Qualities of Heroism, 5 November 2011 at Corpus Christi College, Oxford
CfP deadline 31 May 2011
Strength, virtue and bravery have long characterised the subjects of narrative. If protagonists surmount threats, or survive danger, we are inclined to ascribe the triumph to their heroism. When stories veer into realism, antiheroes receive the attention formerly reserved for gods and heroes.
The gospels are an enquiry into the heroism of their subject. Their opening unstated question is whether there was anything heroic in one who walked open-eyed into an avoidable death? Soon resurrection and a new interpretation of Jesus' heroism was found, and it was seen that he fulfilled a hidden paradigm, Messiahship. A succession of martyrs would bear witness to the same interpretation.
Papers are invited which discuss aspects and counter-examples of heroism, whether in sacred or secular canons. Carlyle's pantheon in 1840 went from Odin to Cromwell and Napoleon, and our papers can also range widely. David or Stephen for example in the Bible, Achilles or Aeneas, Beowulf or Galahad, Pilgrim or Samson Agonistes, Elizabeth Bennet or David Copperfield, Eugène de Rastignac or Emma Bovary, Napoleon or Kutuzov, Paul Morel or Pinkie Brown, Holden Caulfield or Mr Sammler, the list goes on; papers need not deal with pairs.
Joseph Campbell, The Hero with a Thousand Faces, 1949
Thomas Carlyle, On Heroes, Hero-Worship, & the Heroic in History, 1841
Michael P Jones, Conrad's Heroism, 1985,
Roger Sale, Modern Heroism: Essays on D.H. Lawrence, William Empson and J.R.R. Tolkien, 1973
John Steadman, Milton and the Paradoxes of Renaissance Heroism, c. 1987
Marina Warner, Joan of Arc: The Image of Female Heroism, 1981
James D Wilson, The Romantic Heroic Ideal, 1982.
Offers of papers to be read at the conference (and subsequently printed in The Glass) are invited before the deadline 31 May 2011. Papers should have a reading length of 25 minutes. Please send a provisional title and short paragraph (not an abstract) stating how you will approach your topic, adding some information about your background, to firstname.lastname@example.org