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In Form of War: Emotions and Warfare in Writing 1300-1820


Date: 27-28 June 2014
Venue: Webb Lecture Theatre, Geography and Geology Building, The University of Western Australia

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Registration is open

Standard rate: $60.00
PMRG member rate: $50.00
Concession rate: $40.00
Single Day rate: $35.00

The focus of this symposium is on the ways in which writings in various forms – including chronicle, autobiography, romance, epic, theatre, treatise, letter and journal – have responded to the emotional experience of war. Bringing together leading scholars in medieval, early modern, eighteenth-century and Romantic studies, 'In Form of War': Emotions and Warfare in Writing, 1300-1820 will trace continuities and changes in the emotional register of violent conflict as it has been mediated and transmitted to modernity in the written record of the European past. 'In Form of War' covers English and French examples from the fourteenth to the early nineteenth centuries, seeking to trace the development of key discourses of emotion in and about war into the present day. The participants will consider how traditional and emergent forms of writing have shaped the emotional significance of war for readers in successive historical periods, and how emotions have been enlisted in the service of particular wartime agendas. Their collective purpose is to analyse the emotions of war from various viewpoints: representations of the emotional experience of combatants, civilians and spectators; textual, literary and theatrical productions which adapt war themes for particular emotional effects, including propaganda; studies of generic, historiographical and performance traditions of the emotions involved in war; and studies that reflect on the historical, philosophical and thematic frameworks in which war writing is constructed emotionally.

The questions raised will include:

How might textual form shape emotional response to conflict? How does the rendering of war in various written forms attribute emotional agency to those experiencing war and create emotional identities for readers? What can and cannot be said about war's emotions in different forms and cultural milieux? How is war emotionally justified or condemned by discursive strategies? What difference does the context of war make to written representations of emotional life? What literary or theatrical forms of war appeal emotionally to particular eras or audiences? How is the emotional style of war writing affected by changes in genre and publishing contexts? Does the written register of war reveal 'affective shifts' in responses to the changing nature of war in the period 1300-1820?

Speakers include:
Craig Taylor (York); Catherine Nall (Royal Holloway, London); Tracy Adams (Auckland); Penelope Woods (UWA); Bob White (UWA); Katrina O’Loughlin (UWA); Andrew Lynch (UWA); Stephanie Downes (Melbourne); Neil Ramsey (UNSW-ADFA); Peter Sherlock (MCD University of Divinity).

The symposium will be preceded by a public lecture in the evening
of June 26 by Craig Taylor on 'The Trials of Joan of Arc'.

For further information contact Ciara Rawnsley at:
Tel: +61 8 6488 2126 or