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Call for Papers – Keats’s Odes at 200: A One-Day Bicentenary Conference (1819-2019)

CFP: Keats’s Odes at 200: A One-Day Bicentenary Conference (1819-2019)

1 February 2019, University of Caen (France)

Plenary speaker : Stanley Plumly (University of Maryland). Acclaimed poet and author of Posthumous Keats: A Personal Biography (Norton, 2008), The Immortal Evening: A Legendary Dinner with Keats, Wordsworth, and Lamb (Norton, 2014), winner of the Truman Capote Award for Literary Criticism, and Elegy Landscapes: Constable and Turner and the Intimate Sublime (Norton, 2018).

In the spring of 1819, living in the recently built Wentworth Place on the edge of Hampstead Heath, John Keats wrote five of the six poems now commonly referred to as the ‘Great Odes’, a group of texts whose hyper-canonicity can sometimes make it difficult to appreciate the precarious, unlikely circumstances under which they came into being – let alone to say anything new about them today. Over the course of the last two centuries, countless readers have found themselves enthralled by, and moved to comment on, Keats’s Ode to PsycheOde to a NightingaleOde on a Grecian UrnOde on MelancholyOde on Indolence, and ode To Autumn (composed in September 1819), generating a vast body of scholarly criticism, as well as a number of reuses or reimaginings of the odes in popular culture. Yet, not unlike the Hellenic urn which permanently remains, in its cold silence, ‘a friend to man’, the magic of the odes remains undiminished after all these years – and the depth and originality of Keats’s texts remain, miraculously, to be accounted for, still ‘teas[ing] us out of thought’. It is the aim of this one-day bicentenary conference not only to celebrate but also to continue to probe, question, and rethink the nature of Keats’s achievement in writing, at the height of his young artistic powers, these six ‘Great Odes’; to reexamine their past uses, and speculate on their lives to come, while teasing out (and, no less fruitfully, being teased by) their ostensible timelessness.

Speakers are invited to approach the odes from any number of angles, including (but not limited to) questions concerning: the composition and editing of the texts (their manuscript drafts, their multiple versions in print and digitization…); the critical reception of the odes in the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries (in Britain, America, France, and elsewhere); Keats’s sources of inspiration, and of rupture; the odes and other forms of art (sculpture, music, painting); reuses and reimaginings of the odes in popular culture; their modern adaptations (cinema, fiction), etc.

Please send title of paper and abstract (300 words), with a brief CV, to Jeremy Elprin (jeremy.elprin@unicaen.fr) and Caroline Bertonèche (caroline.bertoneche@univ-grenoble-alpes.fr) by 31 October 2018.