastness of green space that faded into blue, rising and falling with the rise and fall of the hills. Then the spirit of speed took possession of us, the fascination and the frenzy of speed for speed’s sake […] We had escaped from the fetters that bind man to earth; we were intoxicated with a new-born sense of splendid freedom; without exertion or effort we lightly skimmed the ground […] We were rushing into infinity.’ (James Hissey, An English Holiday with Car and Camera, 1909)

The fourth annual conference of the Edwardian Culture Network will be held at the University of Lancaster this coming September, in association with the Edwardian Postcard Project. Taking our lead from James Hissey’s 1909 evocation of travelling in a motor car, or H.G. Wells’s equally-breathless sea-bound finale to Tono-Bungay – we will be exploring the ‘spirit of speed’, as represented, reflected, challenged or wilfully ignored by British culture c.1895-1914. We invite 300-word proposals for papers on any aspect of this theme. Topics might include, but are not limited to:

  • Culture on the move: the significance of postcards, advertisements, newspapers, travelling exhibitions, etc.
  • Reactions to new technologies: motor cars, steam turbines, radio, film, etc.
  • Speed and freedom: travel, independence and access.
  • Rushing into infinity: Speed and the representation of time in art.
  • Placing the brakes on speed: antidotes to the quickening pace of life: stillness, slowness and spirituality.
  • Speed and exchange: The impact of Atlantic crossings on Anglo-American culture.

We will accept proposals for 15 minute presentations and panels; we are also happy to consider experimental approaches and poster ideas. Please e-mail proposals (not exceeding 500 words) to edwardianculture@hotmail.co.uk. The closing date for applications is June 4th, 2017. Participants from inside and outside academia are equally welcome!

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Call for Papers: ‘Efface the Traces!’ – Modernism and Influence

If you’re seeking four days of conference madness next April, you may be interested in the following event, which takes place in the two days preceding our own inaugural conference (the first day of which will also be held in Durham):

‘Efface the Traces!’ – Modernism and Influence

Durham University, 9-11 April 2013

‘[T]he poets of the nineties were entirely missed out of my personal history […] I never read any of these people until it was much too late for me to get anything out of them’. T.S. Eliot, letter to Ezra Pound, 1924

‘[I]t was towards the end of my school days or in my first year or two at Harvard University [that] I was reading the poets of the ‘nineties, who were the only poets […] who at that period of history seemed to have anything to offer me as a beginner’.T.S. Eliot, Saltire Review, iv, 1957

If Ezra Pound’s clamorous injunction – ‘make it new!’ – might be considered the first commandment of modernism, then Brecht’s dictum – ‘efface the traces!’ – stands as its complementary shadow statement. As the example of Eliot begins to illustrate, the Poundian urge to transfigure ‘legitimate’ influences results in a comparable urge to efface influences considered inappropriate. However, criticism has often proved inadequately alert to the motives underlying authorial advertisement and evasion of influence, instead colluding with the artist in the construction of a suspiciously orderly canonical narrative of modernist influence. We dutifully discuss Eliot as the heir of Dante and Donne; we corroborate Woolf’s departure from Wells and Bennett; we identify the Ibsen in Exiles, and the Confucianism of the Cantos. Continue reading