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Durham University

Department of English Studies

Event Archive

This is an archive of past events within the Department of English Studies. Please see our current events for forthcoming activities.

Some of our public events are recorded and are available as podcasts via our Research English At Durham blog.

When the Lamps Went Out: HG Wells and His World on the Eve of War

27th September 2014, 09:30 to 18:15, Palace Green Library, Professor Matthew Pateman (Sheffield Hallam University); Megan Shepherd (author of The Madman’s Daughter)

Registration is now open for the annual H. G. Wells Society Conference, which will take place at Palace Green Library, Durham University on 27th September 2014. It will feature plenary lectures by Professor Matthew Pateman (Sheffield Hallam University) and Megan Shepherd (author of The Madman’s Daughter), and the panels and papers below. A registration form can be downloaded here.

This year will see the anniversary of the outbreak of what H. G. Wells optimistically hoped would be ‘The War that Will End War’. When the Lamps Went Out is a conference that seeks to take a snapshot of the literary, political and social landscape at the end of the ‘long nineteenth century’ and the dawn of the First World War. 

26 September

27 September

9.30 Registration
9.55 Welcome
10.00-11.10 Professor Matthew Pateman
11.10-11.30 Coffee
11.30-13.00 Panels
Panel 1: Political Propheteering
Paul Vlitos, ‘Literature and the Business of Life: C. F. G. Masterman as Reader of H.G. Wells’
Harry Wood, ‘Competing Prophets: H. G. Wells, George Griffith, and Visions of Future War, 1893-1914’
Julia Stapleton, ‘The Battle of Plutocracy: G. K. Chesterton, Wells, Masterman and the Future of British Democracy’
Panel 2 (Deane Room): Cultural Geographies
Michael Sherborne, ‘Educating Heinrich: HG Wells and the Germans 1866-1916′
Hadas Elber-Arvam, ‘“My Own Particular City”: H. G. Wells’s Love-hate relationship with London
Jan Van Velk, ‘Insight’s Perseverance: Mr. Britling Sees It Through and H. G. Wells’s Two Crises’
13.00-13.45 Lunch
13.45-15.15 Panels
Panel 3 Divisions of Opinion – Writing Opposition
Linda Dryden, ‘The Shape of War to Come: Of War and Mr Wells/ Of War and Mr Conrad’
Gareth Reeves, ‘An Author Divided? Canonical Anxiety in H. G. Wells’s Edwardian Fiction’
Maria Kozyreva, ‘H. G.Wells and G. K. Chesterton – Two Men, Two Worlds’
Panel 4 (Deane Room): War Games
Matthew Wraith, ‘Swarming and Multiplying: H.G. Wells, War and Swarm Intelligence’
Michael Shallcross, ‘Guiding the Cowboys Back to Reality: H.G. Wells, G.K. Chesterton, Wyndham Lewis, and the Game of War’
Mariateresa Franza, ‘“Mankind versus Ironmongery”: Machinery and Wargaming in H.G. Wells’s “The Land Ironclads”’
15.15-15.30 Tea Break
Panel 5 Technologies of Tales
Rinni Haji-Amran, ‘Towards the Establishment of a World Government: H.G. Wells’s Response to Aeronautical Developments in Britain, 1898-1936’
Jeremy Withers, ‘Bert Smallways’s Sandals (and Why They Matter)’
Genie Babb, ‘The “Chancy Wheel” of the “Machinery of Fate”: Chance and Change in The Wheels of Chance, The History of Mr. Polly, and Ann Veronica’
Megan Shepherd (author of The Madman’s Daughter)
Conference Dinner (tbc)

Venue and accommodation

The conference will be held at Palace Green Library:

To find accommodation in the Durham area the first website below provides a comprehensive list. Unless you have your own transport we recommend staying in Durham City, or if you are happy with a short train ride of 15 minutes or so and you would like the bright lights, Newcastle city centre. We cannot vouch for all of the accommodation listed here, and although some establishments give you the option of booking through the sites below, some places will prefer it if you book with them directly, so probably wisest to contact them to confirm availability.
This is Durham
Durham Visitor Contact Centre
Newcastle Tourist Information
Search for Durham hotels
Search for Durham bed and breakfast

When the Lamps Went Out is a collaboration between Durham University Centre for Nineteenth-Century Studies, the H. G. Wells Society and the Edwardian Culture Network. Attendance fee is: H G Wells Society members: unwaged £20, waged £30; non-Members: unwaged £25, waged £35. The Wells Society can be joined at:

This conference also marks the launch of the exhibition Books for Boys: Heroism, Empire and Adventure at the Dawn of the First World War. Books for Boys tells the story of Britain and Germany in the years leading up to the Great War through showing what the public enjoyed reading. The exhibition will also display late-Victorian and Edwardian maps, toys, uniforms, photographs, pictures, medals, literary memorabilia and other artefacts and ephemera. Conference delegates will be invited to a private view of the exhibition on the evening preceding the conference.

Contact for more information about this event.


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