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Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Two fairy tale related calls for papers...

George MacDonald among his Contemporaries
30 March 2011

A one day conference hosted by the School of English, University of St Andrews, Kennedy Hall, St Andrews, Scotland

George MacDonald (1824-1905) is most often discussed in terms of what came after: his role in the development of fantasy literature and his influence on writers such as C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien. Though providing valuable insights into MacDonald’s legacy, this emphasis tends to obscure his involvement in his own time. MacDonald was a Victorian. His works attest to his wide knowledge of his time and culture, and his deep engagement with the issues of the day.

George MacDonald among His Contemporaries looks to re-establish MacDonald’s place within his own context. We invite proposals for a variety of disciplines for papers and presentations which offer critical reinvestigation of MacDonald’s work. We particularly welcome papers that look beyond MacDonald’s fantasies to consider other aspects of his works.

Relevant topics might include:

  • examinations of MacDonald and social issues, such as women’s rights and suffrage, racism and abolition, poverty and social welfare, animal rights, et al.
  • genre criticism of MacDonald: historical fiction, sensationalism, romance, et al.
  • gothic influences on MacDonald
  • medievalism in MacDonald’s poetry and fiction.
  • MacDonald and science or pseudo-science: evolution, vivisection, and mesmerism
  • MacDonald’s literary criticism
  • MacDonald and Victorian readings of Shakespeare
  • critical re-examination of MacDonald’s poetry
  • the interplay of poetry and prose in MacDonald’s works
  • the interfacing of visual arts and MacDonald’s narratives, notably his connection to the Pre-Raphaelites
  • MacDonald’s role in the Scottish preaching tradition
  • MacDonald in relation to other Victorian literary figures: Dickens, Eliot, Kingsley, the Rossettis, Tennyson, Ruskin, et al.
  • MacDonald and Scotland: Burns, Scott, Hogg, the Highlands, et al.

Keynote speakers will be Stephen Prickett and David Robb.

Papers will be 20 minutes. Please submit a 300-word abstract, in .doc, .docx, or .pdf format, with biographical information to Ginger Stelle (gs345 [at] and John Patrick Pazdziora (jpp6 [at] before 15 January 2010.


A two-day international conference hosted by the Film and Literature Programme of the University of York's Department of English and Related Literature in association with The Centre for Modern Studies

Myths and Fairy Tales in Film and Literature post-1900

25th-26th March 2011
(please note these are the new, confirmed dates and have been adjusted by one day since I first posted this)

This forthcoming conference invites renewed reflection on fundamental, inherited tales as these have found self-reinventing expression in film and literature post-1900. It seeks to interrogate the dramatic, poetic and visual character of culturally core stories (fairy/mythic/classical/religious/Shakespearean etc), the formal operations and cultural force of their variant tellings (and showings) across media and moment, and the ways in which their psychological, social, political and aesthetic functions have been interpreted and employed.

Abstracts are solicited for individual 20-minute papers on the theme of the conference (interpreted in literary or film terms, or both). Proposals of pre-constituted panels (composed of two or three 20-minute papers) are also welcome.

Questions informing case studies might include (without being limited to):
- Why do some stories endure across multiple retellings while others fall into neglect?
- What primal impulses are encoded, fears expressed or defused and/or desires satisfied in those that resurface repeatedly in altered guises?
- Which narrative elements and characters have proved largely stable across time and place, apparently immune to cultural disruption, and which have been gently or radically adjusted in response to other cultural-historical forces?
- How have particular post-1900 literary and screen engagements with culturally embedded stories appropriated, revivified and disseminated those inherited tales in distinctive and/or culturally illuminating ways?
- How have the behavioural models promoted, social imperatives implied, modes of telling adopted and artistic allegiances embraced in the ongoing lives of particular tales been revised over time to fit new circumstances, new audiences and new media?
- How have theories of transmission, narrative endurance and narrative change accounted for the culturally revealing reinventions of various fundamental story pools?
- Which theories of narrative transmission, inter-medial adaptation and/or inter-textuality can illuminate the ongoing life of a story most tellingly? (And, perhaps, which have proved interpretively diversionary or limiting?)

Panels have thus far been suggested on the following themes: classical subjects, scriptural/religious subjects, Shakespearean subjects, fairy tales for children, fairy tales for adults, the transculturing of inherited myths. Contributors are welcome to submit with these proposed panels in mind, or in any other area in line with the theme of the conference.

Abstracts of not more than 250 words should be submitted, not by attachment but within the body of the email, to:

Deadline for receipt of abstracts: Tuesday 21st December 2010.

A brief personal biog-sketch (not more than 100 words) including institutional affiliation, current appointment/stage of study, principal publication(s) (where applicable) and main research interests, should be included in the same email. All submissions will be responded to, and all contributors notified, by Tuesday 11th January 2011. Registration details to follow.

Conference chair: Judith Buchanan (

Addition to post: There are now more details about the conference here.

Illustration by Dorothy Lathrop from The Light Princess by George Macdonald via the chawed rosin


  1. How I wish that conferance was nearer,I would love to attend but Cornwall is along way to go!
    If you go I hope you will blog about it! thanks!

  2. I'm not sure yet if I'll manage to get to them either, although I hope I do and if so will report back! Hope you and yours are all safe and well in Cornwall, the floods look terrible on the news.

  3. Thanks so much for posting the announcement and call for papers for our forthcoming international conference on 'Myths and Fairy Tales in Film and Literature post-1900' at the University of York. Our keynote speakers are now confirmed as Marina Warner, Ian Christie and Diane Purkiss. It is going to be a really good do! However, for unavoidable reasons, we have had to move the dates on by one day to 25th-26th March 2011. Full details available at:
    Would it be possible to amend the dates on your conference posting? Many thanks if so!
    We will hope to see some of you there in March...
    With all good wishes,

  4. Thanks, Judith. It sounds like it's going to be brilliant! I've adjusted the dates and added the link in above too. Very best, Claire

  5. Thanks for sharing, I will bookmark and be back again...

    University of York