"Reflections on Frances Burney's The Wanderer at 200"

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Call for Panel Papers at the British Women Writers Conference 2014
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Reflecting on the critical reception of The Wanderer in October 1814, Frances Burney hoped that, in future years, her fourth and final novel, "when read fresh, & free from local circumstances of a mischievous tendency," would "by no means be found the lowest in the scale" of her works (J&L VII: 484). Selling out in its first edition and yet notoriously excoriated by William Hazlitt and John Wilson Croker and condemned for its perceived French sympathies, The Wanderer continues to evoke attention as Burney's darkest, most contentious, and most overtly political novel.

On the bicentenary of The Wanderer's publication, this panel, to be held at the 22nd Annual Meeting of the British Women Writers Conference at Binghamton University, State University of New York, June 19 – 21, 2014, opens up space for critical reflection on Burney's fourth and final novel.

This panel seeks papers reflecting on the history of the novel's reception and its present position in Burney scholarship and, more broadly, the study of British women's writing of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Focus might be found in addressing the novel's contentious status for early nineteenth-century readers and reviewers; reevaluating critical trends or assumptions in present-day readings of The Wanderer; or situating Burney's last novel in relation to the reception and legacies of her previous three, and/or other novels published in 1814, such as Mansfield Park and Waverley.

Expanding on the conference theme of "reflections," other possible approaches include papers on Burney's pervasive use of reflections or "doubles" in the text (Ellis/Juliet and Elinor, England and France, domestic and revolutionary femininity, urban and rural etc.); the novel's preoccupations with social display, artifice, and imitation; and adaptations of topics suggested in the BWWC call for papers.

Following the submission procedure for BWWC 2014, please send a 300-word abstract and a short biography, as a single Word attachment, to shar1910@mylaurier.ca by December 1, 2013. Paper proposals will be vetted and subsequently submitted to the BWWC Organizing Committee for consideration by their deadline of January 1, 2014.