Welcome to BARS

The British Association for Romantic Studies (BARS) was set up in 1989 by academics to promote the study of the cultural history of the Romantic period. Since then, BARS has organised eight International conferences at various locations in the UK, has published the BARS Bulletin and Review twice-yearly, and currently has more than 350 members.

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Call for Papers - Appel à communication



15-16 May 2009

Venue: Institut du monde anglophone, 5 rue de l'Ecole de médecine, Paris 6e

The 'Republic of Letters' may be regarded as having begun in the Italian Renaissance and had developed in France by the time of Louis XIV into a set of institutions controlling and guiding the norms of literature and critically judging the outcome. Most European literature was translated and disseminated from France, and the translations observed the rules of decorum represented by 'les belles infidèles', that is, the style of translation that most smoothly and effectively brought the work over into polite literature and the 'target' language.

Actual institutions such as Academies and journals developed with an eye to carrying out these functions. The notion of the 'Republic of Letters', however, could also represent an ideal of independent cultural activity, apart from any state or national institutions, and possibly critical of them, as in England, where the notion of controlling norms being enforced by a central literary Academy was rejected, and in Germany where there was no centralized state and where 'Culture' or 'Bildung' became a liberating idea of the Enlightenment. In more recent times, the network of communication, production and distribution, including publishers, copyright laws, presses, and journals and their European connections have been the subject of enquiry.

Our question is:
Is the 'Republic of Letters' still a useful concept in the Europe of today?

Papers (25-30 minutes) are invited examining these institutions and ideals, and their practical operations across Europe. Please send your proposals to Isabelle Bour, Sorbonne nouvelle, by 15 January 2009, at the following address: <Isabelle.Bour@univ-paris3.fr>.

The British Academy Network on Reception Studies has held a series of meetings in different European venues (including London, Aix-en-Provence, Cambridge, Brussels, León and Bologna), and proposes a Conference in conjunction with the Sorbonne nouvelle on the topic of The European 'Republique des Lettres', from the eighteenth century to the present. The Conference will take place on Friday and Saturday 15-16 May 2009 at Institut du monde anglophone, 5 rue de l'Ecole de médecine, Paris 6e.

We call for papers (in French or English) for the Friday 15 May sessions. On Saturday 16 May the British Academy will open its Network session to all who have attended the Conference. The Session will include a keynote British Academy Lecture by a major figure in the field, followed by four responses to the paper, and a two-hour seminar on the topics of the lecture, the responses, and the papers of the previous day. All members of the Conference are invited to attend and participate in the discussion. A dinner will be held on Saturday evening.


Professor Isabelle Bour, Professor Marc Porée Sorbonne nouvelle

Dr Elinor Shaffer FBA
Director, British Academy Network on Reception Studies Senior Research Fellow, Institute of Germanic & Romance Studies University of London

Professor Annick Duperray
Overseas Leader, British Academy Network on Reception Studies University of Aix-Marseille