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Call for papers for the “Romanticism in the Age of World Wars” conference jointly organized by University of Leuven’s Department of Literature and the Institute for Jewish Studies at Antwerp University


11 – 13 November 2018, at  Leuven Irish College, Leuven (BE)


The conference is an attempt to trigger a number of reflections on the role romanticism plays in ongoing global wars. How does the legacy of romanticism inform literary, aesthetic, and cultural responses to the age of World Wars? Do literary and artistic engagements with the World Wars fit or update romantic templates for writing war(time)? To what extent do romantic evasions and obsessions persist in global responses to war? How does the planetary scale of modern war perpetuate romanticism’s disavowals of its colonial entanglements? To what extent does the global career of romanticism animate non-Western responses to wars that, even if they are called World Wars, were unevenly distributed across the globe? And does the war-afflicted afterlife of romanticism open up new avenues for a comparative romanticism—for discovering novel differences and resonances between different national romanticisms? What is the cultural impact of the fact that Britain was not involved in European wars between 1815 and 1914 (excepting the Crimean War) while casually waging World War as a Brexit Empire avant la lettre (if never), and how does this affect cultural responses to twentieth- and indeed twenty-first-century World War across Europe and the globe? The conference wants to explore these and other questions through a sustained confrontation of the legacy of romanticism in the age of World Wars.
We invite proposals for 20-minute presentations or for three-paper panels. Topics could include, but are emphatically not restricted to

  • Romantic resonances in literary and artistic responses to the World Wars
  • Challenges to romantic notions of war in global engagements with World War
  • The afterlife of romantic tropes and techniques in World War literature and art
  • The persistence of the lyric and other romantic genres in an age of war
  • Transnational redeployments of romantic elements
  • The relation between romanticism and modernism in the face of war
  • Romanticism between revolution and catastrophe
  • Romantic aspects of the imagining of globality, planetarity, and total war
  • Liberalism, nationalism, and other political romanticisms


1 May 2018Find more information on how to submit a proposal.
The conference is a joint initiative of University of Leuven’s Department of Literature and the Institute for Jewish Studies at Antwerp University.

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Photo: JWM Turner, Snow Storm: Hannibal and his Army Crossing the Alps, 1812 (detail)

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