The 2018 Conference of the French Society for the Study of English Romanticism will explore the complex and creative relations British Romanticism entertains with the notion of time. “Eternity is in love with the productions of time” (Blake), and Romantic literature walks the line between the eternal and the provisional, the evanescent and the irreversible, between the ambition to foster “Nurslings of immortality” (P. B. Shelley) and a commitment to “ke[ep] watch o’er man’s mortality” (Wordsworth).
The conference will be an invitation to look at Romantic meditations on the course of human life, from the poetics of infancy and coming of age, to the literature of maturity. Whether contemplating “the rude/ Wasting of old Time” (Keats), attending to the “shadows which futurity casts upon the present” (P. B. Shelley), or awaiting an apocalyptic revelation at the end of time, Romanticism offers a meditation on history, reflecting on the burdens of the past and on the disruptions of time in revolutions.
Memory vies with erasure within Romantic poetry as, for instance, De Quincey’s “mighty palimpsest” challenges the “voluminous scroll” (Smith) of Memory. Contained within Clare’s “Now is past” is the constant tension among past, present, and future in Romantic poetics. That strain between reminiscence and prophecy also manifests itself in the multiple temporalities of Romantic fiction and performance. Subverting philosophical conceptions, but also the Newtonian physics of time, Romantic writing thus creates its own sense of time, in its own terms, forms, and figures.
In its ability to bend the course of time, the Romantic movement appears as essentially untimely. Its uncanny persistence into later literary movements and contemporary theory upsets the linearity of periodization. This conference is also an invitation to study the various temporalities of Romanticism as a form of cross-fertilization between nations. As Romanticism developed at different moments and within different cultures in Europe, but also across the Atlantic, we welcome comparative studies, based on reception and translation.
Topics may include but are not limited to:
The representation and manipulation of time in Romantic writing and performance
The poetics of infancy, coming of age, and maturity in Romantic writing
Romanticism and History, from the revolutionary to the apocalyptic
Romantic memory, from anamnesis to erasure
Prophecy and the will to shape the future in the politics of Romanticism
Untimely Romanticism, and its persistence in later literature and theory
The times of Romanticism: its comparative developments and adaptations in Europe
Presentations will be expected not to exceed 30 minutes. Most presentations and papers will be in English. Final papers will be considered for publication following a peer-review process.
Abstracts of up to 300 words along with a short biographical note should be sent to the conference organizers before 30 April 2018. Early submissions are encouraged.
Two travel grants of up to 400 euros each will be awarded to doctoral or postdoctoral students with the support of the SERA. Please mention whether you apply for one of the travel grants in your proposal.
Sophie Laniel-Musitelli, Université de Lille - IUF (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Céline Lochot, Université de Lille (email@example.com)
Céline Sabiron, Université de Lorraine (firstname.lastname@example.org)