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Conference on the Dramatic Monologue
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Reassessing the Dramatic Monologue in the 19th and 20th Centuries: Browning, Before, Beyond Royal Holloway, University of London 28-30 June 2012

Organized by the London Browning Society in collaboration with Royal Holloway,
University of London, the University of Westminster and the University of the
West of England. Supported by the British Association of Victorian Studies
(BAVS) and the Modern Humanities Research Association (MHRA).
Confirmed Keynote Speakers:
Isobel Armstrong
Daniel Karlin
Tricia Lootens
Cornelia Pearsall

Over the past two centuries, Robert Browning has been hailed initially as the
co-inventor of the dramatic monologue, and more recently, as earlier origins of
the genre have been proposed, as its most prominent practitioner. To celebrate
the Bicentenary of Browning’s birth, the London Browning Society is hosting an
international conference to reassess not only Browning’s work in what is
arguably the defining genre of his oeuvre, but also the broader practice and
theory of the dramatic monologue before, after and during his lifetime.

The conference remit of Browning, Before and Beyond proposes, in the first
instance, to discuss the dramatic monologue in relation to Browning and other
Victorian practitioners of the genre. The conference seeks to explore the
reasons behind the rise of the genre during the Victorian era and the extent to
which its formal and generic concerns with issues of performativity and
spectacle, identity and subjectivity, text and ‘truth’ are illustrative of key
concerns of the Victorian age.

Further, the conference hopes to extend critical discussion of the growth,
profile, and generic nature of the dramatic monologue. The organizers welcome
papers on pre-and post-Victorian poets and poems as a means of exploring the
historical limits and reaches of the genre. Similarly, papers that explore the
generic and disciplinary reaches of the form – its associations with drama, or
connections to the Romantic lyric mode, for example – are warmly encouraged.

20-minute papers are invited on any topic relating to the dramatic monologue.
Submissions may include, but are not restricted to:

  • new approaches to defining the dramatic monologue and its significance
  • reassessments of established approaches to the genre
  • the origins/ predecessors of the genre
  • Victorian variants of the genre
  • issues of subjectivity and selfhood
  • Post-Romanticism and the dramatic monologue
  • the dramatic monologue and gender
  • the genre’s relation to history
  • hybrid versions of the genre
  • twentieth-century and twenty-first-century uses of the genre
  • the dramatic monologue and performance poetry

Conference organizers: Dr Simon Avery, Dr Vicky Greenaway, Dr Britta Martens. Please submit 300-word abstracts to by 31January 2012.

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