CFP: The Shelley Conference, Friday 15th September 2017, London

Please see below (and the website) for a Call for Papers for a conference on the work on Percy Bysshe Shelley and Mary Shelley, to be held in London next year.


CFP: The Shelley Conference 2017

Date: Friday 15th September 2017 (9.30am to 5pm, to be followed by a wine reception)

Location: Institute for English Studies, London

Keynote speakers: Prof. Nora Crook (Anglia Ruskin University), Prof. Michael O’Neill (Durham University)

A presentation will also be given by the editors of The Longman Shelley (Kelvin Everest, Michael Rossington, Jack Donovan and Will Bowers) on progress towards completion of the edition, and future plans.

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This one-day conference, held at the Institute for English Studies in central London, and supported by the Centre for Eighteenth Century Studies, University of York, celebrates the writings of two major authors from the Romantic Period: Percy Bysshe Shelley (PBS) and Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley (MWS).

A continuing scholarly fascination with all things ‘Shelley’ is due in part to the unprecedented access we now have to their texts (in annotated scholarly editions) and manuscripts (presented in facsimile and transcript). The Shelleys’ works are more readily available than ever before. Michael Rossington, when discussing the task of editing PBS, emphasises the complexity of the poet’s afterlife, especially in comparison to other Romantic authors:

It will have taken nearly 200 years from his death for complete scholarly editions of his oeuvre to emerge. The absence of such fundamental resources has been, and remains, to student and non-specialist alike, a cause of puzzlement, if not consternation, especially since complete works of other Romantic poets are available in more than one modern scholarly edition.[1]

Similarly, the lack of an annual or even frequent conference dedicated to PBS (comparable to those that exist for other Romantic writers) has prompted the decision to organise this event for 2017. Excitingly it is now, in the first part of the 21st century, that the most detailed comprehensive editions of PBS’s works are in production (The Complete Poetry of Percy Bysshe Shelley ed. Donald Reiman, Neil Fraistat and Nora Crook is already well advanced, with Vol VII published soon, and The Poems of Shelley ed. Kelvin Everest, G. M. Matthews, Michael Rossington and Jack Donovan is nearing completion).[2]

Previous conferences at Gregynog in 1978, 1980, and 1992 and the Percy Shelley Bicentennial Conference in New York in 1992 have provided a wonderful legacy for future Shelleyan academics, and it is in the spirit of these events that we will present The Shelley Conference 2017. We include MWS in this new conference, as she also does not have her own regular academic event. However, the recent conference ‘Beyond Frankenstein’s Shadow’ (Nancy, France, 2016) focused specifically on MWS, and the emphasis placed on her work at the ‘Summer of 1816’ conference (Sheffield, 2016) indicated that her role on the main stage of Romanticism is increasingly appreciated.

It is for these reasons that the ‘Shelley’ of the conference title is left ambiguous. The Shelleys are increasingly seen as a collaborative literary partnership, and modern criticism reinforces the importance of reading their works in parallel. The nuances of this, however, are far from simple, and this statement does not imply there is anything like a sense of either consistent ‘unity’ or ‘conflict’ when considering the Shelleys’ literary relationship. This is the kind of issue which will be explored at The Shelley Conference 2017.

The conference organisers request abstracts of 200 words for 20-minute papers, sent to before 1st April 2017. Papers can be on any aspect of the work of PBS or MWS (or both). The conference particularly welcomes papers that consider the task of editing Shelley, and/or examination of the manuscripts of PBS and MWS. Other topics can include, but are not limited to:

  • Works by PBS or MWS written or published in 1817 (e.g. the jointly authored History of a Six Weeks’ Tour including ‘Mont Blanc’)
  • Shelleyan philosophy
  • PBS’s lyrics/lyric art
  • MWS’s posthumous editing of PBS
  • PBS’s prose works
  • MWS’s novels after Frankenstein
  • The 1816 Geneva Summer
  • The Shelleys & place (Italy, London…)
  • The Shelleys’ influences
  • The critical history of the Shelleys
  • The Shelleys’ translations
  • The Shelleys and genre
  • The collaboration of PBS and MWS
  • Literary communities: Shelley and his circle


Event Organisers:

Anna Mercer (PhD candidate, University of York),
Harrie Neal (PhD candidate, University of York),

Advisory Board: 

Prof. Kelvin Everest (University of Liverpool)
Prof. Michael Rossington (Newcastle University)



[1] Michael Rossington, ‘Editing Shelley’ in The Oxford Handbook to Percy Bysshe Shelley ed. Michael O’Neill, Anthony Howe and Madeleine Callaghan (Oxford: OUP, 2013) p. 645.

[2] The Complete Poetry of Percy Bysshe Shelley ed. Donald Reiman, Neil Fraistat and Nora Crook (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP. 3 vols to date. 2000, 2004, 2012) and The Poems of Shelley ed. Kelvin Everest, G. M. Matthews, Michael Rossington and Jack Donovan (London: Longman. 4 vols to date. 1989, 2000, 2011, 2013).

2 thoughts on “CFP: The Shelley Conference, Friday 15th September 2017, London

  1. naomi LIGHTMAN

    Would a proposal for a paper on P. Shelley’s influence on John Ruskin be of interest to the conference?

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