Jane Austen Superstar.
Readership, Translation & Criticism in the 21st century
11-12 December 2017
Universidade Católica Portuguesa (Lisbon)
2017 marks two centuries since the death of Jane Austen in July 18, 1817. Two hundred years after her premature death, the English writer has never been more famous: from movies to tote bags, from mugs to rewritings of various sorts (sequels, guides to dating, adaptations to modern-day circumstances, biographies and fictional biographies, and, of course, translations), her work has invaded and pervaded contemporary imagination.
As Virginia Woolf famously put it, ‘[h]ere was a woman about the year 1800 writing without hate, without bitterness, without fear, without protest, without preaching’ (Woolf, 2008: 88). This apparently unassuming woman penned six powerful novels that have changed the world. Seen by some as an unwitting precursor to the women’s rights movements, read by others as a conservative author, Austen never ceases to baffle the contemporary reader, writer and critic alike: is she a ‘secret radical’, as Helena Kelly suggests (2006), or is she apolitical and / or a middle-of-the-road author? Is she an author who writes about trifles or does she, as Woolf surmised in 1925, stimulate ‘us to supply what is not there’? Woolf further adds that ‘[w]hat she offers is, apparently, a trifle, yet is composed of something that expands in the reader’s mind and endows with the most enduring form of life scenes which are outwardly trivial.’
The conference would like to celebrate Jane Austen’s life and work by discussing (a) how her books form part of the contemporary experience of love, gender, family, social and pecuniary relations and (b) how her writing style, her silences as well as her favourite topics, and her language have shaped modern-day literature, both in the UK and abroad.
In a nutshell, the conference aims to discuss both the author’s rootedness in the late 18th and early 19thcenturies, her authorial longevity and acumen, and her to some extent intriguing pop star fame in the last 20 years, proving indeed that ‘[h]er legacy is not a piece of reportage from the society of a particular past, but a wise and compelling exploration of human nature’ (Shields, 2001: 170).
Papers on the following topics are welcome:
Authorship and (in)visibility
Austen and feminism
Jane goes to Hollywood
Austen and TV adaptations
Austen as a popular icon (fashion, books, visual icon, and other memorabilia)
Austen’s critical fortune
Austen and (the absence) of history
Austen and / in the great tradition
Masculinities & the economics of power
Jane and mothers
Austen and the social value of gossip
Flattery in Jane Austen
Jane in translation / Translating Austen
Places in Austen
Austen and politics
‘Janeitism’: from fandom to commodification
Invited keynote speakers [to be confirmed]:
Kathryn Sutherland (University of Oxford)
Helena Kelly (Mansfield College, Oxford)
Álvaro Pina (University of Lisbon)
Rita Bueno Maia
Maria Sequeira Mendes
Adriana Martins (Universidade Católica Portuguesa)
Alexandra Lopes (Universidade Católica Portuguesa)
João Ferreira Duarte (University of Lisbon)
Jorge Vaz de Carvalho (Universidade Católica Portuguesa)
Maria Sequeira Mendes (Escola Superior de Teatro e Cinema)
Rita Bueno Maia (Universidade Católica Portuguesa)
Rogério Miguel Puga (New University of Lisbon)
Teresa Casal (University of Lisbon)
The conference languages are English and Portuguese. Speakers should prepare for a 20-minute presentation followed by questions. Please send a 250-word abstract, as well as a brief biographical note (100 words) to firstname.lastname@example.org by July 23, 2017.
Proposals should list the paper title, name, institutional affiliation, and contact details. Notification of abstract acceptance or rejection will take place by September 4, 2017.