Romantic Lacunae: Silences, Gaps, and Empty Spaces, 2 Aug 2013

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Queen's University Belfast, UK

We invite paper and panel proposals on topics related to silences, disjunctions, and absences in Romantic-era texts, for a one-day conference hosted by the School of English and the Centre for Eighteenth-Century Studies at Queen's University Belfast on 2 August, 2013. The keynote speaker will be Dr Fiona Price, Reader in English Literature at the University of Chichester.

The conference is interested in exploring the power of silences and absences in the literature of the period c.1780-1830. During this time there is significant cultural emphasis on what is not said and why: being silenced and choosing silence touch upon complex issues of power, resistance, and subjection. Generic developments such as the Gothic tradition of the found manuscript and textual fragment could be said to reflect a wider instability surrounding narrative completeness and coherence, while editorial interventions and authorial revisions naturalise practices of erasure and suppression. Recent critical trends make this area particularly fertile ground for study: over the past few decades, criticism has focused on the messy process by which texts come into being, demystifying Romantic notions of authority and textual integrity. The ever-expanding boundaries of canonicity and the recovery of figures operating in literary and social gaps have also made previously suppressed and lost narratives available for critical scrutiny. We are thus seeking papers on lacunae within and between texts, in literary history, and in critical practice.

Proposals of 250 words should be sent to Dr Deborah Russell and Dr Lucy Cogan at by 1 June, 2013. We would especially welcome papers with a connection to Ireland and/or concepts of identity and community in 'four nations' Romanticism.

Topics might include (but are not limited to):
• Muteness: voluntary and involuntary silences
• Memory and forgetting
• Lost traditions and lost texts
• Fragments and incomplete narratives
• Absences and loss or mourning
• Editorial deletions and/or alterations
• Erasure from history and historiographical narratives
• Displacement
• Suppressed narratives of class, race, or gender
• The unsaid and the unsayable
• Censorship and self-censorship
• Digital Humanities and missing text(s)