CFP: Dickens, Victorian Culture, Italy (Italy) (10/31/06; 6/13/07-6/17/07)

full name / name of organization: 
Paul Vita
contact email: 





Dickens's love of Italy, his prolonged stay there in 1844-5 and his
subsequent active engagement in England on behalf of the Risorgimento, are
widely known and frequently studied. It comes as a surprise, therefore, that
no previous attempt appears to have been made to stage a meeting of
Dickensians and others with an interest in 19th century culture in the city
of Genoa, which is by some distance the most important in the peninsula for
the study, both of Dickens in Italy and of the Risorgimento. As a cultural
treasure house of the first order - in the middle ages and beyond, it was
the rival of Venice - it is also an ideal place for an early summer
conference combining business and pleasure.

The organisers - preponderantly Italian scholars from Genoa and Milan, but
with active input also from France, Britain, Spain, the USA, and Australia -
propose to rectify this omission next year. The conference will be held in
one of the numerous Genoese palaces, and will figure as prominently as
possible visits to the chief Dickensian sites. These include most notably
the Palazzo Peschiere, a mannerist masterpiece built for Tobia Pallavicino
in 1552 and decorated with magnificent frescoes, and the Villa Bagnerello
(dubbed by Dickens 'The Pink Jail') in Albaro.

The aim of the conference will be to provide as rich a cultural context as
possible for the study of Dickens in relation to Italy. Papers are therefore
invited on a wide range of subjects within the general rubric 'Dickens,
Victorian Culture, Italy.' It is hoped that prospective contributors will be
able to address at least two of the three areas covered by the conference
theme. Thus, in the first place, it is obvious that papers on any aspect of
Dickens's life or writings that have a bearing on his relation to Italy -
e.g. his views on Italian art, his friendships with Italian exiles, the
treatment of Italy in his novels, as well as of course all aspects of the
key text Pictures from Italy etc., etc. - would be most welcome. More
generally, papers are welcomed on a wide range of Dickens's relevant
cultural concerns - that is to say, the political, religious, social,
intellectual, etc., etc. discourses that figure prominently in his work -
these, not necessarily very particularly tied to the question of Italy but
with the potential to illuminate Dickens's reactions to that country.
Thirdly, papers dealing either with other Victorians living in or visiting
Italy - Thackeray, Turner, Wilkie Collins, Thomas Adolphus Trollope, Samuel
Palmer, etc., etc - or more generally with Victorian views upon, prejudices
about, and responses to Italian themes in the 19th century will receive
favourable attention. Our aim is to be as inclusive as possible, though it
perhaps should be made plain that close readings of Dickensian texts that do
not have a bearing on Italy are not sought on this particular occasion.

Prospective panellists are invited to send a one-page abstract by email to by October 31 2006. Submissions will be considered by
an international panel of specialists before the drawing up of a provisional
programme in early 2007.

The website to be used for the conference will be Registration forms etc will be posted there
in due course.

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Received on Mon Jun 26 2006 - 18:27:01 EDT