Edith Wharton Symposium: 22 and 23 August 2013, Liverpool Hope University, UK

Edith Wharton Symposium: 22 and 23 August 2013, Liverpool Hope University, UK
Organisers: William Blazek and Laura Rattray
Keynote Speakers: Pamela Knights and Gary Totten
Call for Papers: extended deadline 27 May 2013

We warmly invite papers on the life and work of Edith Wharton for an international symposium, co-sponsored by the Wharton Society, to be held in Liverpool in August 2013.

The symposium marks the 100th anniversary of the publication of Wharton’s much-read and much-analyzed novel The Custom of the Country. Described as the writer’s “greatest book” by Hermione Lee in her 2007 biography, and listed by Wharton herself at the end of a long and prolific career as one of her own favourite works, The Custom of the Country arguably remains the author’s most complex and controversial novel. To mark the centenary, many of the panels and keynotes will be devoted to topics pertaining specifically to this landmark text.

However, we also warmly welcome papers on any aspect of Wharton’s life and work, and the work of her contemporaries, both male and female, canonical and non-canonical, European and American. Papers might offer readings of any of Wharton’s texts, in any genre; Wharton’s work in relation to any of its nineteenth- and twentieth-century contexts; Wharton in a transatlantic literary context; Wharton and her contemporaries; narrative strategies; the writer’s dialogue with modernism and modernist aesthetics; Wharton’s influence on contemporary writers and popular culture. As another centenary approaches, we also seek papers treating Wharton and her contemporaries in the contexts of World War I.

We are delighted to confirm that the keynote speakers for this event will be esteemed Wharton scholars Dr. Pamela Knights (Durham University) and Professor Gary Totten (North Dakota State University). Dr. Knights, who has published extensively on Wharton, is perhaps best known as the author of The Cambridge Introduction to Edith Wharton, while Professor Totten is the immediate past president of the Wharton Society and editor of Memorial Boxes and Guarded Interiors: Edith Wharton and Material Culture.

The symposium will be held on the Hope Park campus of Liverpool Hope University, located within five miles of the Liverpool city centre. Moderately priced, ensuite campus accommodation will be available to delegates for the duration of the symposium. Day rates are also available. For those wishing to stay on and explore Liverpool after the symposium, an additional night’s accommodation will be available, and we will be arranging a morning tour of the city and/or – by special request for Beatles fans – of influential sites for the group, followed by lunch together before departing.

Please send any queries and 250-word abstracts for 20-minute papers (indicating any equipment/technical requirements) and a brief biographical note by 27 May 2013 to Laura Rattray via e-mail: custom@hope.ac.uk

Registration will open at the beginning of June. Further information and updates will be posted on the symposium website: http://www.hope.ac.uk/custom

We hope you’ll join us for this friendly and timely gathering of Wharton and early twentieth century scholars in August.

Sponsors: Liverpool Hope University and the Edith Wharton Society