Papers are invited for this one-day interdisciplinary conference to be held at Birkbeck, University of London, on Saturday 10 December 2005.
The early modern period produced a wealth of travel writing, whether the travel in question was to the New World beyond the seas, a planet across the skies, or another imagined or idealised location. This conference will address the inter-related nature of utopia and travel-writing, and explore representations of other worlds from the sixteenth to eighteenth centuries. How did the discovery of the New World, renewed belief in the plurality of worlds, and the utopian impulse to create a new world influence early modern literature? How did these influences interact and develop?
Prospective speakers include:
Dr William Poole, New College, Oxford;
Jenny Downes, National Maritime Museum;
Pete Langman, QMUL.
Potential topics could include, but are not limited to:
Representations of other planets or countries and their relationship to the Earth or England
The origins of science fiction in utopian and travel writing
The influence of natural philosophy on utopianism or travel writing
Writings on the plurality of worlds and their literary significance
The imaginary voyage or utopian narrative in early modern writing
Representations of newly discovered countries and their inhabitants
The theological influences on perceptions of other worlds
Conceptions of borders and boundaries in other world and travel writing
Dystopian travel writing
Utopianism in travel writing; "the utopian moment of travel" (Greenblatt, Marvelous Possessions)
The influence of the "New World" metaphor on the literary imagination
Abstracts of no more than 300 words in length, for papers of approximately 20 minutes, should reach ChloŽ Houston (e-mail address follows) by 20th May 2005. Please email for further information.
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