CFP: Travel Objects & Romantic Literature (6/1/07; ICR, 10/18/07-10/21/07)

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International Conference on Romanticism: Romantic Objects
Oct. 18-21, 2007
Loyola University
Baltimore, MD
This session has been approved by the ICR conference organizers. See also:
Special Session: Letters, Luggage, and Other Travel Objects in Romantic Literature

        Romantic period writers traveled extensively and often, if they could, wrote letters from distant places, and carried with them not only their luggage and correspondence but also, as in Byron's case, a menagerie of domestic and exotic animals. These objects and creatures serve as intimate evidence of the authors' singular lives, and the letters they wrote document the stimulation and strain of such travel. Authors such as Percy Shelley, William Wordsworth, Felicia Hemens, John Keats, John Clare, and Helen Maria Williams reflect on their travels within and beyond their native country, which allowed them to expound on subjects in their letters about which they may have been more circumscribed in their public work.

        In addition, it is useful to examine letters written to Romantic authors; those to Byron, frequently abroad, were accompanied by locks of hair and proposals of marriage. What significance do objects packed, posted, and carried inspire in these authors' works? How did Byron manage traveling with his assortment of animals? How does Mary Shelley respond to the demands of travel with Shelley through Italy, especially since their sick infant daughter worsened en route and died soon after? John Clare's escape from the asylum in 1841, Felicia Hemens's departure from (and return to) her mother's home in Wales, Helen Maria Williams's visit to Paris in 1790, and other examples of traveling authors provide correspondence that can reveal a self-consciousness, a sense of displacement, or the firming of a new conviction. How do letters to or from these authors support or compromise the positions taken in their poetry and prose?


Papers are invited that address these or similar themes for the 2007 International Conference on Romanticism, October 18-21, in Baltimore, MD.

Please send 250-word proposals to Lisbeth Chapin at <> by June 1, 2007.


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Received on Fri Apr 13 2007 - 16:50:47 EDT