Call For Papers

Modes of Transport: Travel Writing and Form, 1780-1914
King’s College London, 26 & 27 May 2011

Keynote speakers: Mary Beard (Cambridge), Dane Kennedy (George Washington University), and Clare Pettitt (King's College London)

There has always been a certain amount of unease and anxiety about how best to mould the quotidian, often repetitious, experience of travel into a digestible, literary narrative. The travel writer cannibalises other modes of literary, geographical and scientific writing, while simultaneously forging experimental, innovative and dynamic forms in the struggle to represent the heterogeneous and often chaotic experience of travel. It is the aim of this two-day conference to bring academic researchers and travel writers together in order to explore the relationship between travel writing and formal innovation in a variety of media across the long-nineteenth century. As Franco Moretti has suggested, ‘new space gives rise to a new form’, and the period 1780-1914 saw the rise of both new technologies of movement and new categories of traveller. We are specifically interested in how the new perspectives, networks, and markets enabled by these developments impacted upon literary and media form and how these narratives in turn affected the ways in which people travelled. 
We welcome papers from across a range of academic disciplines, including history, literature, art history, media history, geography and classics. Topics may include but are not limited to:

Journals and diaries
Scrapbooks and Ephemera
Guides and guidebooks
Travel journalism
Travel in verse
Travel on the stage
Sentimental journeys
Boring journeys
Tourists in literature; literary tourists
Colonial / postcolonial forms
Reading / drawing maps
Geography and ethnography
The portable canon
Gendered forms

We invite proposals for 20-minute papers from researchers at all stages in their careers. Please send your proposal (max. 250 words) with a brief biography to by 18 February 2011. Informal enquiries may also be directed to Mary Henes and Brian Murray at the above address.
Supported by the Arts and Humanities Research Institute (KCL) and the Cambridge Victorian Studies Group