Romanticism in the Age of World Wars

Kahn Faassen's picture
November 11, 2018 to November 13, 2018
Subject Fields: 
European History / Studies, Literature, Military History, Nationalism History / Studies, Holocaust, Genocide, and Memory Studies

Coinciding with the Centennial of the world War I Armistice, and taking place in an iconic world war heritage site, this conference explores the heritage of romanticism in the war-torn long twentieth century, as well as its persistent echoes in the age of the War on Terror.


Registration is possible here: 




20:00                     Literary Event: War Porn / The People Healer

                              Roy Scranton and Koen Peeters read from their recent novels and engage in conversation with Ortwin de Graef

21:30                     Drinks



08:30-09:00            Registration

09:00-09:30            Welcome and Opening Remarks

09:30-11:00            Keynote Lecture 1: Paul K. Saint-Amour (University of Pennsylvania)

Fossil Poetics of the Somme

11:00-11:30            Coffee

11:30-13:00         Session 1: In the Mood for War (convened by Jan Mieszkowski [Reed College])

Anders Engberg-Pedersen (University of Southern Denmark)

Clausewitz, Céline, and the Atmospheres of War

Lily Gurton-Wachter (Smith College)

“The Thud of Something Falling” (in Charlotte Smith and Virginia Woolf)

Jan Mieszkowski (Reed College)

Revolutionary Grammars, Military Moods

13:00-14:00          Lunch

14:00-15:30         Session 2: Techno-Planetarity and Drone Warfare (convened by Debjani Ganguly [University of Virginia])

Debjani Ganguly (University of Virginia)

Drone Vision and Bio-Techno Terror

Beryl Pong (University of Sheffield)

“Its whirring, whirring, whirring, whirring”: The Aesthetics of Drone Warfare, from Below

Roy Scranton (University of Notre Dame)

The Bomber Lyric and Drone Poetics

15:30-16:00            Coffee

16:00-17:30         Session 3A: Undoing the Romantic Aura of War: Ubiquitous Violence/ Apocalypse Now

Ron Ben Tovim (Ben-Gurion University):

David Jones and Romanticism

Cynthia Dretel (Hochschule für Musik Franz Liszt, Weimar)

Echoes of War: Polish Romanticism in the Stutthoff Concentration Camp Szopka

Thomas Knowles (Birmingham City University)

“World War Three”: J.G. Ballard and War Writing

                           Session 3B: Romanticizing Armies, or, Pride and Propaganda

Christophe Declercq (University of Leuven, UCL)

The Strange Case of Romantic Patriotism, Patriotist Propaganda and Post-Romantic Responses to Belgian Refugees in Britain During the First World War

Guy Woodward (Durham University)

Balkan Romanticism in Britain During the Second World War

Ana Ashraf (University of Leuven)

The Returning Soldier and the Female Gaze

17:30-18:00           Coffee

18:00-19:30        Geoffrey Hartman Memorial Lecture: Marc Redfield (Brown University)

Shibboleth: Judges, Derrida, Celan

19:30-20:30           Wine Reception



09:00-10:00       Session 4A: Insidious Presence: War as Modernist Mind-Fever

Nataša Tučev (Univesity of Niš)

The Mirror of Nature is Broken”: The Great War and Romanticism in To the Lighthouse

Leonie Achtnich (Freie Universität Berlin)

“An Inexplicable Fever”: Joseph Conrad’s The Shadow-Line and Thomas Mann’s The Magic Mountain

   Session 4B: Control and Save: Contemporary War and the Legacy of Romanticism

Carmen Casaliggi (Cardiff Metropolitan University)

Romantic Writing, Contemporary Europe, and the War on Terror: Smith, Staël, and Shelley

David Garcia (Carthage College)

To Preserve and Revise: The Cornell Wordsworth after the Wars

10:00-10:30         Coffee

10:30-12:00         Session 5: The Romantic Margins of War: Veterancy, Lateness, Outsiders

Neil Ramsey (University of New South Wales)

The Veteran and the Collapse of Romance: History, Life and Security in Scott’s The Antiquary

Brecht de Groote (University of Leuven)

None of them Capable of Love: Peace without Poetry in Late and Post-Romanticism

Laura Cernat (University of Leuven)

Equal Outsiders: Romance, Romanticism, and Coleridge’s Political Thought in Woolf’s Pacifist-Feminist Essays

12:00- 13:00       Lunch

13:00-14:30       Session 6: New Masculinities in Postwar Literature and Film: From Romantic Traditions of Heroism to Re-Education (convened by Petra Rau [University of East Anglia])

Gill Plain (University of St Andrews)

Reconceptualising Risk: Masculinity and Adventure after World War Two

Ina Habermann (University of Basel)

“Quietly Walling Myself In”: Precarious Masculinities in J.B. Priestley’s Post-War Fiction

Maria Fritsche (University of Trondheim)

“A Fine Romance?” Landscape, War Time Guilt, and Gender in Postwar Austrian Cinema

14:30-15:00         Coffee

15:00-16:30        Session 7: Pursuing Peace/ Pursued by War

Frederik Van Dam (Radboud University Nijmegen)

From Error to Terror: W.H. Auden and the Diplomatic Sonnet

Andrea Haslanger (University of Sussex)

Impossible Peace

Györgi Fogarasi (University of Szeged)

On Slopes: Danger, Disguise, and the Fading Outlines of War

16:30-17:00            Coffee

17:00-18:30            Keynote Lecture 2: Santanu Das (King’s College London)

Fugitive Fragments: The Great War and Colonial Poetics

20:00-22:30            Conference Dinner at Gloria Restaurant (Arnould Nobelstraat 50)


Contact Info: 

The conference is a joint initiative of University of Leuven’s Department of Literature and the Institute for Jewish Studies at Antwerp University. The organizers are Vivian Liska (University of Antwerp), Ortwin de Graef (KU Leuven), Tom Toremans (KU Leuven), Pieter Vermeulen (KU Leuven), and the doctoral students Ana Ashraf (KU Leuven), Laura Cernat (KU Leuven), and Kahn Faassen (KU Leuven).

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