Writing Romantic Lives

deadline for submissions: 
September 18, 2017
full name / name of organization: 
Edge Hill University and Keele University

A One Day Postgraduate Symposium, hosted by Romanticism @ Edge Hill University & Keele University

CFP for a one-day postgraduate symposium on 25th November 2017

 ‘The best part of human language, properly so called, is derived from reflection on the acts of the mind itself. – S. T. Coleridge
This postgraduate conference is held in celebration of the 200th anniversary of S. T. Coleridge’s Biographia Literaria (1817), an experimental combination of life writing, philosophy, and literary criticism. Coleridge’s interest in the self, creativity, imagination, and the relationship between poetry and cultural life forms part of the wider Romantic exploration of individuality and collectivity.

This one-day symposium, co-organised by Edge Hill and Keele Universities, asks: what kind of value is placed on auto/biographical writings of the Romantic period? How does life writing in the Romantic period engage with philosophical, theological and literary critical theories? What would Romantic writers have to say now, if given the chance?

Postgraduate (MA/MRes/PhD) students are invited to submit proposals for individual papers, panels of 3 speakers and a chair, or innovative presentation formats, on the following topics (although they are certainly not limited to them):


  • Coleridge and the bicentenary of Biographia Literaria (1817)
  • The historical/cultural/literary significance of life writing (auto/biographical)
  • Poetry, prose and essays by and about key and marginal Romantic figures
  • Adaptations and re-imaginings of Romantic lives
  • Female biography and gender
  • Explorations of the link between creativity and the primary/secondary imagination
  • Health, illness and disability
  • Literary and memoir musings on 18th/19th century life
  • Romantic ecologies
  • Romantic life sciences and medicine
  • The evaluation and interpretation of literature
  • Memorial and elegiac writing
  • ‘Spirit(s) of the age’
  • The ‘vitality’ debate
  • Romantic afterlives and legacies


Please submit:

  • Abstracts of 250 words for individual papers / creative responses
  • or panel proposals / innovative presentation formats of 500 words (including a brief introduction and details of each paper), along with a short biography of presenters

to krystan.best@go.edgehill.ac.uk by 18th September 2017.


Keynote Speaker: Felicity James, Leicester University


‘Writing Romantic Lives’ will be a further opportunity for postgraduate research students of MA, MRes and PhD levels to present works, gain professional conference experience, and develop their research through feedback and discussion with peers and with professional academics. The conference also presents the opportunity for selected papers to be re-submitted for journal publication after the event.


Both organising institutions, Edge Hill University and Keele University, have excellent reputations for research and scholarship in Romantic Studies. ‘Writing Romantic Lives’ will build on the success of previous activities at the two participating universities, e.g. the Romanticism at Edge Hill research seminar series (EHU 2010-17); the Student Byron Conference (EHU 2011-13); ‘Romanticism on Edge’ (EHU 2016); ‘Byron and the Romantic World’ (Keele 2016); ‘Romanticism takes to the Hills’ (EHU April 2017).