Cookies

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Otherwise, we'll assume you're OK to continue.

Durham University

Department of English Studies

Events

We host a large number of conferences, lectures and seminars each year, many of them open to the public. Subscribe to our monthly North East Literature Events newsletter and we'll keep you posted. If you are a staff member or student and want to publicise your event, contact alistair.brown@durham.ac.uk.

Humour and Satire in British Romanticism

Durham University

This conference, jointly organised by Durham University and Newcastle University, seeks to provide a framework for the relatively new, but steadily growing, interest in humour within Romantic studies.

‘Humour, in its sense of “a natural or accidental disposition of the temperament of the mind”, or whatever way in which Lexicographers care to define it, is a word as changeable and iridescent as the thing it signifies.’ With this line Mario Praz opens the Introduction to his 1924 Italian translation of the Essays of Elia, capturing the difficulty of attempting to pin down a word and a feeling so mercurial and ambivalent. Samuel Johnson gives eleven definitions in total for the term, and a further three for ‘humorous’ (which range from ‘pleasant; jocular’ to ‘full of grotesque or odd images’). This conference will explore how Romantic writers navigated these various and often contradictory understandings, focusing both on their perceptions, and their uses, of humour.

A reappraisal of satire, ‘a mode with which we do not as a rule associate the Romantic period’ (as Marilyn Butler has put it), runs parallel to this aim. The conference intends not only to consider comparatively neglected satirists like the ‘obscene beastly Peter Pindar’ (as Lamb called him), but also to contemplate satirical strands in better-known Romantic writers. In this regard we are particularly, but not solely, interested in satirical pieces relating to the 1819-2019 bicentennial. Papers on everything from P. B. Shelley’s The Mask of Anarchy to William Hone’s The Political House that Jack Built are very much encouraged.

We welcome the submission of 250-word abstracts for 20-minute papers from academics at all levels, as well as Romanticists and humour specialists outside academia, which explore a wide interpretation of the theme. Topics may include (but are by no means limited to) the following:

  • Humour in translation and across cultures
  • The politics of humour: seditious jokes and political satire
  • Gender and humour/satire
  • Romantic readings of classical satire
  • Romantic readings of Augustan satire
  • Puns and linguistic ambiguity: Romantic conceptions of language
  • Notions of formality and sociability: the appropriacy of humour
  • Scientific understandings of laughter and humour
  • Humour, comedy, and the theatre
  • Topical humour/satire relating to the bicentennial of 1819

Please email proposals to romantichumourandsatire@gmail.com. The deadline for submissions is Monday, 20 May 2019.

Contact romantichumourandsatire@gmail.com for more information about this event.

Download this event in iCalendar format


English Events Newsletter

Are you interested in literature, books and culture? Subscribe to our monthly listings of English events taking place across the North East.

Follow our Research

Research English At Durham Facebook Twitter Mixcloud

Event Reviews and Reports

Read about our previous events.