CFP: Thirties Genres: Genre, Writing and Culture in Britain in the 1930s (UK) (3/24/06; 7/1/06)

full name / name of organization: 
Hopkins, Chris
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Thirties Genres: Genre, Writing and Culture in Britain in the 1930s

'He picked up the newspaper from beside him; it was open at the women's and children's page. Jane may have had it, reading the All
Made with Remnants article . . . or John may have been enjoying the Washing Day Adventures of Some Tiny Animals. . . He turned
over . . . the Radio Programme . . . Next page. A short story . . . No he wouldn't read it. A block of advertisements filled up
the bottom half of the page. He read them with more care than he gave the news'. (Walter Brierley, Means Test Man, 1935)

'Below exactly at eye-level, was the contemporary stuff. Priestley's latest. Dinky little books of reprinted "middles". Cheer-up
"humour" from Herbert and Knox and Milne. Some highbrow stuff as well. A novel or two by Hemingway and Virginia Woolf. Smart
pseudo-Strachey predigested biographies . . .' (George Orwell, Keep the Aspidistra Flying, 1936)

'In almost every piece of historical fiction it is the characters of the ruled that come bursting out of the texture' (Sylvia
Townsend Warner, 'The Historical Novel' in Fighting Words, 1939)

Allusions to, or discussions of, discourses of kind, genre and sub-genre seem to be everywhere in writing of the 1930s - in
poetry, fiction, critical works, literary manifestos, reviews, newspapers and periodicals and so on. Genre terms such as
documentary, pastoral, thriller, detective novel, parable, allegory, historical novel, travel writing, proletarian fiction and
romance are common in critical discussion of the writing and culture of the period. However, there has never been a conference
focusing primarily on the genres of the nineteen-thirties deployed in Britain. This conference invites proposals on any aspect of
genre in Britain in the nineteen-thirties, including gender and genre, the politics of genre, histories of thirties genres,
metafictional treatments of genre within literary texts, generic hybrids and genre-mixing, contemporary debates about the value or
otherwise of particular genres, and larger cultural histories of literary or other genres of the period.

Proposals of 400 words for 20 minute papers should be sent via e-mail to Professor Chris Hopkins ( by 24th
March 2006. The conference will be held at Sheffield Hallam University on Saturday 1st July, 2006. Selected papers from the
conference will be published during 2007 as a special 'Thirties Genres' issue of the e-journal Working Papers on the Web

Chris Hopkins
Professor of English Studies
Head of Humanities Research Centre
Rm 12 Montgomery House
Division of Education and Humanities
Faculty of Development and Society
Sheffield Hallam University
Collegiate Campus
Phone: 0114 225 4364
E mail:

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Received on Tue Jan 10 2006 - 09:33:13 EST