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Inside and Outside Modernism: An Anatomy of 1922 and its Cultures

“James Joyce is quite wrong headed. Anyhow, with his wilfulness, he has made novel reading into a fair imitation of penal servitude…” (ARNOLD BENNETT on ULYSSES)

Keynote Speakers: Professor Patrick Collier (Ball State University), Dr Beci Carver (University of Exeter)

This one-day conference intends to examine 1922 looking at the cultures and writers associated with this significant year, in all their forms and geographical spread. It will consider the year holistically, considering cultural and personal interactions and how they relate to the intellectual work of modernism. The conference is designed to bring the year into clearer focus with interdisciplinary contributions from politics, history, science, economics, music, literature, book history and visual culture and areas that have fallen outside the purview of traditional modernism. Some questions the conference would like to approach include: how has modernism impacted on the study of artistic cultures? How far did recent history shape social attitudes? How did the political and economic uncertainties in 1922 permeate different cultures? Was 1922 important for anything more than modernism itself?

Key areas that we suggest will be covered include:

  • The music of 1922
  • Publishing and editing
  • Popular fiction
  • The texts of modernism
  • The political and economic context
  • The Great War and 1922
  • Theatre and culture
  • The trouble with modernism
  • Visual cultures
  • Modernism in retrospect
  • Outside the modernist canon
  • Scientific exploration

University of Reading Special Collections holds a number of important documents relating to publishing and literature in 1922 and there will be an exhibition showcasing some of the more prominent holdings which we hope will inform our discussions on the day.

Proposals for papers should be e-mailed to domonique.davies@pgr.reading.ac.uk and copy in b.bruce@pgr.reading.ac.uk no later than Wednesday December 1st 2021. All proposals should be about 250 words in length and papers should be a maximum of 20 minutes in duration. We hope to contact you about your proposal by 22nd December 2021. Please include an e-mail address and a two-to-three line biography with your proposal.

We are currently looking to deliver this conference in-person at the University of Reading, subject to guidelines. However, papers may be delivered online. Speakers and attendees will be notified closer to the date of confirmed arrangements.

Organised by Ben Bruce and Domonique Davies (Department of English Literature). Supported by the Centre for Book Cultures and Publishing and the Samuel Beckett Research Centre at University of Reading.


28 March 2022
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Ben Bruce and Domonique Davies (Department of English Literature)