[UPDATE] Edith Wharton Symposium: cfp deadline 27 May

full name / name of organization: 
William Blazek and Laura Rattray
contact email: 

Edith Wharton Symposium: 22 and 23 August 2013, Liverpool Hope University, UK

We warmly invite papers on the life and work of Edith Wharton and her contemporaries for an international symposium, co-sponsored by the Wharton Society, to be held in Liverpool, UK, in August 2013.

The symposium marks the 100th anniversary of the publication of Wharton's much-read and much-analyzed novel The Custom of the Country. Described as the writer's "greatest book" by Hermione Lee in her 2007 biography, and listed by Wharton herself at the end of a long and prolific career as one of her own favourite works, The Custom of the Country arguably remains the author's most complex and controversial novel. To mark the centenary, many of the panels and keynotes will be devoted to topics pertaining specifically to this landmark text.

However, we also warmly welcome papers on any aspect of Wharton's life and work, and the work of her contemporaries, male and female, canonical and non-canonical, European and American. In a publishing career spanning seven decades, Wharton lived and wrote through a period of tremendous social, cultural and historical change, in dialogue with a vast array of writers. Papers might address transatlantic literary contexts; narrative strategies; dialogues with modernism and modernist aesthetics; Wharton's influence on contemporary popular culture. As another centenary approaches, we also seek explorations of Wharton and her contemporaries in the contexts of World War I.

We are delighted to confirm that the keynote speakers for this event will be esteemed Wharton scholars Dr Pamela Knights (Durham University) and Professor Gary Totten (North Dakota State University). Pam, who has published very extensively on Wharton, is perhaps best known as the author of The Cambridge Introduction to Edith Wharton, while Gary is the immediate past president of the Society and editor of Memorial Boxes and Guarded Interiors: Edith Wharton and Material Culture.

The symposium will be held on the Hope Park campus of Liverpool Hope University, located within five miles of the Liverpool city centre. Moderately priced, ensuite campus accommodation will be available to delegates for the duration of the symposium. Costings are almost finalised: we anticipate the registration fee, which will include the group dinner and overnight, ensuite campus accommodation on the 22nd, and breakfast, lunch and refreshments on the 23rd, will be at the subsidised rate of c. £65. (Day rates will also be available.) For those wishing to stay on and explore Liverpool after the symposium, an additional night's accommodation will be available, and we will arrange a tour of the city, followed by a meal together before departing.

Please send any queries and 250-word abstracts for 20-minute papers (indicating any equipment/technical requirements), and a brief biographical note by 27 May 2013 to the symposium organisers via e-mail: custom@hope.ac.uk Registration will open at the beginning of June.

We hope you'll join us for this friendly and timely gathering of Wharton and nineteenth and early twentieth century scholars in August.