CFP: [International] Modernity and Modernism in fin-de-siecle Britain - Tours

full name / name of organization: 
Prof. Georges-Claude Guilbert
contact email:

Call for Papers
GRAAT one-day conference

May 16, 2008

Modernity and Modernism in fin-de-siècle Britain

Université François Rabelais- Tours, France

The term modernity is used to describe a particular set of historical,
cultural, economic and political conditions, and promotes – in opposition
to tradition or community – a linear model of time and the abstract
apparatus of the State. Modernism refers to the literary and aesthetic
representations of, and responses to, those same historical conditions.
Modernity is therefore the historical and cultural condition which makes
modernism both necessary and possible. The synergy between the two
concepts, however, is often resolved into a contradiction. Modernism
often sits, that is, in a highly ambivalent, critical, subversive,
relationship to the process of modernization: except when, through an
commitment to innovation, modernity shades back towards – in a new
contradiction – the tradition of the modern, or indulges in a scientific
or utopian discourse on the future revolution. And here, certain
saesforms of progressive radicalism appear almost indistinguishable from
elitist nostalgia.

The organisers invite proposals for twenty-minute papers on aspects of
late-Victorian/Edwardian society
which foreground and explore these tensions. The aim is to encourage an
interdisciplinary approach linking social and intellectual history with
architecture, the visual arts, and literature. Colleagues who work on
British civilisation may want
to consider the many confrontations between the forces
of radicalism and reaction, the ambiguous positions taken up by some
intellectuals in the development and reform of the British State and
constitution, the
sometimes paradoxically conservative implications of
popular protest and emerging gender politics; or the many tensions and
contradictions inherent in the status of Britain’s empire at this time,
yet fragile, at once an instrument of social policy innovation and the
locus of pride in the favoured
race. For colleagues working in literary studies the aesthetic movement
and end-of-century “decadence” also provided a variety of opportunities
to theorise
ambivalence and subversion, contradiction and paradox.
The theme also allows those who may wish to bring together the historical
and the literary, to explore modernity/modernism through a cultural

Please send abstracts by February 2, 2008 to
Trevor Harris (
AND Stephanie Prevost (
AND Sebastien Salbayre

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Received on Sun Nov 11 2007 - 13:15:04 EST

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