Dualing Couplets: Form & Meaning in C18 Poetry / ASECS 2010 (deadline: 9/15/09)

full name / name of organization: 
Dustin D. Stewart (U. of Texas at Austin) and Yaser Amad (Stanford U.)

We are seeking proposals for a poetry session at the American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies (ASECS) annual conference, to be held 18-21 March 2010 in Albuquerque. The panel, "Dualing Couplets: Form and Meaning in Eighteenth-Century Poetry," considers the twoness of the couplet form and asks what, if any, implications this formal fact has had on eighteenth-century poetry, from conception to reception. Did the form, for instance, encourage poets to write in terms of binary oppositions? Does the couplet handle topics that themselves involve twoness -- dueling, say, or marriage -- better than others? Does the couplet's poetic dominance tell us anything else about the eighteenth century? Can it be held accountable for posterity's insistently coupling accounts of the period's literary history, the seeming inevitability of such pairings as Dryden-Pope or Johnson-Boswell?

Papers addressing such questions from any perspective, as well as papers rejecting our premises but nonetheless considering the twoness of the couplet, are welcome. Especially welcome are papers that stake a related position with close reference to particular poems. Prof. David Fairer (U. of Leeds), whose work on 18th-century poetry ranges from Pope (Pope's Imagination [Manchester, 1984]) to Coleridge (Organising Poetry: The Coleridge Circle, 1790-1798 [Oxford, forthcoming]), has kindly agreed to serve as respondent on the panel. We will arrange for Prof. Fairer to read advanced drafts of accepted papers in late February. Further inquiries or half-page abstracts should be sent to both dustin.stewart@mail.utexas.edu and yamad@stanford.edu by 15 September 2009 for consideration.