School of English Literature, Language and Linguistics

News Item

William Godwin: Forms, Fears, Futures

A one-day conference will be held in the Percy Building, Newcastle University, on Saturday 24th June 2017.

Confirmed plenary speakers: Professor Mark Philp (Warwick) and Dr David O’Shaughnessy (Trinity College Dublin): Forms, Fears, Futures Conference Programme (PDF 126KB)

Registration fee: £20 (waived for Newcastle staff and students); Postgraduate travel bursaries available.  Please register here.

We aim to foster a spirit of lively discussion and structured debate and to explore the full range of Godwin’s thought, writing, and influence. Abstracts are sought for twenty-minute papers which respond to one of the three panels: Forms, Fears, and Futures.

William Godwin is perhaps today best-known for his 1793 political treatise Enquiry Concerning Political Justice and its Influence on Morals and Happiness, and for the novel which explored the ideas developed in Political Justice, Things as They Are; or, The Adventures of Caleb Williams (1794). As a Romantic-period author and figure, however, he is often subsumed within his family circle and the drama of their overlapped personal lives and works.

This event aims instead to place Godwin and his works squarely centre-stage. While we acknowledge the value of reading Godwin as part of a kin- and friendship coterie that included Mary Wollstonecraft, Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Lord Byron and Thomas Peacock among others, we are interested in what happens when we consider Godwin first and foremost as an author and thinker in his own right. What new perspectives and readings are afforded us? What texts and approaches have been overlooked – or overstudied? What is Godwin’s legacy, and where next for Godwin studies?

The day will be structured as three themed panels, followed by a roundtable led by Professor Matthew Grenby (Newcastle) on the topic ‘the future of Godwin studies’. Each panel will be opened by a plenary address on the panel topic, followed by up to three papers.

Please note the application deadline for papers is now closed.

We have a limited number of postgraduate travel bursaries of £50 available. Bursaries will be offered on the basis of financial requirements; should you wish to be considered for one, please include alongside your abstract a statement of no more than 100 words explaining why you would benefit.

The conference is intended to act as a springboard for an edited collection of essays, to which speakers will be invited to contribute following the event. We are currently in discussion with Palgrave Macmillan.

Conference organisers

Eliza O’Brien (Newcastle), Helen Stark (Queen Mary), and Beatrice Turner (Roehampton)

 

published on: 4 April 2017