Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Life and Work of Jane Webb Loudon

Women & Science in the Nineteenth-Century: Science Fiction and Science Education
Leeds Trinity University College 27th-28th June 2011

Call for Papers

Jane Webb Loudon (1807-1858) is a neglected figure of interest to a range of research areas including women’s professional writing, the promotion of science and women’s education and speculative fiction. She is best known for The Mummy! A Tale of the Twenty-Second Century (1827) and Gardening for Ladies (1840). The conference intends to explore the life, work and example of Jane Webb Loudon in the context of women and science in the nineteenth century. It therefore seeks papers from various disciplinary perspectives on fictional and non-fictional contributions by women to the formation of popular scientific awareness during the nineteenth century.
We welcome proposals for contributions on the following topics:

Women’s Science Fiction Victorian Science Fiction Women & Scientific Research
Popular Science Jane Webb Loudon’s Circle Women’s Magazines
Visualising Social Change Botany and Horticulture Children’s Education
Women’s positions and voices within late Victorian science fiction 1850-1910
Nineteenth-century speculative writing Science & Social Reform
Scientific Writing & the Periodical Press Class & Entry to the Professions
Women’s Education and Science in Popular Fiction Women’s Gardening
Vivisection Represented in Women’s Writing Gender debates in Science Fiction

Keynote speakers, Matthew Beaumont, Alan Rauch, Andy Sawyer, Ann B. Shteir

First Call for Papers. Please send 500 word abstracts to arpfmail@yahoo.co.uk with the subject line Women and Science in the Nineteenth Century by August 1st 2010
Further details available at www.arpf.org.uk Follow us on www.twitter.com/arpfnews

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Call for Papers: ‘Surrealism, Science Fiction, and Comic Books’

Call for Papers: ‘Surrealism, Science Fiction, and Comic Books’

In his 1976 essay ‘Science Fiction and Allied Literature,’ David Ketterer wrote ‘it is rather surprising that the considerable affinity which exists between Surrealism and SF has not attracted more attention.’ This observation was repeated in 1997 by Roger Bozzetto and Arthur B. Evans, who lamented that the relations between Surrealism and science fiction ‘continue to be largely unexplored in SF scholarship,’ and that ‘there currently exists no in-depth study of SF and Surrealism.’ The points of contact and areas of overlap, along with the influences, differences, and antagonisms that lie between Surrealism, science fiction, and the related literature of the comic book will be explored in this conference to be held 22 January 2011 at The Courtauld Institute of Art, London.
Such observations take on extra force when we consider Surrealism’s historical context, along with its literary and pictorial culture. Emerging in France between the two world wars, it was well positioned to receive the writings of Jules Verne and H. G. Wells that initiated and defined the genre boundaries of early science fiction, along with the popularisation of the fourth dimension and the advent of the Theory of Relativity that such literature drew upon, whilst the writings of Alfred Jarry, Franz Kafka, and Raymond Roussel gave them a related comic, absurd, or fantastic perspective on the machine and technology. Indeed, Roussel’s boundless admiration for Verne was equalled by the similar veneration felt for Roussel by Marcel Duchamp and Roberto Matta, expressed in their art between 1912 and the 1940s. Furthermore, one of the most important figures in early French SF (and now almost forgotten), Jacques Spitz, was close to the Surrealists in the 1930s, and his books of the interwar years show a marked Surrealist tendency. In the 1940s, Matta’s work was affected more specifically by the worlds described in science fiction and also by comic books, which were a significant discovery for AndrĂ© Breton and the Surrealists in New York. Important to RenĂ© Magritte’s art in the 1940s, comic books were also a key popular form for postwar Surrealism in Europe and America.
Because barely any scholarship exists on how far the art and writings of Surrealists in the forties and since were affected by SF and comic books, it is expected that postwar art and writings will form a significant strand of this conference (for instance, the writings of Malcolm de Chazal were described by their English translator as ‘science fictions’), as will the investigation of how the project to expand reality proposed by Surrealism in its imagery and poetry was extended by important SF writers such as Stanislaw Lem and J.G. Ballard, as well as for related novelists like Jorge Luis Borges, Alan Burns, and Thomas Pynchon.
Potential areas of exploration are:

• Surrealism, SF, and the imagery of spiritualism
• The comic book as a subversive accomplice of Surrealism
• Surrealism, physics, and fiction
• The spaces of Surrealist painting and the SF imagination
• Legacies of Surrealism in contemporary comic books
• The fourth dimension in Surrealism, modernism, and SF
• Surrealist and SF geographies
• The Gothic imagination in Surrealism, SF, and comics
• Futurity in Surrealism and SF
• SF and Surrealism in the postmodern novel

Paper proposals of about 250 words should be sent to gavin.parkinson@courtauld.ac.uk

The Courtauld Institute of Art, London, 22 January 2011

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Corrections/Expansions to Introduction to Plan For Chaos

Corrections and some expansions (particularly a revised endnote 22) now made to David Ketterer's introduction to Plan For Chaos.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

More John Wyndham News

There's a new John Wyndham fan page on http://www.wyndhamweb.com/, which mentions Plan for Chaos . Reviews of the new Penguin edition have appeared in the Sunday Times , the Daily Telegraph , and the Independent on Sunday.