CFP: The Voice of the People: The Nineteenth-Century Folk Revival (UK) (12/1/06; 9/7/07-9/9/07)

full name / name of organization: 
Dr Marcus Waithe

Centre for Nineteenth-Century Studies
University of Sheffield
in association with the Departments of History, Germanic Studies and
English, and the National Centre for English Cultural Tradition
International Interdisciplinary Conference
Friday 7 - Sunday 9 September 2007

The Voice of the People:
The European Folk Revival,

Convenors: Timothy Baycroft, Joan Beal, Matthew Campbell, Hamish Mathison,
Michael Perraudin, Marcus Waithe
The rediscovery and revalidation of the 'culture of the people' was a
defining feature of artistic and intellectual life in the societies of
nineteenth- and late eighteenth-century Europe, and it underpinned many
of the key ideological tendencies of the times. Romantics and
pre-Romantics articulated their sense of the inadequacy of cosmopolitan
rationalism by espousing the cultural productions of ordinary
(uneducated, rural) people as repositories of pre-rational truth and
authentic experience. The nostalgic imitation, collection and study of
folksong, folktale, folk custom and folk belief which this engendered
became a process of linguistic, historical and mythical
identity-formation with powerful political consequences; and the new
nationalism which increasingly destabilised the European political order
over the course of the nineteenth century gained its legitimacy from
such activity. At the same time, radical movements from the late
eighteenth century onwards found sustenance in evidence of the cultural
autonomy and superiority of ordinary people, in customs and festivals,
songs and story-telling. Nineteenth-century socialism did not seek to
root itself in resuscitated systems of myth, but its mythologisation of
the proletariat had a related intellectual impetus. The European
nineteenth century, it can be said, was the age of the people and
peoples, of masses and nations; and the cultural expression of this
identity was the folk revival.

The proposed conference aims to encompass the span of the European folk
revival from its beginnings in the middle of the eighteenth century to
its cataclysm, the war of the peoples, World War One. The revival's
British emergence from 1760 in works such as Macpherson's Ossian or
Percy's Reliques will be traced. Its reception and philosophical
development in Germany by J.G. Herder and its further elaboration by
British, German and French Romanticism (Wordsworth and Coleridge, Renan
and Arnold, Novalis and the Schlegels, Arnim, Brentano and the Grimms)
will be examined. The folkloristic or popular-cultural dimensions both
of nineteenth-century socialist utopias - Saint-Simon, Marx, William
Morris - and of the diverse national movements of nineteenth century
Europe, from Ireland to Italy, Belgium to Bulgaria and beyond, will be
observed. Offerings from all relevant branches of political, social,
cultural, linguistic and literary history are encouraged. Analyses of
modern re-revivals would also be of interest. The main language of the
conference will be English, but papers can also be delivered and
discussed in German and French.

Possible topics for papers include:
Macpherson, Percy, Herder and their descendants
Translation, renovation and forgery
The language of the folk
Mythologies old and new
Folktale and fairy-tale
Epic poetry and folk lyric
Hybridity, authenticity and synthetic form
Ballad, performance and print
Historians, poets, collectors, editors, theorists
of the Folk Revival Nationalism, regionalism, cosmopolitanism
Celt and Teuton, Latin and Slav
Socialism and folk nostalgia
Democracy and demagoguery
Gender, nation and folk
Folklore and education
Fine art, folk art
Music and folk-song

Papers will be 30 minutes long. To apply to deliver a paper at the
conference, please send by email an abstract of a few lines plus a brief
c.v. to one of the convenors (t.baycroft@ j.beal@ m.campbell@
h.mathison@ m.perraudin@ AND simultaneously
to the conference email account (
Deadline for submission: December 1st 2006
Conference web address:

--Dr Marcus Waithe,Lecturer in Victorian Literature,School of English,University of Sheffield,Sir William Empson House,Shearwood Road,Sheffield S10 2TD ========================================================== From the Literary Calls for Papers Mailing List Full Information at or write Jennifer Higginbotham: ==========================================================Received on Sun Nov 05 2006 - 20:38:24 EST