CFP: William Cowper, Art and Afterlife

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Olney, Buckinghamshire

3–4 September 2021

Call for papers from postgraduate students and early-career researchers for a two-day seminar on
William Cowper.

Cowper lived in and around Olney from 1768 to 1795, and it was here that he wrote Olney
Hymns (1779) with John Newton, Poems (1782), The Task (1785), and translated Homer. The
seminar will be centred on Cowper’s career in verse (hymns, poems, and translations), with a
particular focus on the formal and stylistic elements of this writing. Among a range of potential
subjects, papers may wish to address Cowper’s place in the satirical tradition, the potential for
ecocritical and environmental approaches to poems such as ‘Yardley Oak’ and ‘The Cast-away’,
or Cowper’s critical heritage from Wordsworth and Coleridge to Empson and Davie.

Proposals should be in the form of 150-word abstracts for fifteen- to twenty-minute papers.
Papers will be delivered in a sedentary roundtable format, with fifteen minutes for questions and
conversation. No fee will be charged to postgraduates and / or early career researchers who are
selected to give a paper, and we will provide them with free accommodation and meals.
Speakers include: Will Bowers (QMUL), Alexandra Harris (Birmingham), Andrew Hodgson
(Birmingham), Gregory Leadbetter (Birmingham City), and Fiona Stafford (Oxford).

Email abstracts to and by 5th June 2021