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A silhouette (in white) of Founder's Tower, on a background illustrating a musical theme. Royal Holloway, University of London

Romantic and Victorian Entertainments

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Graduate Student Literature Conference
University of South Carolina, Columbia

March 23-24, 2007

From the Grand Tour to gambling, and grand balls to opium dens, nineteenth-century authors represented entertainment in various ways. The virtues and vices of nineteenth-century amusements and leisure activities were themes in both British and American literature of the period, and these areas of life reflected and defined the historical, social, and literary climate of the century.

Our fifth annual graduate conference hopes to examine issues related to entertainment and leisure in the nineteenth century, as well as their relationship to both contemporary and modern literary creation,
criticism, and reception. How was play and playfulness represented by different authors in different periods of the nineteenth century? How did writers on opposite sides of the Atlantic or on opposite sides of the world react to the growing possibilities for "free time." How did the Industrial
Revolution both help and hinder chances for leisure? What effects did legislative action have on entertainment? What were the differences between "high" and "low" entertainments? How did print function as an amusement? We invite papers that explore the theme of entertainments and
amusements in nineteenth-century American, British, and World literature. Papers which address Trans-Atlantic topics are especially encouraged.

Possible topics could include but are not limited to:

Gambling and speculating
The Grand Tour
The idea of "free time"
Artistic pastimes
The idea of "creativity"
Recreational use of opium
Reading aloud
Riddles and other word games
Fairs and carnivals
Gardening and landscaping
Closet dramas
Music and dancing
Freak shows
Tourist stops and popular resorts
Parties and balls
Charades and other parlour games

Abstracts of 250 words or less are due by December 1, 2006. Please include your name, the name of your institution and program, and any A/V needs that you may have. Submit abstracts electronically via email to:

Melissa Edmundson
(British Literature and Comparative or Non-English Literature)

Celeste Pottier
(American Literature)

Last updated Fri, 11-Jan-2008 15:01 GMT / PH-S
Department of Music, Royal Holloway, University of London, Egham, Surrey TW20 0EX
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