Recent Conference: Queer Romanticism

Amanda Berry, of Rhode Island School of Design, sends this participant’s report on a recent conference in Dublin:

Last month, August 15 -16, 2003, I was privileged to attend a two-day international conference on Queer Romanticism that took place at the Women's Education, Research and Resources Center at University College in Dublin. The event was splendidly organized by Michael O'Rourke (U.C. Dublin) and David Collings (Bowdoin College). Many thanks to Michael and David! Papers were presented continuously on both days, [cont'd]

beginning with a talk by George Haggerty (U.C. Riverside) on transgressive social-sexual relations in the trope of gothic terror and closing with Eric Clarke's (U. Pittsburgh) paper on homoeroticism, "lifestyle," and Kant's ethics, which began with a close reading of Kant's uncharacteristic request, during the last days of his life, for a kiss from his friend, Pastor Wasianski.

The projects that were presented at the conference varied a great deal in scope and method. Caroline Kimberley presented here work on the homosocial nature of the "trouble" the Keats circle had putting his biography together. Laura George talked about the importance of the Romantic "Thing" inside a project to queer the imagination of commodities during the period. Fiona Brideoake presented her ongoing work on The Ladies of Llangolen's attempts to invent a lesbian culture through especially their work to a amass a gigantic and very particularly chosen private library. Joe Rezek presented his work on the logic of the closet and "passing as a wife" in Amelia Opie's Adeline Mowbray. There were many more excellent presentations, by Richard Sha, Mair Rigby, Hal Gladfelder, Arnold Markley, Bridget Keegan, and others.

Given the relatively intimate structure of the conference--there were about 18 participants--we were all able to hear each other present and engage in a relatively fluid and ongoing discussion of queer work in the field and varying methodological approaches to thinking sex during the Romantic period. I understand that Romanticism on the Net will publish at least some of the papers given in Dublin sometime this spring. I look forward to that issue and hope anyone else interested in the topic(s) will take a look, as well.

Mandy Berry

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