Call for Papers: Literature at War – Deadline 11 June 2015

Literature at War: H. G. Wells, Ford Madox Ford and their Contemporaries in and around the First World War

Saturday 19 September 2015, at King’s College London, Waterloo Campus, London SE1

Sponsors:

The H. G. Wells Society

Ford Madox Ford Society

Centre for Modern Literature and Culture, King’s College London

Centre for Life-Writing Research, King’s College London

This year sees the centenary of two major literary events, the publication of Ford’s The Good Soldier (‘the saddest story I have ever heard’), and of Wells’s Boon, the cantankerous literary satire that terminated his friendship with Henry James. Both works can be read as offering, though in very different ways, a kind of final verdict on British Edwardian culture; and both can also be seen to reflect their authors’ growing sense of the apparent impotence and irrelevance of the literary and artistic worlds in time of war. Yet 1914-18 and its immediate aftermath was also a time of extraordinary cultural vibrancy, in which the war novels of Wells and Ford – Mr Britling Sees It Through (1916) and Parade’s End (1924-8) – would play their part. Henry James, in his famous defence of his art in reply to Boon, wrote of ‘the extension of life, which is the novel’s best gift’, a credo that could have been echoed by Wells, Ford and many of their contemporaries despite their sharply conflicting understandings of ‘life’ and its relation to literature.

This one-day conference invites papers reflecting the contrasting views of literature and the First World War in the writing of Wells, Ford and their contemporaries. A variety of approaches will be welcomed, including perspectives on life-writing, propaganda, satire, utopia and the writing of history.

Enquiries to: max.saunders@kcl.ac.uk or j.p.parrinder@reading.ac.uk

Proposals for 20-minute papers (250-word abstracts) should be sent to ahri@kcl.ac.uk by 11 June 2015.

AHRI

ahri@kcl.ac.uk