Conference Review: New Work in Modernist Studies 2018

The Gothic turrets and daunting granite buildings of the University of Glasgow looked slightly ominous to a first-time paper presenter such as myself, walking up University Lane on a chilly Saturday in December last year. However, as soon I arrived at the New Work in Modernist Studies Conference (NWiMS), all thoughts of clammy hands and nerves dissipated immediately. NWiMS 2018 was a friendly, relaxed and inspiring one-day conference, hosted by the Scottish Network of Modernist Studies in conjunction with the Modernist Network Cymru the London Modernism Seminar, Modernism Studies Ireland, the Northern Modernist Seminar, the Midlands Modernist Network and the British Association of Modernism, attracting new researchers working on or around modernist studies from all over the UK.

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Editorial: An Open Letter to the James Joyce Community

The Modernist Review has taken the decision to publish an open letter regarding alleged sexual harassment and assault within the modernist studies community and, specifically, James Joyce studies. The letter and accompanying statement can be found here, signed by over 100 academics from around the world.

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An Open Letter to the James Joyce Community

James Joyce Open Letter statement

On November 8, 2018 (and again on December 12, 2018 with an altered form of address and an acknowledgement of the new bylaws passed by the International James Joyce Foundation as well as the James Joyce Quarterly’s response [with the permission of the signatories]), the letter below was sent to numerous representatives of James Joyce-affiliated organisations: namely, the James Joyce Italian Foundation, the Korean James Joyce Society, the Zurich James Joyce Foundation, the Dublin & Trieste Joyce Summer Schools, the James Joyce Society of Japan, and the Spanish James Joyce Society. Continue reading “An Open Letter to the James Joyce Community”

Conference Review: Innovation and Experiment in Contemporary Irish Fiction, KU Leuven

Aran Ward Sell, University of Edinburgh

As I walk into the old quarter of Leuven centre, where the Katholieke Universiteit is found, I encounter a small, strangely proportioned creature made of grey bronze, standing nimbly on its toes. It reads from an open book in one hand, while the other pours water over its own head from a beaker. The inscription informs me that this is Fons Sapiente – the source of wisdom. It’s an auspicious encounter en route to a literary conference – even if I am later to learn that the water which ‘Fonske’ pours into his cranium is variously interpreted either as representing wisdom itself, or, more mischievously, as beer, reflecting the boozy student culture which surrounds our seats of learning. I pause to take a photo of Fonske and move on, looking for the Irish College.

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BAMS Postgraduate Survey 2018

Following our 2017 findings, in October 2018 we launched an in-depth survey to gather feedback from PhD students working across the broad field of modernist studies throughout the UK. This survey has allowed us to develop our understanding of the general postgraduate community, as well as continue planning to better the support we offer as an association. We present the findings here.

We are exceptionally grateful to all those who filled out the survey and are taking the time to reflect on these results. Initially, what we have found cheering about is that – though there are undeniable systemic issues in academia – respondents feel valued by BAMS and are enjoying the events that we are organising as postgraduate representatives.

Outside of this survey, we have been listening to the feedback given to us at BAMS events and on Twitter. Responding to this, in the New Year we have a trio of special issues planned under the auspices of three excellent guest editors: Lilly Markaki will be editing an issue on Modernism Beyond the Literary, Will Carroll will be editing an issue on Modernism and Visual Culture, and Alana Sayers will be editing an issue on Decolonising Modernism. We are excited to be working alongside them. As ever, should you want to write for one of these issues, please email us.

If you would like to get involved with supporting PhDs across the country, the BAMS elections will soon be opening, and we have two Postgraduate Representative positions opening. Follow us on Twitter to keep up with all current news. 

GarethRuth, and Séan

The Editors

A Frightful Hobgoblin Stalks Through Modernism?

James Gifford, Fairleigh Dickinson University

It all started in another book… A prequel. After an archival project retracing global networks of late modernist radical poetry groups in the Second World War, I found several poets turned to popular pulp. And I don’t mean Day-Lewis’ punning mysteries as Nicholas Blake – more like the New Apocalypse’s Henry Treece, Ruthven Todd, or Alex Comfort. They wrote fantasy novels with magic and swords, or for Todd: cats in space. The post-war years were a time of need, and poetry (especially radical) never pays its bills. So, after picking up its tab and archival traces in Personal Modernisms, I wanted to relax with pulp. I wanted simplicity.

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Conference Review: Inaugral Conference of the International Society for the Study of Surrealism

November 1-3, 2018, Bucknell University, Pennsylvania, USA.

Diane Drouin, Sorbonne Université, Paris

The International Society for the Study of Surrealism (ISSS) held its inaugural conference at Bucknell University, in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, between November 1st and November 3rd, 2018. Diane Drouin, a Ph.D. candidate at Sorbonne Université in Paris, reflects on this groundbreaking conference.

The International Society for the Study of Surrealism (ISSS) is a new society dedicated to the study of Surrealism and of its legacies. The three day inaugural conference ‘Surrealisms,’ held at Bucknell University, Pennsylvania, was brilliantly organised by Roger Rothman (Bucknell University), Jonathan Eburne (Pennsylvania State University), Effie Rentzou (Princeton University), Abigail Susik (Willamette University), and Kathi Venios (Bucknell University), and brought together 150 international scholars and artists. Poets, painters, photographers, art collectors, filmmakers, Ph.D. students, and seasoned academics, with a common passion for Surrealism, gathered at Bucknell University.

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Gender and Femininity in Virginia Woolf’s Mrs Dalloway

Kirsty Hewitt, University of Glasgow

Gender-differentiated societal constructs have been heavily entrenched within public life for centuries. Throughout history, woman has always been suppressed to an extent, be it in the lack of an equal education, or in her expected subservience.  During the early-twentieth century, however, attitudes began to change.  Spheres such as University education were opened to women, and whilst for rather a long time there were limitations – not being able to graduate, for instance – change was on the horizon.  Gender and femininity correspondingly played a major role in the fiction of this period, and aspects of both prevail within Virginia Woolf’s Mrs Dalloway.  The disparity between femininity and masculinity against societal constraints is exercized; one can pick out characters who both reflect and discard the qualities of their sex in terms of perfection, and those who cross gender boundaries.

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Some Ekphrastic Poems on Eileen Agar’s Marine Object

Suzannah V. Evans, University of Durham

The following series of poems was inspired by a visit to the exhibition

Virginia Woolf: An Exhibition Inspired by her Writings at the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge, and more specifically, the poems are based on the piece Marine Object by Eileen Agar. A further series of these poems has been published in The London Magazine.

Laura Knight, The Dark Pool (1917), exhibited at Virginia Woolf: An Exhibition Inspired by her Writings at the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge.

[Laing Art Gallery, Newcastle. © Reproduced with permission of The Estate of Dame Laura Knight DBE RA 2018. All Rights Reserved.]

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