Call for Papers: The Wye Valley in Wales

Posted in Calls for Papers by Editor on November 26, 2010

The Wye Valley: Romantic Representations, 1640–1830
Tintern, Monmouthshire, Wales, 6-8 July 2011

Proposals due by 1 January 2011

The aim of this international conference – held on the banks of the Wye at Tintern, with views over to the abbey ruins – is to revisit one of Britain’s paradigmatic cultural sites: the Wye Valley. From Thomas Traherne and Henry Vaughan to William Wordsworth and S. T. Coleridge, from the Early Modern period to Romanticism, this resonant ground has been central to British poetry, art, aesthetic theory, picturesque tourism and political intervention. The borderspace from Pumlumon to Chepstow became one of the great internalised cartographies of the seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. It is time to trace the flow of Wordsworth’s famous ‘wanderer through the woods’ anew in order to reconsider the conditioning influence this frontier-river had on the literary, artistic and cultural imagination of the age.

The Wye Valley: Romantic Representations will examine a broad spectrum of negotiations with the Wye Valley during the period 1640–1830, following in the footsteps and waterwakes of the period’s commentators, authors and artists. How might we ‘revisit’ the Wye Valley in order to defamiliarise the myriad responses to this landscape? What is the extent of the Wye Valley’s ‘reach’ into the various cultures of the age? What are the contours of various ‘cross-border’ negotiations with the Wye? The conference will bring international scholars together to examine a crucial section of the Welsh and British map.

The conference will take place at the heart of Tintern, a few hundred yards from the abbey and the river. Hotels and B&Bs are located within a couple of minutes’ walk. Possible excursions include the Piercefield picturesque estate, the wooded hills overlooking the valley, the castle at Chepstow, the famous iron forges along the impressive Angidy Valley and of course the Abbey itself. 20-minute papers are invited in any relevant area; suggestions are given below. Please email abstracts of c. 300 words to Stephanie Churms (scc09@aber.ac.uk) by 1 January 2011.

  • Literatures of the Wye: Traherne, Vaughan, Dyer, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Southey, Thelwall, Landor, Cottle, Southey, Davy etc.
  • The Picturesque: Gray, Gilpin, Price, Knight etc.
  • Picturing Wye: Turner, Sandby, Cotman, Rowlandson, Rooker etc.
  • Borders and Borderspaces
  • The Political Wye
  • The Aesthetics and Politics of the Wye Tour
  • The Gendered Wye
  • Devolving Romanticism
  • New Historicism
  • Wye = Gwy: Welsh Writing
  • Folk and Local Histories
  • Topographies and Cartographies
  • The Working Wye
  • Anthropologies of the Wye
  • Rivers, Estuaries, Tributaries

Organisers: Tim Fulford (Nottingham Trent University) and Damian Walford Davies (Aberystwyth University)

Keynote speakers: Suzanne Matheson (University of Windsor, Canada) and Fiona Stafford (Somerville College, Oxford)

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