International D.H. Lawrence Conference St Ives Cornwall 12-14 September 2016
“Outside England…Far off from the world”: D.H. Lawrence, Cornwall and Regional Modernism
Organised in association with the University of Exeter Penryn Campus, this conference will be held at the Tregenna Castle Hotel St Ives to commemorate the centenary of D.H. Lawrence’s move to the nearby village of Zennor.
In the midst of the Great War, Lawrence arrived in Zennor following a brief stay in Porthcothan in North Cornwall. His description of Porthcothan as “Outside England…Far off from the world” shows the impression this place made on his imagination, but his reaction to Zennor was even more remarkable: “When we came over the shoulder of the wild hill, above the sea, to Zennor, I felt we were coming into the Promised Land. I know there will a new heaven and a new earth take place now: we have triumphed…this isn’t merely territory, it is a new continent of the soul”.
In seeking to highlight the significance of Lawrence’s fascination with Cornwall, this conference will use his response to that place as a way into looking at broader issues in his work and, more widely, the position of place in British modernism. In the context of Lawrence’s utterances about the Midlands, which have attracted much critical attention, it will probe Lawrence’s use of the term “outside England” to describe his response to Cornwall that, by comparison, has been largely overlooked. Whilst this conference seeks to bring together scholars and postgraduates to focus on the role of place in the work of D.H. Lawrence, it will also consider the significance of peripherality and localism, creative responses to marginalisation, the expression of disparities between imagined and familiar locations and the legacy of pastoral experience in modernist literature. In interrogating these ideas, it intends to contribute to broader discussions about the complex and interrelated relationship between place and the literary imagination.
Whilst we particularly welcome abstracts that consider all aspects of D.H. Lawrence’s—often fluctuating—responses to place, either pastoral or city and especially to Cornwall, we also invite papers on other related topics that focus on the significance of place in the modernist period, which may include but are not limited to;
Consideration of how perceptions of particular places can alter in reaction to traumatic events such as war
The construction of place as the Other
Differences between literary interpretations of place and the lived experience of the inhabitants of that place
The conflict between the pastoral and the city in modernist experience and writing
The impact of outsiders into rural communities
Groupings of literary, political or cultural figures that were encouraged by specific locations or any consequences of these associations
The relationship between place and the literary form
The tensions between class/race/gender and pastoral/city places
Literary interpretations of the connections between history and place
The relevance of place in attempts to find a more hopeful future
Please send abstracts of no more than 300 words for proposed 25 minute papers to
cfp deadline: 1 December 2015 successful applicants will be notified by 1 February 2016.
There will be an opportunity for selected papers to be published in a special conference edition of the journal of the D.H. Lawrence Society.
The conference will be held at the Tregenna Castle Hotel St Ives which is within walking distance of this artistically alluring seaside town that Lawrence knew well. St Ives can be reached by train from London Paddington (changing at St Erth).
Further information regarding the conference is available at