Thursday, 4 July 2013

CfP: 'Decadence and the Senses', Goldsmiths, 10-11 April 2014

Decadence and the Senses, An Interdisciplinary Conference
Goldsmiths, University of London, 10 – 11 April 2014

Keynote Speaker: Catherine Maxwell (Queen Mary, University of London)

From the perfumed verse of Baudelaire to the ‘fleshly’ poetry of Swinburne, from the extravagant and perverse sensory experiences of Des Esseintes in A Rebours to the refined visual aesthetics of Dorian Gray, we encounter corresponding senses (synaesthesia) and extreme sensations, intensified by nervous or pathological psychological states.  Reading Decadence, from ancient times to the present day, is to indulge in voluptuous pleasures (and pain), to sample exotic tastes and sounds, and to envisage states of mind in highly visual terms.  ‘For each emotion’, as Oscar Wilde imagined for his drama, Salom├ę (1894), ‘a new perfume’.

This interdisciplinary conference explores the relationship of Decadence and the senses, and the ways in which Decadent writers attempt to capture fleeting sensations.  It is an opportunity to trace common visual, aural and ‘perfumed’ motifs in Decadent works, and to reflect on the extent to which the senses are important to our understanding of the tradition.

We welcome proposals on any aspect of Decadence and the senses.  Papers (about 20 mins in length) might include discussion of:

sight, hearing, taste, smell, touch
decadent objects: fur, perfume, jewels
hypersensitivity and hypersensuality
nerves and nervousness
pleasure and pain
hypersexuality and erotomania
appetite and femininity
fecal, feral, floral
bodily fluids
dream states and memory
invention and ornamentation
nature and the organic
altered states
decay and degeneration

Abstracts of 500 words plus brief biography should be sent to: by 31st December 2013

For further details and updates please see the website:

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

CfP: 'Liberty and Limits 1789-1920', Macquarie Uni, 5-6 Dec 2013

Call for Papers
'Liberty and Limits 1789-1920', Macquarie University, Sydney
 5-6 December 2013
Abstracts due 1 August 2013

Keynote speakers
Professor Nancy Armstrong (Duke), Professor Deirdre Coleman (Melbourne), Professor David Punter (Bristol)
The long nineteenth century was inaugurated by the French Revolution and closed in the aftermath of the First World War. In Britain the intervening period was marked by a dialectic compounded of sub-revolutionary change and processes of containment. In all cultural fields new modes of knowledge, theories, and aesthetic forms emerged. The Romantics and Victorians inherited the discursive energies of the eighteenth century in terms of the ways in which literary and other forms of writing were lauded or vilified as intervention, catalyst, palliative or purge. The energy of this period was enacted as much through writing and reading as through empire building and military/mercantile expansion. We invite papers that engage with all aspects of cultural change – including evolution, excess, experimentation, nostalgia, suppression, dissent.

Themes addressed can include, but are not confined to, the following:

Material print culture and new modes of dissemination of information
Literary revolutions
Life writing and the private as public performance
The modern city
The fin de si├Ęcle and the emergence of Modernism
Gender/sexual identity
Class mobility/instability
Anglophone writing and readership
Self-help and social mobility
Romantic and Victorian poetics
Crime and detection
The rise of children’s literature
Education and literacy
Evolutionary theory and social Darwinism
The marketplace and the birth of the consumer
Science and technology
Celebrity authorship as cultural phenomenon
The changing nature of readership
The politics of Empire
Photography/ images
Cultural and literary antecedents
Afterlife: Steampunk and neo-Victorian narratives, the long nineteenth century in film adaptations

Date: 5-6 December 2013
Venue: MGSM, Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia

Please send 300 word abstracts by 1 August to: