UPDATE: Investigating the Middlebrow (UK) (3/2/07; 6/23/07)
The call for papers has been extended to 3rd March 2007.
Investigating the Middlebrow
One-Day Conference, Sheffield Hallam University, 23rd June 2007
middlebrow, n. and a.
colloq. Freq. derogatory.
According to the OED, the term �middlebrow� first made an
1925, in Punch: �it consists of people who are hoping that some day
will get used to the stuff that they ought to like.� Perhaps so, but
considering the stuff they ought to like, that controversial figure, the
general reader, was buying what it did like, creating best-sellers of
novelists as diverse as Elizabeth von Arnim, Warwick Deeping, Winifred
Holtby, J.B. Priestley, and Stella Gibbons. These widely-read novelists,
contentiously labelled �middlebrow�, have received very little
attention, and today the �middlebrow� continues to be used to
particular types of popular literature as unchallenging and of little
cultural or intellectual value.
What does it mean to be labelled �middlebrow�? Is it a
readership? Q.D. Leavis explicitly identified the growth of the
as an unfortunate consequence of women forming the majority of library
users; while 50 years later Bourdieu argued that �middlebrow�
its eternally reverential relationship to �legitimate
illegitimate simply because it was the taste of the middle-class, not
because of any intrinsic qualities.
This conference invites papers on any aspect of the middlebrow. Topics could
� the pleasures of reading
� the role of sentiment
� historicizing the middlebrow
� the gender of modernism
� taxonomies of taste
� cultural capital
We particularly welcome papers focussing on analyses of little-studied
middlebrow novels, films, novelists or film-makers.
Proposals of 400 words for 20-minute papers, and registration enquiries,
should be sent via email to
Erica Brown and Mary Grover at middlebrow_at_hotmail.co.uk by 2nd March
From the Literary Calls for Papers Mailing List
Full Information at
or write Jennifer Higginbotham: higginbj_at_english.upenn.edu
Received on Wed Nov 08 2006 - 12:14:28 EST