Tuesday, 2 September 2008

Map and Directions

St. Edmund Hall is located on Queen's Lane in central Oxford, just off the High Street. A map is available here. You can also use Google maps to plot directions to and from the conference location.

Directions to Door 74 - where the conference dinner is to be held on Thursday evening - are available here, should you wish to make your own way there (a party will be walking there from college after drinks).

Conference Schedule

A copy of the conference shedule (.pdf) can be downloaded here

Thursday, 31 July 2008


The deadline for proposals has now passed, and those speaking should have been notified by e-mail. The registration form for the conference is available to download here. (Word document)

Wednesday, 2 July 2008

Extended Deadline

In light of the news about the guest-edited edition of Eighteenth-Century Life (see below), we have extended the deadline for our call for papers to FRIDAY 18TH JULY. The original CFP can be found below.

Monday, 30 June 2008

Publication Opportunity

There will be a guest-edited edition of Eighteenth-Century Life, publishing the most select of the contributions to our conference. There are a number of points we should like to make concerning this guest-issue. We will have 'right of first refusal' to papers from all participants, who must be ready to prepare scholarly, written, as well as orally-delivered papers.

The submission deadline for written articles will be Friday, December 19th, 2008; that is, three months after the conference. The guest-editors retain the right to refuse publication to any possible contribution.

Friday, 20 June 2008

Confirmed Speakers

We have a number of eminent academic speakers confirmed for September already, and we are currently receiving proposals from graduate students looking to take up this unique opportunity of joining them on panels.

Confirmed Speakers:

Keynote: Prof. Peter Sabor (McGill University)

Dr. Ros Ballaster (Mansfield College, Oxford), Prof. Temma Berg (Gettysburg College), Dr. Clare Brant (King's College, London), Prof. Pamela Clemit (Durham University), Dr. Christine Gerrard (Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford), Dr. Robert McNamee (Voltaire Foundation, Oxford), Dr. Abigail Williams (St. Peter's College, Oxford), Prof. David Womersley (St. Catherine's College, Oxford)

Send proposals of no more than 250 words to


Thursday, 15 May 2008

CFP - "I remain, &c.": Addressing the Eighteenth-Century Letter

Whether viewed as the dominant carrier of polite discourse, an expression of the self, or simply a markedly accessible literary form, the letter in the long eighteenth century has been the recent focus of critical study. Recent work by scholars such as Clare Brant and Lisa Jardine, and institutions such as the Centre for Editing Lives and Letters, attests to the potential of this written body of evidence for truly representative study of the period.

This conference interrogates eighteenth-century letters as material artefacts, their means of circulation, and pursues the theoretical ramifications of that interrogation. In addition, it will provide graduate students with guidance on how they may incorporate letters into their own research, through practical advice (where and how to find them) and practice-based seminar papers (scholars discussing their methodologies). The conference will consist of four distinct (but not sealed) sections:

“That word interlined is morning”: Writing letters

Are letters immediate or for posterity? Handwritten or printed? Intimate or declamatory? The letter eludes generic sorting; how do we address the issues surrounding the epistolary voice? Possible paper topics may include

- The consonance (or dissonance) of epistolary style with recipient, or purpose.
- Lives and letters; lives in letters; biography and editing.
- Letter writers calling attention to the material process of letter writing
- Letters as anthologies, commonplace books, or literary criticism
- The institutions governing (or failing to govern) the writing in letters.
- Anonymity/pseudonymity; amanuenses and scribes; forgeries
- Letters and the state.

Through the Lion’s Mouth: Circulating/Sending letters

Letters are a circulatory form. The means of distribution of letters can have a huge effect upon their meaning. Possible paper topics include:

- The post office; the coffee house; coteries
- State correspondence; espionage; censorship
- Overseas and domestic letters
- Words and things: letters accompanying goods; letters accompanying people; letters accompanying books.
- The lives of letters: sending, receiving, stealing, collecting, selling, archiving, publishing.

“Such bold and lively Strokes”: Reading letters

How/where/when did recipients read letters? How do we read letters, or read the readings of letters?

- Letters in the litter: the billet-doux.
- Letters and the body: the swung-dash; the construction of intimacy/enmity
- Shared/stolen readership of letters: reading aloud; letter’s and literacy; forwarding; copying out
- Letters and the law; letters and faith
- Imagined, desired, or figured readers
- Translating letters

“Podefar was misken”: Sorting Letters

The conference will conclude with a round-table discussion led by specialists in the field addressing the different uses of letters in research (finding letters in the archive, different forms of publication, theories of letters). Researchers will reflect upon their own practice and provide professional guidance, with discussion to follow.

We welcome proposals for 20 minute papers, particularly from graduate students. Closing date for submissions is Friday 27th June. Please send proposals of no more than 250 words to:


Stephen Bernard (Brasenose)
Claudine van Hensbergen (St Edmund Hall)
John McTague (St Catherine’s College)