Special Session CFPs

Please submit paper abstracts directly to the organizers listed for each session. Unless otherwise
noted, abstracts should be 250 words for 15-minute papers. Session organizers will select the
papers best suited to their purposes, and pass on the rest to the main conference committee for
vetting. Deadline for submissions is January 15, 2013.

The Aesthetics of Trance (Kristin M. Girten, University of Nebraska, Omaha)

Trance states recur throughout Romantic literature as an indicator and source of psychological
transport. What do such states of psychological suspension entail? Brandy Schillace characterizes
the trance episodes that punctuate Ann Radcliffe’s gothic novel, The Mysteries of Udolpho, as
symptomatic of epilepsy. In contrast, Robert Mitchell associates Shelley’s and Keats’s “trance
poetics” with radical psychological as well as political emancipation. For the former scholar, the
aesthetics of trance signifies neurological disability; for the latter, it portrays and even enables
psychological triumph.

This session will explore the implications of, as well as the motivations behind, the aesthetics
of trance and the transport it implies with the goal of broadening scholars’ understanding of the
significance of suspended psychological states within the literature of Romanticism. The potential
implications of the aesthetics of trance are many. Does it document a paralysis of the will? Or
does it convey the possibility of the fulfillment of the will? Might it rather portray a dull sense
of ennui? Perhaps it even inspires a state of psychological suspension in the reader? Panelists
participating in the session will encourage a nuanced and varied appreciation of the aesthetics of
trance by analyzing diverse appearances of it within the poetry and prose of Romanticism.

abstracts to: kgirten@unomaha.edu

Bodies in Space (Tom Crochunis, Shippensburg University)

This panel will focus on the ways in which bodily movement was performed, viewed, and
interpreted in the Romantic era in relation to particular significant spaces. Papers might focus on
theatrical or other public performances, athletics, or other social/cultural performances in which
bodies played an important role.

1-page abstracts of proposed presentations to Tom Crochunis at tccroc@ship.edu

John Thelwall’s Movements (Judith Thompason, Dalhousie University)
Special Session Sponsored by the John Thelwall Society

John Thelwall was a figure of romantic mobility. From the earliest eccentric excursions of this
politico-sentimental Peripatetic to the political and elocutionary lecture tours, both national
and international, that continued until the moment of his death, he covered a lot of ground
geographically, culturally, philosophically and rhetorically, connecting disparate communities
and shaping literary history in ways that scholars are only now beginning to understand. As
Thelwall has moved from the margins to the centre of romantic studies in recent years, the
John Thelwall Society has been founded to celebrate, study, collect the archive and encourage further exploration of the versatile voice and mind, arts and acts, of this remarkable romantic-era

To this end, we invite papers on any aspect of Thelwall’s movements, including his literal travels;
representations of travel and territory in his work; his ideological and formal eccentricity and
experimentation; his theories of measure and prosody; his elocutionary practice or pedagogy;
his transnational tours, interests, activities and influence(s); his literary, political or professional
connections; his relation to philosophical and critical movements in his own time (Jacobinism,
Della Cruscanism, feminism, abolitionism, elocution), and in ours (including his movement from
background to foreground in romantic studies). Presenters need not be members of the John Thelwall Society.

abstracts to: Judith.Thompson@dal.ca

Metrical Movements (Charles Mahoney, University of Connecticut)

To what degree might Romanticism be productively thought of as a matter of meter? What are
the most representative as well as the most idiosyncratic meters of Romantic poetry? And how
do these meters, these peculiar measurements, represent not only the ways in which Romantic
poetry moves (to what ends?) but also Romanticism as a move-ment? Taking into considerationthat meter names both idealized patterns (of sound, in verse) as well as the cultural and politicalassociations of these patterns, this panel solicits contributions which reflect on the ways in which meter moves Romanticism—and patterns its movements.

abstracts to: 500-word abstracts to charles.mahoney@uconn.edu

Movements of Past and Present: Aesthetics and Genealogy (Magdalena Ostas, Boston

Tracing lines from the past to the present and through to the future, the writing of genealogy
is a deeply evaluative and transformational gesture. Through it, the present becomes legible
and meaningful to itself, and the backwards glance thus becomes a means of legitimating,
interrogating, or undermining the orientation and situation of the present moment. Through
genealogy, the present thus reveals itself to be essentially in movement and, like the past, always
in transformation.

This panel seeks to articulate ways in which our own understanding of what is called “aesthetics”
forms a genealogical line to or from Romanticism. What are the claims, contours, and stakes of
Romantic aesthetic theory, and how do they come to be taken up, rethought, reevaluated, and
reshaped throughout the nineteenth century and especially in our own critical climate? Papers for
this special session are welcome that address the claims of Romantic aesthetics and the vexed,
dynamic relations of those claims to the tenets and inclinations that structure the contemporary
study of Romantic literature and philosophy.

abstracts to: mostas@bu.edu

Moving Pictures (Sophie Thomas, Ryerson University)

From Wordsworth’s cave of Yordas, with its “shapes, and forms, and tendencies to shape, / That
shift and vanish, change and interchange” (The Prelude 1805, 8:721-22), to Coleridge’s “The
Picture,” with its dispersal of the beloved’s watery image, to Philipsthal’s Phantasmagoria
shows, with their looming apparitions projected by mysterious means across darkened rooms,
Romanticism is haunted by encounters with images that will not sit still. This special session
seeks to explore, in broad terms, the mobilization of the visual in Romanticism. Topics
could include: the development of visual technologies that literally made images move (the
Eidophusikon, the Diorama, the moving panorama); the dissolving view; the science of vision
and ‘techniques’ of observation; vision in motion, as might be experienced from a ship, a
balloon, or by the roving eye of the picturesque tourist; moving among pictures at galleries
and exhibitions; traveling picture shows; the moving images of the imagination; hallucination/
animation; natural forms and their movements.

abstracts to: sophie.thomas@ryerson.ca

Moving Through the Passions in Romantic Women’s Writing (M. Soledad Caballero,
Allegheny College)

As Geoffrey Sills argues in his study of the passions and the rise of the British novel, something
happens to the general understanding of “the passions” throughout the eighteenth century, such
that an area considered relatively stable and consistent since the Classical age invites scrutiny,
angst, and exploration from writers across the political and social spectrum. By the century’s
end, the “passions” of social and political movements register across the literary landscape of the
Romantic era. As discoveries in science and medicine emerged in the seventeenth century and
informed philosophers and writers’ understandings and expectations of “the passions,” this area
of human spiritual, political, and aesthetic experience shifts in the literary and cultural landscape
of the Romantic age.

What the passions are, where they are located in human subjectivity, who experiences them,
under what conditions, and the extent to which they are internally or externally made manifest
ignites new interest regarding their place in the natural and social world. This panel seeks to
explore the diversity of understanding around conceptualizations of “the passions” in Romantic
women’s writing. How do conceptualizations of the passions move within texts and across texts
written by women of the period? To what extent do figurations of the passions shift in relation
to generic form, political affiliations, class-status or racial configurations? To what extent are
representations of the passions static or shifting across texts written by women?

abstracts to: scaballe@allegheny.edu

Nordic Exchanges: Transfers and Transactions (Robert Rix, University of Aalborg; Lis Møller, University of Aalborg)

One of the best-known of romantic paintings was chosen as an emblem of this conference: Caspar
David Friedrich’s The Sea of Ice (1823-4), depicting a frail wooden ship crushed by huge slabs
of ice, piling up under a cold blue Northern sky. If this painting symbolizes the attraction the
North had for European romantics, its very prominence in the canon also testifies to a critical
perception that can be summarized in a few points: (1) Romanticism is rooted exclusively in the
Bermuda Triangle of Germany, Britain and France, (2) the romanticisms of the Nordic countries
(Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Iceland) are mainly derivative, (3) and their influence
outside the Nordic region is negligible. The purpose of this workshop is to test – and perhaps
contest – this hackneyed image. And whereas “romantic Orientalism” has received its fair share
of critical interest, the Friedrich painting bespeaks a contemporary interest in the Northern themes
and landscapes, which warrants attention.

We welcome papers on individual Nordic romantics, but even more so on interaction, exchange,
and cross-fertilization between Nordic and other romanticisms. Furthermore, the workshop
wishes to explore the image of the North (Nordic landscapes, climate, culture, history, folklore,
and mythology) in the romantic imagination. Topics for papers could also include travel reports –
real or imaginary – focussed on the North or the Nordic countries.

abstracts to: rix@cgs.aau.dk and litlm@hum.au.dk

Romantic Movements and Walter Scott’s Poetry (John Knox, University of South Carolina)

With the editing of Scott’s poetry now well underway, and in keeping with the conference theme,
the panel invites proposals that explore Scott’s place in a larger Romantic “movement.” How, we
might ask, has our neglect of Scott’s poetry shaped our understanding of Romantic poetry to this
point, and, conversely, what kinds of critical moves will be required to include him? The panel is
especially interested in proposals that focus on Scott’s early verse romances, although proposals
that consider Scott’s poetry in relation to his novels or in relation to other Romantic poets are also

abstracts to: knoxt@email.sc.edu

Romantic Movement Space (Christoph Bode, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München)
Special Session sponsored by the German Society for English Romanticism (GER)

Note: Session is for the NASSR 2013 conference in Boston and not for the joint NASSR-GER Munich
conference on “Romanticism and Knowledge” in October 2013.

This session welcomes proposals on how space is constituted through physical/imaginary/
discursive movement. The emphasis should be on how subjective movement is not only used
to map ‘objective’ space, but to actually evoke and construct a space that can no longer be seen
as absolute, but is irreducibly dependent on (dis-)continuous flows of experience and discrete
discursive acts – and therefore inevitably temporal.

abstracts to: Christoph.bode@anglistik.uni-muenchen.de (500 words, and brief vita)

Romantic Waste (Richard Sha, American University)

I propose a session on Romantic shit. On the one end, I hope for papers that take Zizek’s work on
toilets as ideology seriously: what does the history of Romantic waste/filth say about Romantic
ideology? Such work may consider the transition from chamber pots to sewers, or the ideology
of the water closet. Such work might also consider Blake’s or Coleridge’s or the caricaturist
Gillray’s ample bowels. On the other end, I aspire for papers taking Harry Frankfurt’s On Bullshit as the muse. Frankfurt argues that bullshitters are more of a threat to the truth than liars
because while liars recognize the line between truth and falsehood, bullshitters are indifferent to
that line. We know that Coleridge was a plagiarist, but what does it mean to think of him as a
liar or bullshitter? This session asks, what kinds of truths can shit reveal? What are its cultural
logics? In a nod to Christopher Rovee’s piece on Keats and trash, what is the cultural work of
trash? Papers might also address the legal and medical implications of shit: after all, dirt and filth
became medicalized as the sources of contagion and disease during this period.

abstracts to: rcsha@american.edu

Romanticism and Utopianism (Regina Hewitt, University of South Florida)
Special Session Sponsored by the European Romantic Review (ERR)

This session invites papers exploring the intersections of Romanticism with the Utopian
movements that surged during this period as Owenites and Rappites, Fourierists and Saint
Simonians, evangelicals and revolutionaries, philosophers and poets envisioned new worlds.
Papers might consider whether Romanticism is inherently Utopian, or they might challenge or
reaffirm long-standing characterizations of some Romantic-era writers, such as Percy or Mary
Shelley, as Utopian. They might analyze how movements away from “blueprint” Utopias in the
theories of Lucy Sargisson, Ruth Levitas, or other present-day theorists affect our understanding
of Romantic Utopianism. They might examine the gendered, nationalistic, or trans-, anti-, or post-
nationalistic inflections of Romantic-era Utopian thought, or address the relationship between this
era’s Utopian hopes and Dystopian fears.

abstracts to: euroromrev@earthlink.net

Romanticism’s Peace Movement (John Bugg, Fordham University)

“Peace is not an absence of war,” wrote Spinoza, “it is a virtue, a state of mind, a disposition for
benevolence, confidence, justice.” This panel will proceed from Spinoza’s notion that peace is an
active principle rather than a void characterizing periods between military conflict. The years
between the storming of the Bastille and the defeat of Napoleon have traditionally been
understood as a time of continual war, an era of violent bloodshed over issues of land, class,
nation, and resources. But to view the Romantic era exclusively through the lens of war runs the
risk of overlooking the significant reaching after peace that also characterizes the period, a
process reflected in the unprecedented number of treaties produced at this time, from the Peace
of Paris in 1783 to the London Straits Convention of 1841. Attempts to theorize, to imagine, and
most importantly, to bring about peace, were significant if often overlooked forces in Romantic-
era culture, a culture preoccupied not only with conflict but with conflict resolution.

abstracts to: bugg@fordham.edu

Romanticism, Slavery, Abolition, and Emancipation (Joselyn Almeida-Beveridge, University
of Massachusetts, Amherst; Alan Richardson, Boston College)

In this panel, we invite papers that extend existing scholarship on Romanticism and the Black
Atlantic. Papers might address topics that include, but are not limited to literature and its relation to movements such as abolition and emancipation; tropes of anti-slavery; British Creoles; Black
Cosmopolitanism; visual and material culture; gender and abolition; representations of race
and enslavement; the circulation and reception of anti-slavery writers; resistance movements,
uprisings, and revolts; anti-slavery leaders; colonialism and abolition; literary and material
circuits between the geographies of enslavement, abolition, and emancipation.

abstracts to: almeidab@english.umass.edu

Romantic Translation / Transcreation (Daniel DeWispelare, George Washington University)

This panel seeks papers that investigate theories, controversies, and trajectories of translation as
they were elaborated in relation to (and perhaps even as the preconditions of) Romantic writing.
Proposals for papers addressing particularly prolific or influential translators (or, in a more
radical recent formulation, transcreators) are also encouraged, for this panel will ideally become
a forum for linking together developments as diverse as the transcreated poetry of Sir William
Jones, Coleridge’s strange renderings of German epistemology, and the thinking of writers
like Thomas De Quincey, who, toward the end of the period, tellingly remarked, “So it is with
literatures of whatsoever land: unless crossed by some other of different breed, they all tend to

Potential starting points include but are by no means limited to translation and cultural
tradition, translation and religious practice, translation and empire (both from theoretical and
institutional perspectives), translation and philosophy, translation and dialect, and translation and
transcreation. Ideally, the panel will approach translation from as many angles as possible, all the
while keeping alive an interest in how translation practices might have created the very conditions
of possibility for the Romantic-era social formations and aesthetic advances that we hold dear.

abstracts to: dewispelare@email.gwu.edu

Shelleyean Movements (Matthew Borushko, Stonehill College)

This special session aims to reexamine the place of Percy Bysshe Shelley’s writings in later
aesthetic, political, and theoretical movements, broadly conceived, including – but not limited
to – the Chartist movement, the Pre-Raphaelite movement, British socialist movements, the
aestheticist movement, movements in Marxian theory and praxis, as well as any other reformist,
radical, or anarchist movement that draws on Shelley’s thought.

abstracts to: mborushko@stonehill.edu

Textual Migrations (Michelle Levy, Simon Fraser University)

How did texts migrate between different media in the Romantic period, and how might these
migration patterns be specific to Romanticism? This panel will provide an opportunity to
share research that examines and theorizes the movement of texts across multiple media. We
know that many texts moved in conventional directions – from oral to handwritten forms, and
from manuscript to print – as they had for centuries – but what is historically specific about
these movements during the period? While a great deal of writing was produced directly for
print, a significant amount first circulated amongst domestic circles and coteries, either orally
or in handwritten form: manuscript circulation, recitations, sermons, speeches, lectures. But
texts also migrated in less usual directions. Commonplacing of select passages and copying of
shorter works into albums were widespread practices, and surviving manuscripts suggest that
more extensive copying from print was also done when a printed text was difficult to obtain.
Other topics could include the migration of texts between various print media: that is, between
newspapers, magazines, anthologies, collected works, etc. Papers are welcomed on any aspect of
textual migrations, and their significance, during the period.

abstracts to: mnl@sfu.ca

Theory for Romanticism (Andrew Warren, Harvard University)

Note: The format of this session will consist of a series of short presentations of about 10 minutes in length, followed by a roundtable discussion among the participants and, finally, an audience Q&A.

This panel is looking for papers that address how theory is being, or can be, or has been used
to read and think with Romantic texts. While more general approaches are welcome, proposals
showing how a particular theoretical concept works in, or against, particular works are especially
encouraged. The hope is to create a lively roundtable discussion that helps define or problematize
crucial terms and questions in the field. What might it mean, for instance, to put “theory”
to “use”? What counts as “theory,” and who’s counting? How is theory limited or actuated
by “concepts”? How has a particular concept been used or abused in the history of Romantic
studies? How do we as Romanticists seem to be engaging with theory now? How should we, if
at all?

abstracts to: warren@fas.harvard.edu

Unmoving and Unmoved: Charting the Contours of Stoic Romanticism (Jacob Risinger,
Harvard University)

In “The Four Ages of Poetry” (1820), Thomas Love Peacock made the satirical
assertion that poetry’s highest aspirations were limited to three categories: “the rant of
unregulated passion, the whining of exaggerated feeling, and the cant of factitious
sentiment.” But beneath his satire, Peacock raised a more disquieting point: in overemphasizing
affective extremity at the expense of “the philosophic mental tranquility that looks round
with an equal eye on all external things,” poetry in the romantic age risked disconnection
from “the real business of life.”

This panel takes Peacock’s assessment as a prompt for a broad investigation: what
should be made of the affectless, stoical substratum that complements romanticism’s
“spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings”? How do everyday states of disinterestedness,
indifference, insensibility, and stoic apatheia round out our picture of what romantic poesis
entails? Do the stoical preoccupations of figures like Rousseau, Kant, Smith, or Godwin
inflect their influence on the literature of the period? What debts do literary and
philosophical manifestations of stoic apathy owe to romantic period politics, science, and
medicine? How might an emphasis of romantic dispassion alter our sense of gender,
cosmopolitanism, or the relationship between history and literature in the period?

abstracts to: risinger@fas.harvard.edu

Void Theory: Voids, The Void, and Avoidance (Elizabeth Fay, University of Massachusetts,

This session addresses the Romantic conception of the void, traditionally a phenomenon referring
to that from which the cosmos was created, but during the Romantic period also associated with
the abyss, part of the sublime landscape, and to the gateway figure of the precipice. The void
was also aligned with the idea of an internal void. Romantic irony incorporates the concept of
internal void; sublime experience is characterized by the voiding of selfhood in order to join
with a greater, external subjectivity; consumerism masks the internal void by filling up an
unacknowledged emptiness. Avoidance practices, deflecting the terror of the void by busying the
mind and senses, fill the period’s literature as representation or through cultural critique. When
brought into conversation, the void, the abyss, and avoidance constellate the elements of what
might be called “void theory,” providing a way to think productively about cosmic and individual
emptiness, and the avoidance of experiencing nightmarish versions of either. The first two are the
dark shadow of Romantic transcendence; the third is the dark twin of consumer desire as well as
of the cultural fascination with melancholia.

Papers are invited that consider philosophical or theological conceptions of the cosmic void,
literary uses of the void or the sublime precipice and abyss, material or embodied avoidance
practices, or any combination of these. This topic also lends itself to geological theories, cosmic
history, discoveries made through scientific and medical breakthroughs and theories, searches for
the origins of human culture, commodity culture, and travel writing.

abstracts to: elizabeth.fay@umb.edu

The Romantic-Age Lecture: Comparative Perspectives (Jon Klancher, Carnegie Mellon University; Sean Franzel, University of Missouri, Columbia)

We seek papers that present new perspectives on Romantic cultures of lecturing. What are the benefits of taking the lecture as a point of departure for approaching the knowledge production, media landscapes, and/or forms of institutional life and public personality of the period? We hope to juxtapose critical frameworks that might allow us as a panel to begin comparing the cultures of lecturing in Romantic-era Europe, Britain, and North America, building on a range of new work on the lecture in specific national traditions.

Possible topics might include: institutional situations of lecturers; lecturing in universities/ academies/learned societies/private situations; “private”/“public” lecturing; itinerant lecturers; the relationship of the Romantic lecture to disciplinary specialization or crossing knowledge boundaries; the relationship of the Romantic lecture to literary canon formation; the extent to which lectures stimulate or criticize social or cultural movements as collective projects; resonances of the lecture in print; the relationship of printed lectures to other genres/forms (sermon, scholarly treatise, literary criticism); the media ecology of the lecture: print vs. orality, the performance situation; differences/similarities/lines of influence between scholarly lecturing across national traditions (Britain-Continent, Britain-N.America, Germany-France, Scandinavia, etc.).

500 word abstracts to: franzels@missouri.edu and jk2@andrew.cmu.edu