Romantic Afterlives and Second Selves

(North American Society for the Study of Romanticism, Ottawa, Canada, August 10-13, 2017)  

This session will address Romantic afterlives—confluences, continuations, extensions, engagements, influences, intertexts, legacies, reactions, subversions, transformations, transmogrifications, treatments, and re-workings of Romantic writers and artists following their deaths. 

The afterlife—aesthetic, biographical, cultural, historical, reputational, and textual—is itself a governing (and sometimes anxious) theme of Romantic writers.  As Andrew Bennett argues in Romantic Poets and the Culture of Posterity (1999), Romantic poets (like Coleridge, Keats, Shelley, and Wordsworth) were mindful of their posthumous lives, and “the textual afterlife” becomes a “determining force in cultural production”: poets develop the “practice of writing for posterity” (102)—Wordsworth, for instance, writing for his “second self,” for future generations of writers, as he notes in The Prelude.   

While the theme of the afterlife as it is treated by the Romantics in their own writing is one possible focus of this panel, I am broadly interested in how later writers cross aesthetic and textual boundaries and rework their earlier Romantic antecedents and inspirations.  Thus, the centre of the panel focuses on influence and engagement but the circumference of critical inquiry extends to the crossing of national, generic, aesthetic, gender, and racial borders and lines.  Papers should balance close with critical, cultural, and historical readings, while theorizing the issues that arise with the process and position of the “after-living.”

Please send proposals of 300 words to the session organizer Chris Koenig-Woodyard, University of Toronto (chris.koenig.woodyard@utoronto.ca) by Friday, January 6, 2017.

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