Call for Papers

Books-Place-Space: Tennyson in the early 1860s

9&10 June 2017

International Conference to be hosted by Bishop Grosseteste University, Lincoln. This conference will coincide with the AGM of the Tennyson Society and include a visit to the Tennyson Research Centre as well as a conference workshop on Tennyson & the Marketplace and Tennyson & Books.

Confirmed Keynoters: Dr Jim Cheshire (University of Lincoln), Dr Matthew Bevis (Keeble College, Oxford, sponsored by the Tennyson Society).

In the early 1860s Tennyson was at the height of his fame, following the unprecedented popularity of Idylls of the King and Enoch Arden. At about this time he compiled a list of books entitled ‘On Round Table in Drawing Room’. The discovery of this list in the Tennyson Research Centre in 2012, and the survival of many of the books in Tennyson’s Library offer a unique opportunity to consider the significance and display of these books and their original context. This conference seeks to explore the literary, biographical, historical and critical readings as well as the material semantics or creative, technical, practical and editorial processes of Tennyson’s books and their significance in relation to Tennyson’s library and poetry.

Tennyson’s list and its context raise a number of pertinent questions: What dictated the selection of the books? What image did Tennyson intend to project to his guests? How were the tensions between the public image of the poet laureate and his family life, the public and the private, experienced by those who visited him? How do the books on display link back into his library? What is the books’ relationship to his regional and geographical set-up on the Isle of Wight? How might our understanding of Tennyson’s writing be informed by an awareness of his selection and use of books?

This conference will focus on the book as object, the literary practice of displaying, writing and reading books in the Victorian home and the relationship of books to literary production and reception. The goal of this conference is to open up debate about how Tennyson lived his life through objects (books) and how the survival of his library and that of his father and uncle can enhance our understanding of the poet and his work.

Papers are invited on the following topics:

Tennyson’s Books: Illustrated Books (illustrators, artists), Tales & Stories, Contemporary Literature, Poetry, Anthologies, Foreign or Translated Books, Children’s Books, Christian & Religious Works, Travel Books, Periodicals, Plays, Reference Books, Books given as Gifts, Books on and with plants

Tennyson’s Place: The Drawing Room, Victorian Entertaining & Music, C19th Libraries, Tennyson’s Library, Tennyson’s guests, Freshwater Society, Isle of Wight in the C19th

Tennyson’s Space: Architecture, Tennyson’s Life & Family, Use of Tennyson’s home, Tennyson’s house & garden, Boundaries and relationships between the domestic, the private and the public, Travel and Literary Tourism (Railway, Boats, Carriages)

Please send abstracts of 300 words to by 15 January 2017.