Friday, August 29, 2014

Brontë Society Conference: The Condition of England

Today, August 29, opens the annual Brontë Society Conference at the Warwick University:
The Brontës and the Condition of England

The next Brontë Society conference will take place on 29, 30, & 31 August 2014, at the Scarman Conference Centre, Warwick University.

In the nineteenth century the term ‘Condition of England’ was applied mainly to the economic and commercial problems of the nation. For this conference we would like to broaden the meaning to include, if possible, some of the other major national concerns of the day, which would have impacted on the Brontë family and possibly influenced their works. Some of the
most obvious examples are: development of the railways; controversy over home-rule for Ireland; abolition of slavery; Catholic emancipation; Law reform; and the Chartist movement. The last topic is particularly pertinent, as Haworth was at the very centre of the rapid industrialisation of the former cottage industries of wool-combing, spinning, and weaving.

The aim of this conference is to give meaning and depth to the anxious national concerns of early 19th century England, ones which would have impacted the young Brontës both in their lives and works. We hope to create an overall picture of what the world looked like to the passionate young inhabitants of Haworth’s Parsonage.

We are greatly privileged to have some of the leading scholars in this field to address us. The key-note speaker will be Juliet Barker, the author of the closest thing to a definitive biography of the family, The Brontës. Other speakers include Rebecca Fraser biographer of Charlotte Brontë, Dr Robert Logan, Chairman of the Irish Brontë Society, whose understanding of the young Patrick and the influences on him growing up is exceptional and Marianne Thormählen, author of The Brontës and Education and editor of The Brontës in Context. Our President, Bonnie Greer OBE, will be present and will give the after-dinner speech at the conference dinner on Saturday.

The conference location this year is at the purpose built Scarman Centre, Warwick University, just eight miles from the ancient county town of Warwick, which lies on the River Avon, and boasts the country’s oldest school (Warwick School, established 914), as well as a castle dating back to 1068 and The Norman Conquest. To the South, and a little less than seventeen miles from the University is Shakespeare’s birthplace, Stratford-upon-Avon.
More information here.

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