The Hungry Ocean: A Conference on Literature and the Maritime Environment; April 21-23, 2010

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Steve Mentz
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The Hungry Ocean:
Literary Culture and the Maritime Environment

A Conference at the John Carter Brown Library
April 21-23, 2011

Organizer: Steve Mentz, St. John's University

Recent trends in scholarship including "Atlantic History," "historicizing the ocean," and the "new thalassology" are renovating our understandings of maritime culture. This conference focuses on literary responses to the world ocean. Shakespeare's hungry ocean and Conrad's visionary sailors reflect efforts to capture the poetry and reality of the maritime environment. This conference will explore the multiple ways literary writers have imagined and made use of the largest thing on our planet.

The conference will feature keynote lectures by Margaret Cohen, Andrew B. Hammond Professor of French at Stanford University, and Bernhard Klein, Professor and Chair of the English Department at the University of Kent. It will begin on Thursday April 21 with preliminary seminars for undergraduate students in various programs, including Brown University, the University of Rhode Island, the Williams-Mystic Program in Maritime Studies, and St. John's University.

We are currently accepting proposals for single papers or panels of three speakers.

Possible topics include –

• Provisional theorizations of "maritime literature" or "the poetics of the sea"
• Literary responses to the ocean's physical properties, including vastness, depth, salinity, tides, and currents
• Historically specific maritime literatures, from Beowulf's North Sea to Shakespeare's Mediterranean to Byron's, Melville's, or Conrad's global oceans
• Responses to maritime work, including navigation, seamanship, or cartography
• Poetic responses to particular oceans, including the Atlantic, Pacific, Indian, Mediterranean, or Caribbean
• Ecocritical or environmental readings of maritime literature
• Poetic representations of marine animals, from whales to fish to plankton

Please send abstracts and brief vitas by October 15, 2010, to Steve Mentz (