CFP: ‘Crabbe’s Tales’ conference at Newcastle University, UK, July 12-13 2012

Crabbe’s Tales
Newcastle University
Thursday 12 to Friday 13 July 2012

Confirmed keynote speakers: Dr. Mina Gorji (University of Cambridge), Prof. Claire Lamont (Newcastle University), Prof. Fiona Stafford (University of Oxford).

Reviewing ‘Tales’ (1812) Francis Jeffrey claimed that Crabbe was ‘upon the whole, the most original writer who has ever come before us’. In marking the bicentenary of its publication this conference will focus on the telling of stories and the imagining of communities in Crabbe’s nineteenth-century oeuvre including ‘Poems’ (1807), ‘The Borough’ (1810), ‘Tales’ and ‘Tales of the Hall’ (1819). its aim is to test Jerome McGann’s claim (in an essay published in 1981) that Crabbe is ‘a writer whose true historical period has yet to arrive.’

Proposals of 250 words are invited for 20-minute papers that address the following themes (although the list is not exclusive)

  • Crabbe and the traditions of storytelling (Chaucer, Arabian Nights, New Testament parables).
  • Crabbe and theories of narrative (Bakhtin, Benjamin, Barthes, Genette, Jameson)
  • Crabbe and verse narrative (Byron, Hemans, Scott, Pushkin)
  • Crabbe and Shakespeare
  • Crabbe and gender
  • Crabbe’s readers, or the lack of them
  • The geography and social geography of Crabbe’s poems
  • Crabbe and cultural periodization
  • Crabbe in an age of revolution and war
  • Hallucination, derangement and madness (‘Peter Grimes’, ‘The Voluntary Insane’, ‘Where Am I Now?’)
  • Crabbe and his environments: maritime Suffolk, London, industrial Trowbridge.
  • Crabbe as ‘Malthus turned metrical romancer’.
  • Crabbe and religion
  • Crabbe’s politics
  • Crabbe’s influence: Austen, Scott, Clare, Dickens, George Eliot, Clough, Britten
  • Crabbe’s paratexts: manuscripts, editions, illustrations, translations.
  • Crabbe’s contemporary critics (Hazlitt, Jeffrey)

Proposals should be e-mailed to or by Friday 13 January 2012.

Conference organisers: Dr. Gavin Edwards (Institute of English Studies, University of London) and Dr. Michael Rossington (Newcastle University)

Conference website:

This conference is sponsored by the Medieval and Early Modern Studies @Newcastle research group:


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