Special Session CFPs

The NASSR Theory/Philosophy Caucus will be organizing one–possibly two–panels on ‘judgment’.

Prominently and yet somewhat precariously positioned in Kant’s philosophy as a bridge between the epistemological and moral realms, judgment grounds modes of critique we would now recognize as Romantic legacies in their attempt to come to terms with–indeed to find critical terms for–what resists discursive subsumption. However, since subsumption is bound up in its very structure, judgment ultimately faces the problem of its own (un)subsumable performance at each instantiation. As a participant in the same discursive medium, judgment thus exposes its own uncertain status vis-à-vis its putative objects, and this is arguably where its ongoing critical challenge resides…

Topics might include, but are by no means limited to:

– torn judgment (aesthetic, teleological, religious)

– the ‘power(s)’ of judgment?

– judgment and multiplicity

– judgment/subjecthood/objecthood?

– judgment and entanglement (in language, form, structure etc.)

– the temporality of judgment

– judgment and the philosophy of history

– judgment and?vs.? teleology

– performing judgment

– figures of judgment

– judgment and reading

– judgment across the disciplines

Please submit 300-word abstracts by January 10, 2017 to

Prof. Dr. Soelve I. Curdts



CFP John Thelwall Society Special Session: John Thelwall’s Vital Materialisms (NASSR 2017)

 For almost a century, the Romantic conceptualization of “life”– its origin, its organization, and the theological implications of both — was understood to be wholly vitalistic. However, over the past few decades several studies have questioned this conclusion and called for new answers to old questions: How do we understand the difference between “dead” matter and “vitality,” or life, in Romantic writing? How do the two interact? Where does vital energy come from and how is it sustained — whether in the body or the body politic? By re-thinking the metaphors of vitality that suffuse Romantic writing within the context of the scientific debates over the definition of “life” that raged in the 1790s, these studies have found multiple forms of vitalism and materialism “alive” in Romantic writing. Others have shown that vitalistic and materialistic theories of “life” overlap in so many ways that Romantic “life” might be better approached as a version of what Jane Bennett calls “vital materialism.”

 John Thelwall’s An Essay Towards a Definition of Animal Vitality (1793) directly engages the debate over vitalism raging in the 1790s and provides insight into current assessments of matter and vitality – biological, political, and cultural. Further, as Thelwall scholars have pointed out, his version of “vital materialism” informs all of his literary and political projects. Papers for this session might consider how Thelwall, in his scientific, literary, or political writing, answers the Romantic question “What is Life?” They might also examine how his views on matter and/or vitality shed light on, or obscure, his literary or political investments. Or they might consider how Thelwall’s idea of “life” can be compared to that of his contemporaries. Any paper that treats Thelwall in the context of this broad theme will be considered. Please send proposals of 300 words to Molly Desjardins (molly.desjardins@unco.edu) by Friday, January 6, 2017.


Panel for NASSR 2017:  An Infusion of Life: Circulating the Gothic

The close association of circulating libraries with the explosion of the popular fiction latterly termed “Gothic” at the end of the eighteenth century has frequently been linked to the genre’s low status within the Romantic-era textual economy. Discussions about the promiscuous nature of books read by multiple readers and the plagiaristic repetition of familiar tropes through multiple works of fiction emphasize the negative effects of circulation, including the loss of literary prestige. Less attention has been paid to the invigorating effects of circulation: how circulation infuses texts, forms, and ideas with life. In Romanticism and the GothicMichael Gamer identifies the Gothic genre as a means of marketing texts to an imagined audience of circulating library patrons, claiming, “By invoking gothic of any genre, writers and publishers can mark a text with genre and thereby attempt to place that text into a chosen position in the contemporary literary landscape” (47). While “marks” of genre can take the form of stock characters and events recycled in derivative texts, they can also refer to the books’ paratextual elements and material properties, including, for example, visual design. Like a bloodstain on a mouldering scroll, these paratextual and material markers of genre increase the circulation of Gothic ideas by marketing their familiar content to prospective readers. Taking as its starting points Gamer’s formulation of the Gothic as a vital part of Romanticism’s lifeblood and Diane Long Hoeveler’s notion of the Gothic as something to be “riffed” on, this panel asks how and where the Gothic circulates, and to what effect.

For this panel, we invite papers that consider how Gothic literature, forms, and ideas circulate within and without the genre, with particular interest in material forms of circulation. What are the physical traces of the “mark” of the Gothic? How do Gothic aesthetic and generic tropes circulate in other literary genres? In what forms do Gothic ideas circulate through what is generally considered mainstream Romanticism? How do they circulate transnationally and in different geographical markets? And how do Gothic markers lose or accumulate meaning as they circulate within the literary marketplace? How does circulation sustain Gothic texts as living works? How does it bring back forgotten texts from the dead?

Please send proposals of up to 300 words for 15-minute papers to Kandice Sharren (ksharren@sfu.ca) and Caroline Winter (winterc@uvic.ca)

by Friday, January 6, 2017.


“Byron, Shelley and Keats in Latin America”

This special session invites papers exploring the reception of second-generation Romantic writers in Latin America. What is the legacy of Byron, Shelley and Keats in the Spanish-speaking world? What is the role of the Romantic poets in the works of Latin-American writers, past and present? In what ways has Latin American literature absorbed, rejected, or reappropriated Romantic themes, characters, and styles? We invite comparative papers, theoretical discussions, thoughts on World Literatures or transnational studies, as well as reflections on different translations of key works.

Possible topics include:

·     The poetry of Eugenin Florit and his epigraphs to Shelley

·      Keatsean odes by Neruda and other Spanish-speaking poets

·      Juan Ramón Jiménez; Federico García Lorca

·      Translation and publication history of the Romantic poets in Latin-American countries

·      Applications of Keats’ “chameleon poet” or “negative capability” theories to Latin-American authors

·      The place of British Romantics on literature syllabi at Latin-American universities

·      British Romantic influences on Spanish lyric poetry 

Papers from any Latin-American countries (Brazilian- or Spanish-speaking) covering any time periods are welcome. Discussion of Wordsworth and Coleridge or other Romantic writers, as well as papers relating to Spain and Portugal will also be considered.

 Please contact olivia.moy@lehman.cuny.edu or marco.ramirez@lehman.cuny.edu and include a 300-word abstract if you are interested in participating. We will be soliciting 15-minute papers for this special session.

“Dissenting life and early Romanticism, 1770-1810.”

The past decade has seen major reassessments of many early Romantic writers who either were educated within Dissenting communities (Price, Barbauld, Godwin, Hays, Wollstonecraft) or migrated into Dissent from the Church of England (Estlin, Dyer, Wakefield, Frend). This is, then, an opportune moment to assess how much “Romantic life” actually owes to Dissenting life – to the religious and ethical values, social practices, intellectual disciplines, habits of mind, and methods of composition that were fostered within Dissenting communities and in educational centres such as Warrington, Hoxton, and Enfield.

    “Religion,” wrote Anna Letitia Barbauld in 1792 (responding to Wakefield’s Enquiry into . . . Public Worship), “ . . . is then least likely to be mistaken, when the presence of our fellow-creatures points out its connexion with the businesses of life and duties of society.” Emphasizing another aspect of Dissenting tradition, the Quaker Hannah Barnard wrote of “that freedom of inquiry, and right of judging, which I believe to be the indisputable privilege, and indispensable duty, of all mankind.” Independent judgment versus the “duties of society”: the tension between these two preoccupied most if not all Romantic writers.

    Please send proposals of no more than 300 words for 15-minute papers by 6 January 2017 to anthony.harding@usask.ca ; include 1-page c.v.

Anthony J. Harding.


+ 1-902-542-7848

86 Sherwood Drive, Wolfville NS, Canada B4P 2K6

Romantic Afterlives and Second Selves

This session will address Romantic afterlives—confluences, continuations, extensions, engagements, influences, intertexts, legacies, reactions, subversions, transformations, transmogrifications, treatments, and re-workings of Romantic writers and artists following their deaths.

The afterlife—aesthetic, biographical, cultural, historical, reputational, and textual—is itself a governing (and sometimes anxious) theme of Romantic writers. As Andrew Bennett argues in Romantic Poets and the Culture of Posterity (1999), Romantic poets (like Coleridge, Keats, Shelley, and Wordsworth) were mindful of their posthumous lives, and “the textual afterlife” becomes a “determining force in cultural production”: poets develop the “practice of writing for posterity” (102)—Wordsworth, for instance, writing for his “second self,” for future generations of writers, as he notes in The Prelude.

While the theme of the afterlife as it is treated by the Romantics in their own writing is one possible focus of this panel, I am broadly interested in how later writers cross aesthetic and textual boundaries and rework their earlier Romantic antecedents and inspirations. Thus, the centre of the panel focuses on influence and engagement but the circumference of critical inquiry extends to the crossing of national, generic, aesthetic, gender, and racial borders and lines. Papers should balance close with critical, cultural, and historical readings, while theorizing the issues that arise with the process and position of the “after-living.”

Please send proposals of 300 words to the session organizer Chris Koenig-Woodyard, University of Toronto(chris.koenig.woodyard@utoronto.ca) by Friday, January 6, 2017.

“The Visual Life of Romantic Theatre”

Romantic aesthetics is often characterized by its turn away from the visual in favour of the visionary. The rejection of what Wordsworth termed the “tyranny of the eye” or declarations by authors such as Blake  that he “look[s] thro [the eye] & not with it” occluded, until fairly recently, our own understanding of the significance of the visual in Romantic life. Such an oversight is especially familiar in the study of Romantic theatre. Wordsworth’s denigration of melodrama (the “sickly and stupid German Tragedies”), Lamb’s argument in favor of reading rather than performing Shakespeare, and Byron’s avowal of “mental theatre” all contributed to the notion that the Romantics shunned the stage. We now know that this is not the full story; even the so-called big six each tried their hand at the dramatic form to some degree, with some attempting to get or even having their plays staged. Other writers such as Baillie go further, implying that the space of the theatre is crucial to social development and education, to stirring “sympathetick curiosity” in all of us. Due to its efficacy in moving a group of spectators (as opposed to a single reader), she prioritizes performance over the written word, affirming the visual life of Romantic theatre and arguing that it is precisely by bringing the page to the stage, by seeing actors embody roles, that an audience can be deeply affected, revealing the potency of vision, spectacle, and the performing body.

This session will address the rich visual culture of Romantic theatre, in its on- and/or off-stage contexts. We invite paper proposals on any aspect of theatrical visuality, including but not limited to fashion and costuming, architecture and set design, stage directions and performance practices, audience displays and dramatic spectacle, voyeurism and surveillance, extra-theatrical and inter-generic performances, portraiture, illustration, and graphic satire. 

Please send proposals of no more than 300 words to the session organizers Diane Piccitto (diane.piccitto@msvu.ca) and Terry F. Robinson (terry.robinson@utoronto.ca) by December 15, 2016.

Traveling Texts: Romantic Writing and Don Quixote

NASSR 2016: Special Session sponsored by the Caucus for Comparative Literature and Thought

Proposed by: Stefan Uhlig, UC Davis, shuhlig@ucdavis.edu

Coleridge noted that Cervantes died on the same day (although not quite, in fact) and looked remarkably like Shakespeare – though with an “acuteness” rather than “reflection” in his features that, to Coleridge, specified the “characters of mind” of their respective literary cultures. Grillparzer praised Wilhelm Meister as the better Don Quixote decades after both the Schlegel brothers read Cervantes as a wellspring of progressive, universal poetry and, categorically, the clash between the real and ideality. It is not surprising that both Sancho Panza and his knight became a reference point for Hegel’s lectures on aesthetics and the history of philosophy. This special session will explore the figurations of a classic text that helped to shape the literary and philosophical traditions of European Romanticism.

We invite papers on any aspect of the study or rewriting of Don Quixote in the Romantic period, and especially welcome comparative perspectives and/or work on non-anglophone materials. Please send 300-word proposals to Stefan Uhlig (shuhlig@ucdavis.edu) by January 10, 2017.

Gothic Afterlives: Radcliffe’s Literary Precursors, Rivals, and Descendants

(Proposed special session)

Since the mid-1990s, a number of studies have not only extended the years that “Romanticism” encompasses as a literary and cultural period but also suggested that classic gothic literature (1764-1824) holds a significant place within Romantic studies. Thanks to presses like Broadview and Valancourt, a host of classic gothic novels by Clara Reeve, Sophia Lee, Charlotte Smith, William Godwin, Regina Maria Roche, Charlotte Dacre, Percy Shelley, and others that were once out of print and available only in special collections are now easily accessible.

This proposed panel for NASSR 2017 in Ottawa aims to reassess neglected classic gothic texts and in the process, highlight texts that have often been overshadowed by work on Walpole, Beckford, Lewis, and Radcliffe. What value do novels by Radcliffe’s literary precursors, rivals, and descendants—many of whom Austen satirized—hold for

•    current conceptions of Romanticism and the gothic?

•    the relationship between gothic authors or generations of gothic authors?

•    gender and genre?

•    new theorizations within Romantic and/or gothic studies?

Which of these texts deserve to be unearthed and resuscitated? Why?

Please submit 300-word proposals for 15-minute papers and a brief CV to Nowell Marshall (nmarshall@rider.edu) by Jan. 10.