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Edith Wharton and The Custom of the Country: Centennial Reappraisals

Symposium: 22 and 23 August 2013, Liverpool Hope University, UK

Symposium Directors: William Blazek (Liverpool Hope University) and Laura Rattray (University of Glasgow)

Call for Papers:

2013 marks the 100th anniversary of the publication of Edith Wharton’s much-read and much-analyzed novel The Custom of the Country. Described as the writer’s "greatest book" by Hermione Lee in her 2007 biography, and listed by Wharton herself at the end of a long and prolific career as one of her own favourite works, The Custom of the Country arguably remains the author's most complex and controversial novel.

To mark its centenary year, the symposium directors warmly invite papers on any topic pertaining to this landmark text. Themes might include: re-readings of the novel in the light of modern economic crises, serialisation, marketing and material culture, narrative strategies, modernist aesthetics, the challenges and rewards of teaching the novel, and reappraisals of Wharton’s most controversial female protagonist, Undine Spragg. Alternatively, discussions might be framed within the contexts of leisure-class marriage and divorce, masculinity, Europe, travel, or the visual arts. We also welcome broader comparative approaches, viewing The Custom of the Country in relation to other novels of the period, to other work by Wharton in any genre, or exploring the novel’s influence on contemporary writers and popular culture.

Co-sponsored by the Edith Wharton Society, the symposium will be held on the Hope Park campus of Liverpool Hope University, located within five miles of the Liverpool city centre. Moderately priced, ensuite campus accommodation will be available to delegates for the duration of the symposium. Day rates are also available. Keynote speakers for this event will be confirmed shortly. Further information and updates can be found on the symposium website:

Please send 250-word abstracts for 20-minute papers (indicating any equipment/technical requirements), and a brief biographical note by the deadline of 15 April 2013 to the directors via e-mail:

Sponsors: Liverpool Hope University and the Edith Wharton Society

SAMLA: Edith Wharton Society

The Edith Wharton Society invites papers for SAMLA: "Cultures, Contexts, Images & Texts: Making Meaning in Print, Digital, & Networked Worlds." Variety of interpretations welcome. By May 17 send 300-500 word abstract & 1 page CV to Monica Miller, mmil132 at