CFP: [Victorian] The Idea of America in Nineteenth-Century British Culture, 1776-1914

full name / name of organization: 
Ella Dzelzainis
contact email: 

The Idea of America in Nineteenth-Century British Culture, 1776-1914

The Institute of English Studies, University of London 27th-28th June 2008

With the support of the Centre for Victorian Studies, Royal Holloway,
University of London and the Centre for Nineteenth-Century Studies,
Birkbeck College, University of London

Confirmed Keynote Speakers
Tim Barringer, Kate Flint, John Mee, Clare Pettitt and Mark Philp

The meaning of America to those beyond its borders has rarely been the
subject of such passion and global conflict as it has been in the past
seven years. If we look to the long nineteenth century, however, the idea
of America in British culture suggests that there is a lively pre-history
of competing and opposed notions of the emergent republic. From the new
world of revolution, individual liberty, democracy and freedom to the home
of plutocracy and Philistinism; from avatar of the mechanical city to the
last hope of utopias in the wilderness, America emerged, and continued to
accrete meanings, as diverse as its landscape.

This interdisciplinary conference invites scholars to reflect on the ideas,
representations and transmissions of America in Britain during the period
in question. Possible subjects might include: republicanism; liberty;
revolution; democracy; populism; utopias; individualism; feminism;
transcendentalism; frontiers; landscapes; pioneers; displacement;
plutocracy; commerce; art-collection. We encourage papers that might pursue
these or other subjects using travel-writing, letters, essays, photography
and painting, early film, records of travelling shows and extravaganzas in
addition to fiction, poetry and drama.

Please email abstracts of 250-300 words to the conference organisers, Dr
Ella Dzelzainis, School of English and Humanities, Birkbeck College,
University of London ( and Dr Ruth Livesey,
Department of English, Royal Holloway, University of London
(, by November 1st 2007.

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Received on Mon Aug 06 2007 - 12:09:42 EDT