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Closure in the Eighteenth Century
Princeton, May 2001

"Closure in the 18th Century"
Saturday, May 5, 2001
Princeton University
A conference presented by the Princeton Eighteenth Century Society

For many philosophers, political theorists, literary critics, and
historians, the French Revolution of 1789 marks the end of the Ancien
Régime, or the classical episteme and the beginning of modernity. Others
understand this moment as a divide between the end of the classical age
and the birth of the romantic age.  Much of the writing about the 18th
century is concerned with closure.  However, this necessity for seeing and
demarcating closure -- philosophically, historically, and otherwise --
which distinguishes many of the writings on the 18th century also inhabits
and is problematized in the very texts, buildings, works of art, etc.,
that were written, constructed, and created in the 18th century.

Marivaux's, Diderot's, and Sterne's novels all provoke questions or
problems of closure in the narrative form with their abandoned conclusions
and "unfinished" endings.  Various forms of enclosures (from previously
public land, to the building, to the codex), also play a dramatic role in
transforming identity, subjectivity, art forms, science, etc.  New
prisons, new theaters, Sadian torture rooms, and even the human body
create enclosed spaces that dictate and articulate new forms of knowledge,
new economies, and new forms of communication.

The Princeton Eighteenth Century Society (P.E.C.S.) invites papers that
explore closure in any of its manifestations in the 18th century.  We
welcome contributors from all disciplines.  General categories for
investigation are listed but not limited to the following:

Enclosure (public space, architectural, codex, textual)
Framing (art, tables, text)
Narrative closure
Historical and philosophical closure

If you would like to present a 20-minute paper, please send a 250- to
300-word abstract by March 20 to Andrew Clark ( or
    Princeton Eighteenth Society
    201 East Pyne Hall
    Princeton University
    Princeton, NJ 08544 USA

A full schedule and details will be forthcoming at  No registration for the
conference will be necessary for audience members.  Please write Andrew
Clark ( with any other inquiries.