Submissions are invited for “Byron and Modernity” an international conference, sponsored by the Department of English and Faculty of Arts at the University of British Columbia, to be held in Vancouver at the Coast Plaza Hotel and Suites October 26-28, 2007.
We welcome papers that explore the way Byron and Byronism have been interpreted since the Romantic period, in Byron’s reception through the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and the place of Byronism in fashion, popular, and print culture. But we are especially interested in papers that take Byron’s presence in modern culture as an opportunity to address wider questions surrounding modernity and modernism. If “the modern” marks the time when the subject left the safety of the local to experience the world, if modernism celebrates change itself as the driving force of global power, to what extent is Byron, the cosmopolitan wanderer and genius of self-promotion, an exemplary, if not pivotal figure of modernity? The Byron circle might be called the first avant-garde: what part did the figure of Byron play in other modern avant-garde movements or in the development of criticism, theory, and culture that followed them? Byron was a social critic and a fashion icon: his work straddles high and low culture, aristocratic pretension and bourgeois consumerism, the power of the mind and the experience of the body. What can his influence tell us about similar contradictions in modern poetry and literature? What might Byron’s presence in popular culture and, by contrast, his relative absence from critical culture tell us about culture generally in the modern world? We are less interested in Byron the man than we are in “Byron” the idea, a specter of art, power, and transgression that haunts modern consciousness.
Proposals of 500 words for 20 minute papers may be sent by email to:
Deadline for submissions: January 30, 2007
Conference website: http://www.english.ubc.ca/PROJECTS/byron_conference