Late Romanticism, Past and Present

deadline for submissions: 
May 31, 2019
full name / name of organization: 
University of Leuven, Belgium

Late Romanticism, Past and Present

University of Leuven, 12–14 December 2019

Keynote Speakers

  • Angela Esterhammer (University of Toronto)
  • Tim Fulford (De Montfort University)
  • Sara Guyer (University of Wisconsin-Madison)

Plenary Seminars

  • Ioana Both (Babeș-Bolyai University) & Martin Procházka (Charles University of Prague) on Transformations of European Late Romanticism
  • David L. Clark (McMaster University) & Jacques Khalip (Brown University) on Contemporary Constellations of Late Romanticism
  • Paul Hamilton (Queen Mary University of London) & Diego Saglia (University of Parma) on Transnational Constellations of Late Romanticism



A sense of an ending is upon us, once more. Faced with ecological calamity, the humanities in permanent crisis, and democracy in peril, literary and cultural scholars increasingly turn to concepts that capture the ways in which texts reflect on untimely and precarious survival. Along with its associated concepts—lateness, belatedness, lastness—, late style has recently come forward as a particularly potent and revelatory frame in the work of, amongst many others, Edward Said, Linda Hutcheon, Ben Hutchinson, and Gordon McMullan. This conference aims to examine discourses of lateness through its origins in the Romantic period, which has often been credited with (or blamed for) establishing its structures. The final defeat of Napoleon and the consequent extinction of radical ambitions, the social and political tensions of the 1820s, the untimely deaths of many of its leading writers, the industrialisation of Europe: all have been seen to spur the Romantics to convert their rhetoric of anticipation into one of belatedness. Or perhaps Romanticism was always already late, and (post-) modernity will always find its hopes for reinvention bedevilled by anxieties of influence. A fresh theory of (post-)Romanticism is in the air, perhaps for the last time; premised on the compelling echoes between Romantics early and late; now and then; over here and over there. Eager to foster debate in this burgeoning field, this conference invites papers on late Romanticism in its broadest sense: on late and belated Romantics in and within Britain, Germany, France, and much further afield; on the reverberations between past and present lateness; and on the parallels between late and post-Romanticism.

Suggested topics for papers include:

  • Lateness, lastness, and belatedness in Romanticism and/or post-Romanticism
  • Late and belated Romantics: Romantic Victorians, modernists, postmodernists (and beyond)
  • Lateness in a national and international perspective: British lateness; German spätstil and epigonentum; French décadence; Irish Romanticism after Morgan and Moore (Mangan, Young Ireland); Continental and American latecomers; the reception of Romanticism in Central and Eastern Europe
  • Anachronism, anatopism, and asynchrony: Romanticism out of its “proper” time and place
  • Techniques and genres of belatedness: imitation, rifacimento, commentary, minority, translation, criticism, biofiction, periodicals, “last man” writing
  • Magazine culture and the rise of the periodical writer in the 1820s and beyond; Romantic periodicals as late-Romantic intercultural mediators
  • Lateness in and between music, art, and literature
  • The literature of mourning/ageing and the mourning/ageing of literature
  • The afterlives of Romantic writers and Romanticism
  • The 1820s as Romanticism’s last or late decade
  • Romanticism and hope
  • Biography and thanatography


We welcome the following types of submissions:
• Proposals for traditional 20-minute papers: abstracts of max 300 words.
• Proposals for complete panel sessions: a brief covering statement (max 300 words) outlining the aims of the panel, along with abstracts for each speaker (max 300 words).

Please send all abstracts, including a brief bio note, as a word file to for all submissions: Friday 31 May 2019. Notice of acceptance will be given no later than 1 July.


The conference will be hosted by the Faculty of Arts of the University of Leuven. Centrally located in Western Europe, Leuven is easily accessible by road, rail, and air. International trains arrive at Brussels South Railway Station, a 25-minute train ride from Leuven. Brussels airport (BRU) is a 15- minute train ride from Leuven.


Registration fee: €60. This includes lunches, coffee breaks, and the reception. If you would like to join us for our conference dinner, the total fee is €100.


Please direct any questions to