Conference Organiser

  • Chloë Houston  
    School of English and Humanities 
    Birkbeck College 
    University of London 
    Malet Street 
    London WC1E 7HX

Language: English

Dates: Friday 9th and Saturday 10th December, 2005

Place: Birkbeck College, Malet Street, London


Registration Form

Finding Birkbeck

Accommodation in the Bloomsbury Area

Call for Papers

"I saw new Worlds beneath the Water ly,
New Peeple; yea, another Sky,
And Sun."

Thomas Traherne (1637-1674),
"On Leaping over the Moon"

Papers are invited for this one-day interdisciplinary conference to be held at
Birkbeck, University of London,
on Friday 9th and Saturday 10 December 2005.

The early modern period produced a wealth of travel writing, whether the travel in question was to the New World beyond the seas, a planet across the skies, or another imagined or idealised location. This conference will address the inter-related nature of utopia and travel-writing, and explore representations of other worlds from the sixteenth to eighteenth centuries. How did the discovery of the New World, renewed belief in the plurality of worlds, and the utopian impulse to create a new world influence early modern literature? How did these influences interact and develop?

Prospective speakers include

> Dr William Poole, New College, Oxford
> Jenny Downes, National Maritime Museum
> Pete Langman, QMUL

Potential topics could include, but are not limited to:

> Representations of other planets or countries and their relationship to the Earth or England
> The origins of science fiction in utopian and travel writing
> The influence of natural philosophy on utopianism or travel writing
> Writings on the plurality of worlds and their literary significance
> The imaginary voyage or utopian narrative in early modern writing
> Representations of newly discovered countries and their inhabitants
> The theological influences on perceptions of other worlds
> Conceptions of borders and boundaries in other world and travel writing
> Dystopian travel writing
> Utopianism in travel writing; "the utopian moment of travel" (Greenblatt, Marvelous Possessions)
> The influence of the "New World" metaphor on the literary imagination

Abstracts of no more than 300 words in length, for papers of approximately 20 minutes, should reach
Chloë Houston: by 20th May 2005.
Please email for further information.


Peter J. Forshaw
) 2005