July 1817 saw two deaths – of Jane Austen, an English novelist with a solid but relatively modest success, and of Germaine de Staël, a long-standing superstar of pan-European intellectual, political and literary life. Over the two centuries since, the relative reputations of these two writers have re-aligned in ways that would have astonished their contemporaries, admirers and critics alike.
This joint anniversary provides an unrivalled opportunity to bring scholars together to reflect on the connections, continuities, and contrasts between these two writers’ careers both in their lifetimes and after, and to think about the waxing and waning across Europe and beyond of the literary reputations of eighteenth-century and Romantic-period women writers more generally.
The organisers invite submissions of 20 minute papers. Topics might include, but are not limited to:
Connections and continuities between Austen and Staël (including, for instance, Austen’s familiarity with/awareness of the writings of Staël and vice versa, or their dealings with the firm that published them both – John Murray)
The reputations and reception of women writers in Europe and beyond, both in their own lifetimes and subsequently
Contemporary and subsequent models for the woman writer, thinker and genius
The celebration of women writers, including portraiture, biography, the fame of associated place, commemorative events
The sale, import, export, translation, abridgement, extraction, illustration, adaptation of the works of women writers from their lifetimes to the present
Echoes, influence, and reiterations, especially those women writers described as ‘other’ Austens and Staëls in Europe and America
The changing relative placement of these writers in relation (for instance) to notions of the centre and the periphery, thecosmopolitan and the national, the hierarchies of genre
The futures of reading and teaching women’s writing of the period
Other anniversaries associated with women writers falling in 1817 (such as, for instance, the career-defining publication in London and Paris of Sydney Owenson/Lady Morgan’s France).
Please send 300 word abstracts to Sandy White at the University of Southampton: firstname.lastname@example.org by Friday, December 2nd, 2016.