Philosophy and Poetry: Reliving the Negotiation, (International Seminar on 2nd August 2019)

deadline for submissions: 
June 25, 2019
full name / name of organization: 
Department of English, University of North Bengal


“Ever since Plato’s Socrates exiled the poets from the ideal city in The Republic, Western thought has insisted on a strict demarcation between philosophy and poetry. Yet might their long-standing quarrel hide deeper affinities?” [quoted from Ranjan Ghosh ed. Philosophy and Poetry: Continental Perspectives (Columbia University Press, 2019)].The relationship has never been without its own dose of unrest – heavily fraught, often tendentious, and tensional. The history of their relationship has always been the subject of a deeply moot study, demanding greater meditation and reflection. T. S Eliot points out that ‘if we divorced poetry and philosophy altogether, we should bring a serious impeachment’; and, George Steiner writes in his The Poetry of Thought that ‘within philosophy resides the perennial temptation of the poetic, either to be made welcome or to be rejected’. Philosophy is both intense and nuanced and like poetry builds its own aesthetic— a redoing of the crudeness of life. It enters into poetry because both converge on making a different sense of theory and life (θεωρία) that we thought we have long understood and lived, something that cannot be mere investigation and reasoning but insight, a contemplation that is imaginative. In fact, we can see both as events for a new kind of thinking, generating fresh ontological capacity. It may be argued that philosophy’s inadequacies cannot be met through philosophy alone but in a ‘poetic philosophy’ that enables greater possession of conceptual ways and firmer occupancy of analytic spaces of meaning. Poetry is the key to philosophy’s ability to engage with the “truths of experience.” The lover’s quarrel today is certainly more complicated and productive than what Socrates meant in The Republic. This one- day seminar seeks to address many such complications, trying to investigate the ‘troubled negotiation’ within the tenure and tack of the twentieth century, the problematic that such negotiation produces in our understanding of literature and philosophy, the deeper recesses of philosophical thinking as it engages with poetry and poetic spaces and doing, and how poem, poetry, philosophy, meaning and poetics come to be reinterpreted in our times.

The broader areas of interest for prospective paper presenters include:


a.       Can we do poetry without philosophy? If not, what are the complicated negotiations that such a relationship entails?


b.       How have continental philosophers in the twentieth century engaged with poetry? What are the characters of negotiation?


c.      Exploring the contested spaces between poetry, world literature and philosophy


d.      Comparative Philosophy and the state of ‘doing’ and making poetry


e.       Negotiations between “competing worldviews”, and figuring the possibilities “for philosophical poetry and the poetics of philosophy”.


We are interested to receive paper abstracts that draw and reflect on the book – Ranjan Ghosh ed. Philosophy and Poetry: Continental Perspectives(Columbia University Press, 2019) – and, also, explore the philosophy-poetry debate in general and its comparative contexts of understanding.  This one day international seminar on 2nd August, 2019, at the University of the North Bengal will have R. Radhakrishnan (Chancellor Professor, University of California, Irvine) delivering the keynote address that will be followed by book release, a panel discussion on ‘Philosophy and Poetry’ (featuring R. Radhakrishnan and Ranjan Ghosh) and paper presentations.


Abstracts of around 300 words may be sent to by 25th June 2019. Selected presenters will be informed via email by 30th June 2019.The abstract should accompany the following detailsName, phone number, institutional affiliation, contact address, paper title, and author's bio-note. Participants seeking accommodation may inquire with the coordinators at unb.englishdept@gmail.comFor further queries please contactKaushani Mondal
Assistant Professor, Department of English, University of North Bengal  Email id: kaushaniz@gmail.comPradipta Shyam Chowdhury Assistant Professor, Department of English, University of North Bengal  Email id: Kritika Chettri
Assistant Professor, Department of English, University of North Bengal  Email id: kritika.chettri@gmail.comNirmalya BiswasAssistant Professor, Department of English, University of North Bengal  Email id: