Category Archives: Seminars

IES SAS Comparative Modernisms, ‘From Avant-Garde to Architecture (and Back)’

Comparative Modernisms Seminar, Institute of English Studies- School of Advanced Study, University of London.

21 November 2016, Room 246, Senate House, Malet St, London, Room 246, 18:00 – 20:00

Professor Tyrus Miller (University of California-Santa Cruz)

From Avant-Garde to Architecture (and Back)

Abstract: This paper considers the complex interactions of the historic avant-gardes with the symbolic idea, theory, and practice of modern architecture. Considering a number of cases including Malevich, Mondrian, Van Doesburg, Lajos Kassák, Moholy-Nagy, and El Lissitzky, I will discuss and assess Reyner Banham’s classic hypothesis that the avant-gardes played a crucial role for modern architecture in providing an “aesthetic discipline,” from outside of the architectural discipline, to make sense of various technical innovations, new materials, and emergent idioms of design. At the same time, for several avant-gardists architecture was invested with the dream of reinventing a totality lost among the multiplicity of incommensurable metropolitan sign-systems and forms: as a kind of utopian meta-art in which the autonomous languages of the various art-media, and even various extra-artistic dialects and functional idiolects, might be subsumed into a new, architectonic metalanguage assuring inter-translatability and social efficacy.

Tyrus Miller is Professor of Literature at the University of California at Santa Cruz. He is author of Late Modernism: Politics, Fiction, and the Arts Between the World Wars (U of California P, 1999); Singular Examples: Artistic Politics and the Neo-Avant-Garde (Northwestern UP, 2009); Time Images: Alternative Temporalities in 20th-Century Theory, History, and Art (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2009); and Modernism and the Frankfurt School (Edinburgh UP, 2014). He is the editor of Given World and Time: Temporalities in Context (Central European UP, 2008) and the Cambridge Companion to Wyndham Lewis (Cambridge UP, 2016). He is the translator/editor of György Lukács, The Culture of People’s Democracy: Hungarian Essays on Literature, Art, and Democratic Transition (Brill, 2012) and series co-editor of Brill’s Lukács Library series.

The seminar is  free and open to all.  However, for reasons of room capacity, please register your participation by contacting  the Seminar convenor, Dr Angeliki Spiropoulou, Visiting Research  Fellow at IES/SAS and Assist. Professor at Peloponnese University at

Oxford Comparative Criticism, Michaelmas 2016

Oxford Comparative Criticism and Translation is a research programme based jointly at TORCH, The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities, and the Centre for Comparative Criticism and Translation at St. Anne’s College.

Since 2013 our research programme brings together experts from the disciplines of English, Medieval and Modern Languages and Oriental Studies, and draws in collaborators from Classics, Music, Visual Arts, Film, Philosophy and History. We run seminars, workshops, conferences and a discussion group; we stage public events, such as Oxford Translation Day; and we edit a book series, Transcript, as well as an online journal, OCCT Review.

In Michaelmas 2016 the OCCT Discussion Group will follow a new format: we’ll be focussing on key issues in the methodology of comparative study. The sessions will begin with a short conversation between two senior members moderated by a graduate representative, followed by a discussion of the recommended readings. We hope to encourage graduates to think about their research within a comparative context, and contribute to creating a vibrant OCCT graduate community.

OCCT is a Divisional research programme supported by TORCH and St Anne’s College. Our organising committee includes Prof Matthew Reynolds, Prof Adriana X. Jacobs, Prof Mohamed-Salah Omri, Dr Eleni Philippou, Dr Peter Hill, Ms Karolina Watroba, Ms Kate Costello, Ms Valeria Taddei, Ms Kasia Szymanska, Prof Ben Morgan, Prof Patrick McGuinness.

An overview of the open events can be found here;  detailed descriptions of each event here.


IES SAS Comparative Modernisms Seminar, ‘Ghostmodernism’

IES Comparative Modernisms Seminar

Stephen Ross (University of Victoria), Ghostmodernism

Monday 17th October 2016, 16.00 – 18.00, School of Advanced Study, University of London

(Torrington Room, 104, First Floor, Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU)

“[I]t occurs to me that entire libraries of enigmas in literature would yield up their key, were we but to reconsider the ‘supernatural element’ responsible for them: to be precise, the appearance of a Specter” (Nicholas Abraham “The Intermission of ‘Truth’” 188)

Though actual ghosts are in exceedingly short supply in modernist novels, ghostly figures manifest with shocking abundance. It may in fact be one of the most striking features of the modernist novel that almost without regard to who the author is or what the novel is mainly concerned with, a certain rhetoric of spectrality permeates. All of Joseph Conrad’s major novels feature numerous such figures, as do most of the novels of Wyndham Lewis, D. H. Lawrence, Virginia Woolf, E. M. Forster, Djuna Barnes, Aldous Huxley, and James Joyce – not to mention the less dense but still sizeable representation in the works of Mary Butts, Elizabeth Bowen, Sylvia Townsend-Warner, HD, and May Sinclair. Put simply, the modernist novel is amongst the most haunted sites in all literature. In this paper, I both outline some of the ways in which modernist prose fiction mobilizes this rhetoric of spectrality, and argue that it serves as means by which a wide range of novelists engage with a wide range of issues, from the nature of reality to sex and sexuality, and from history and heritage to being and the body. The spectral provides the common medium of engagement with these issues. Its inherent link to ethics gives that medium its significance: through the rhetoric of spectrality, modernist novelists establish the ethical as the overarching horizon for all these concerns.

Stephen Ross is  Professor of English and Cultural, Social, and Political Thought at the University of Victoria, Canada. He is the General Editor of the Routledge Encyclopedia of Modernism (2016), co-editor of The Modernist World (2015) as well as editions of Dorothy Richardson’s novels Pointed Roofs and The Tunnel (both 2014), editor of Modernism and Theory (2009), and author of Conrad and Empire (2004). He is Director of the Modernist Versions Project and of Linked Modernisms, both digital humanities approaches to the cultural heritage of aesthetic modernism. He is finally at work on a book on ghostmodernism, a work whose topic has haunted him for nearly twenty years now.

The seminar is  free and open to all. However, for reasons of room capacity, please register your participation by contacting  the Seminar convenor, Dr Angeliki Spiropoulou, Visiting Research  Fellow at IES/SAS and Assist. Professor at Peloponnese University.

For information on the Historical Modernisms Symposium, a one-day event as part of the Comparative Modernisms Seminar Series, please click here

CFP: ACLA, Multilingualism and Theory; Literary Studies on the Move

Multilingualism and Theory: Critical Intersections and Literary Studies on the Move, American Comparative Literature Association, Utrecht University, the Netherlands July 6-9, 2017

Multilingualism and Theory: Critical Intersections

Multilingualism has emerged in the past few years as a site of critical attention within comparative literature and world literature. The myth of monolingualism and the presumed equivalency between nation and national language have given way to a new mode of scholarship that privileges the plurality and heterogeneity of languages and cultures. Despite this proliferation of critical attention, the methodological framework for discussing multilingualism remains undefined. To this effect, this seminar invites papers that address wider theoretical issues that surround multilingualism, especially with regard to the revisiting of the key terminology of the debate. Papers may examine this phenomenon on the level of text, the literary production of a single author, several authors or society as a whole.

How are multilingual competencies manifested in a text? What are the playful, covert or transgressive ways that are languages creatively deployed in a seemingly monolingual text? How can we read these texts ‘multilingually’, in the words of Gustavo Pérez Firmat? What is the relationship between language and form, and how does multilingualism impress itself on the very structure of the text? How do interlingual and translingual practices work to create a poetics of the liminal? Can we begin to speak about a uniquely multilingual aesthetic?

In the wake of Reine Meylaert’s view that ‘at the heart of multilingualism, we find translation’, we seek to explore the complexity of translating multilingual literature and the practice of self-translation. Why is multilingualism often associated with untranslatability? Turning to fictional representations of multilingualism, how do writers create the illusion of other languages in a monolingual text? How is translation without the original constructed in these instances? Can multilingualism challenge our understanding of binary concepts of target and source text/language/culture in translation studies?

How do multilingual writers utilize their linguistic competencies to push back against hierarchies of power and hegemonic practice? What are the intersections between multilingualism and post-colonial studies? How can we address the multiple linguistic competencies of an author in critical scholarship and why is this often overlooked?  How does translation of a multilingual text impact processes of canonization? In what ways can multilingual criticism challenge and dislodge the concept of the ‘native speaker’? What is the interplay between gender, class and linguistic competencies? What role should languages of mobility, prestige languages and accent play in critical theory? Are identity politics still relevant in studies of critical multilingualism?

We welcome papers that take these questions as a point of departure as well as other theoretically innovative approaches to multilingualism and linguistic complexity in literary analysis. Potential participants are encouraged to contact the organizers before submitting abstracts through the ACLA portal.

Seminar Organisers: Visnja Krstic, University of Belgrade and Kate Costello, University of Oxford

Deadline for abstracts is 11:59 PM Pacific Time on 23rd September.

Literary Studies on the Move

The purpose of this seminar is to explore case studies of how literary scholarship and scholars move across contrasting languages and cultures. What happens when the practices and methods honed in one location of the discipline get tried out in a distant institutional and cultural setting? What are the political and social contexts that have shaped such instances of importation, exile, or translation? How are once canonical assumptions re-applied to texts or students in a different cultural domain? The scholarly trajectories of Auerbach or Spitzer have been central to debate about transnational literary studies. Yet the broader history of scholarly and intellectual migration has been rarely brought into comparative perspective. This seminar invites analyses of relocation between any of the disparate past or present sites that test our sense of the positioning of literary scholarship.

Seminar Organisers: Na’ama Rokem and Stefan Uhlig.

More information about the seminar can be found here. As above, the ACLA’s online portal will accept paper submissions from 1 September through 23 September.

NB: the wide range of seminars at the 2017 ACLA Annual Meeting can be found here.


CFP: ACLA, Refiguring Romanticisms

Refiguring Romanticisms: Cross-Temporal Translations and Gothic Transgressions, American Comparative Literature Association, Utrecht University, the Netherlands, 6-9 July 2017.

Cross-temporal translation and Gothic transgression are present in Romanticism from its beginnings. In the 1800 Preface to Lyrical Ballads, Wordsworth maintained the superiority of English Romanticism, presenting German Gothic as a corruption of literary tradition. In turn, Poe’s poems and tales exemplify a ‘dark’ Romanticism partly inspired by the German E.T.A. Hoffmann. Beyond the Romantic era, Kandinsky called his art ‘today’s romanticism’, while Angela Carter’s reinvention of French and German fairy tales is a ‘bloody revision of the Romantic aesthetic’ (Kramer Linkin, 1994). More recently, the Spanish-Argentine Andrès Neuman advertised his 2009 novel Traveller of the Century as ‘a post-modern interpretation of Romanticism’. Despite their great diversity, these examples are linked by ‘the persistence of Romanticism’ (Eldridge 2001), a phenomenon that seemingly ignores geographical and temporal boundaries. This seminar will examine refigurations of Romanticism across chronological and national boundaries, and in its transgressive sister genre of the Gothic.

Our primary aim is to interrogate how and why aesthetic, formal, and philosophical aspects of Romanticism have been re-appropriated and transformed to fit differing agendas, from the early revisions of the Gothic to postmodern and contemporary manifestations of the Romantic. Which aspects of Romanticism express modern concerns under a new guise, and how far do translations or transgressions of Romanticism depart from their models to promote a new aesthetic? Finally, what do such translations and transgressions tell us about what we as critics conceptualise as Romantic? We hope to discuss Post-Romanticisms as a range of cross-temporal, cross-cultural, and Gothic reworkings that project Romantic ideas, forms, and styles differently for new audiences.

Questions / topics may include:

Romantic cosmopolitanism and world literature: how does Romanticism project within/beyond Europe? How can we understand Romanticism’s transnational origins?

Rewritings of Romantic works and genres in new contexts (e.g. postcolonial) and new media: which aspects of Romanticism are privileged / suppressed? How and why have Romantic forms (e.g. the fragment, the fairy tale, the Kunstmärchen) been revived?

Gothic texts as transgressions of the boundaries of Romanticism: how do Gothic tropes and figures subvert, reaffirm or revise the ‘romantic ideology’ (McGann 1983; cf. Hoeveler 2014)?

Critical interrelations of Romanticism and Gothicism: is their long ‘relationship of mutual antagonism and suspicion’ (Townshend and Wright 2016) being refigured now? How relevant is the opposition of ‘high’ Romanticism / ‘low’ Gothic (Gamer 2002)?

Romantic philosophy and theory then and now: how are Romantic ideas of perfectibility, revolution, nature, or the author translated across time and space?

If you are interested in participating in this seminar, please get in touch with the organisers over the summer with your ideas/ abstract before formally submitting an abstract via the ACLA website. Contact Joanna Neilly and Gero Guttzeit.  Submissions for abstracts open from 1st September, with a deadline of 23rd September.

More information about the seminar can be found here.