July 2010

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This entry on The Guardian's Theatre Blog might interest BSLS members, as might the discussion strand following it:

"Why does theatre plus science equal poor plays", by Alexis Soloski

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University of Stirling, 8-10 July 2011

Keynote speakers: Catherine Maxwell (Queen Mary, University of London), Don Paterson (Poet), and Susan J. Wolfson (Princeton University). Other speakers include John Drakakis (Stirling University), Lorna Hutson (University of St Andrews), Ron Levao (Rutgers University), Cornelia D. J. Pearsall (Smith College) and David G. Riede (Ohio State University)

This interdisciplinary conference seeks to explore the nature and representation of melancholia within poetry and its relationship to poetics and poetic creation from the Renaissance to the present. Drawing together contributors from Art History, Literature, Medical Humanities, Philosophy, and Print Media, Poetry and Melancholia will try to examine the variety of forms that melancholia has historically taken and extend its meaning beyond the social, medical and epistemological norms that had framed it as a sign of mental illness or a way of behaving to that of a cultural idea. We aim to define not only the different configurations and significance of melancholia as mood, feeling, state of mind, and a cultural outlook but also the role that modernity has played in its development from a medical discourse to a dispositional perspective.

Themes: Aesthetics: the sublime, art and longing, decadence, narcissism and loss, revelations of destruction, degeneration, eroticism, melancholy genius, nostalgia, spleen, the states of boredom; Affect: sensibility, solitude and alienation, despair, grief, suffering and sadness, distorted senses, mood as language, psychology, transference, the workings of sympathy, haunting and return; Biomedical sciences: clinical depression, malady, delirium, humors, mental derangement, physiology and pathologies of the mind, psychoanalytic workings of mourning, somatic conditions; Nature, Space, and Landscape: landscape and distance, the resistance of physical objects, conflicts with nature, interior distance and phenomenology; Poetics: creativity, idleness and labour, imagination, inspiration and delirium, the politics of form and genre (allegory, elegy, lyric, and pastoral, etc.), poetry’s relation to the visual and plastic arts; Tradition and History: appropriations of classical theories of melancholia, the idea of tainted inheritance, the traditions of witchcraft and the demonic, the past as loss, writing and memory; Sociology: alienation, anomalies of self-consciousness and the will, fragmentation and conflicts of modernity, otherness, gender, class, race, sexuality, social role of the poet, suicide.

Please submit 300 word abstracts for 20 minute papers or proposals for panels together with a short biographical note or CV to Kyriaki Hadjiafxendi and David Miller at poetryandmelancholia@stir.ac.uk by no later than 15 January 2011.

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