Samantha Bernstein is a PhD candidate in English at York University, working on the social and ethical implications of aestheticizing poverty. Her article "The Joys of the Elevated: William Dean Howells and the Ethics of the Picturesque," is forthcoming in the Canadian Review of American Studies. Her memoir, Here We Are Among the Living (Tightrope 2012), was longlisted for the B.C. National Award for Canadian Nonfiction.
"The View From Here: Picturesque Aesthetics in the 21st Century"
My paper theorizes the formal properties of picturesque aesthetics as encouraging reflection upon personal taste and social position. Because it foregrounds the act of representation, and represents poverty and dereliction, this aesthetic offers the opportunity to consider the vantage point from which wealthier people view places and people suffering economic hardship. Picturesque aesthetics ask what we can learn from pleasurable responses – whether moral pleasure in a sense of sympathy or a purely aesthetic reaction – to aestheticized poverty. They provide a much-needed moment of destabilizing self-awareness, and from there, the potential to cultivate a more ethical and effectual sympathy with strangers.
Henrik Brand (aka croc E moses) has words in his blood; his mother is a poet, his father a judge. He was born an April fool in sub-artic Canada and has now lived well over half his life in Swaziland and South Africa as a poet, musician, artist and instigator. He is currently based in Cape Town. He has self-published two books (Twilight Sunburn and Through) and three CDs (Mellowdrama, Incite the In Sight and Common Suspense). Driftword, a collection of poem/song lyrics, artworks and cd (http://www.unisa.ac.za/default.asp?Cmd=ViewContent&ContentID=97760) is due to be published by the University of South Africa Press this year. www.croc-e-moses.com
"Rhythm without metaphor - Poetry as a way of life"
My grandfather's Poetic Process provided me with a deep and subtle compass as a thirty year old in the context of Southern Africa at time when I could no longer ignore that I have words in my blood. There are some key links between this book and my experience of poetry being an active rhythm driven process that I sense may be of value to listeners. This will be demonstrated through a live performance of original talking song (some of which will be accompanied by acoustic guitar) and counterpointed with vignettes from my initiation.
Trygve Bratteteig was a student of George Whalley’s in 1964-65. He worked in the Douglas Library at Queen’s in his student years (1963-68), and served as a Reference Librarian in the Toronto Public Library system (1972-2010). He was invited to write an informal paper on Dr. Whalley as teacher (“Multiple Forms of Navigation: A Validation”) for the 2010 ACCUTE Conference.
"Direction-Finding, Leadership, and Vision"
This paper considers early 20th Century explorers and Col. T.E. Lawrence (of Arabia) as inspirations for John Hornby and George Whalley, with the pattern repeating itself in Hornby’s influence on Edgar Christian, and the latter’s impact on the last days of George Whalley himself. Lawrence, since 1960, and Whalley, since 1964, have had a lasting resonance in my life.
Ksenia Choly recently graduated from Tyndale University College with an undergraduate degree in Philosophy. She is hoping to pursue a Masters and eventually PhD in Philosophy in September of 2016, focusing on Aesthetics and the use of poetry in philosophy.
"Beauty as a Form of Objective Truth: An Exploration of Platonic and Aristotelian Conceptions of Objective Beauty"
In the wake of the modern and especially the postmodern period, the experience of beauty has been degraded to mere emotionalism, which does not encourage formal study. However, when exploring the pre-modern study of aesthetics, conceptions of beauty become more strictly defined. Aesthetics should be considered an equal with ethics, metaphysics, and epistemology, because, like the formerly mentioned areas of study, aesthetics is a subset of philosophy. Beauty is a facet of truth, especially when interacting with the Platonic and Aristotelian forms of beauty, which are further enhanced by St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas.
The Poet Laureate of Toronto (2012-15), George Elliott Clarke is an Africadian (African-Nova Scotian). A prized poet, his 13th work is Traverse (Exile, 2014), an autobiographical poem. His forthcoming title is the epic poem, “The Canticles,” whose subject is slavery, to be published, over five years, beginning in Fall 2016. Currently the inaugural E.J. Pratt Professor of Canadian Literature at the University of Toronto, Clarke has also taught at Duke University (1994-99), McGill University (1998-99), the University of British Columbia (2002), and Harvard University (2013-14). He has won several awards for his poetry and a novel, and received eight honorary doctorates, plus appointments to the Order of Nova Scotia and the Order of Canada at the rank of Officer.
Discussion Panel: “Writing in Canada Today: Sixty Years after Kingston, 1955”
Dr. Clarke will participate in a roundtable discussion that examines questions regarding writing in Canada at the present day. He will reflect on the perspective on Canadian print and digital culture in light of his experience as a poet, writer, and professor. The purpose of the roundtable is to initiate a dialogue regarding the changes and continuities in writing, reading, publishing, and other significant aspects of the written word in Canadian culture since the 1955 Canadian Writers' Conference at Queen's University.
Hope Cunningham recently earned her undergraduate degree in Philosophy from Tyndale University College. During her time at Tyndale she was awarded the UC Faculty Scholarship and the Jean C. Scott Memorial Award in General Arts. In childhood her family moved more than thirty times over three continents which nurtured an insatiable hunger within her to learn. Believing that any true thing is a glimpse into the divine mind, her interests span philosophy, theology, psychology, literature and the natural sciences. At 42, she still has no idea what she wants to be when she grows up.
“The Vital Role of Beauty in Human Progress”
This paper celebrates the indispensable role beauty has played in history by inspiring not only the arts but also the sciences. Pushing back against the modernist inclination to divorce beauty from aesthetics, it argues that beauty is uniquely equipped to motivate individuals to explore and learn. It demonstrates that beauty’s ability to spark our desire, stimulate our curiosity, and teach us to hope distinguishes it as a priceless tool that we must masterfully employ in the continued pursuit of progress.
Michael John DiSanto is Associate Professor of English at Algoma University. He is the author of Under Conrad’s Eyes: The Novel as Criticism and the co-editor of D.H. Lawrence: Selected Criticism and Literary Criticism of Matthew Arnold. Michael is currently writing a biography of George Whalley and editing print collections of his poetry, essays, and letters. The Whalley website and database, http://georgewhalley.ca, are a collaboration with Robin Isard and funded by SSHRC and NOHFC.
"George Whalley: Poems 1933-1982"
This paper will give an overview of the new collected edition of George Whalley's poems that will triple the number of works included in George Johnson's edition published in 1986. The paper will detail the work of gathering the previously unpublished poems from Whalley's diaries, letters, and papers in Queen's University Archives, Library and Archives Canada, the McMaster University Archives, and the Whalley Estate Papers. DiSanto will show, for the first time, the database and the records containing digital scans, transcriptions, and metadata for all of the poetry manuscripts and typescripts.
Christopher Doody is a PhD candidate in the department of English at Carleton University. His dissertation is a literary history of the Canadian Authors Association from 1921-1960. He has published articles on Douglas Coupland’s novel Generation X and on Amazon’s advertisement of the Kindle.
“Judging the Judges: An Examination of the Governor General’s Literary Awards, 1936-1959”
This paper gives an overview of the creation of the Governor General’s Literary Awards from 1936-1959, focusing on the judging of the awards. While the Awards claimed to determine the “best” literature of the previous year, based solely on “literary merit,” this was rarely the case. The judging of the Governor General’s Literary Awards, especially in the first two decades of its existence, was influenced by a number of complicated and conflicting considerations—including the author’s age, wealth, gender, etc—which were rarely concerned with a book’s literary qualities. In examining the reasons why books won, or did not win, the Governor General’s Literary Award in the first two decades of its existence, this paper begins to explore the important role the Awards have played in shaping the Canadian literary field.
Natasha Duquette is Associate Dean at Tyndale University College in Toronto, where she teaches Philosophy and English. She has edited two collections, Sublimer Aspects: Interfaces between Literature, Aesthetics, and Theology (Cambridge Scholars, 2007) and Jane Austen and the Arts: Elegance, Propriety, and Harmony (Lehigh U P, 2013). Her articles have appeared in Jane Austen Sings the Blues (U of Alberta P, 2009), Mosaic, Notes and Queries, Persuasions-Online, and English Studies in Canada. For Pickering and Chatto, she produced a critical edition of Helen Maria Williams’s novel Julia (2009). Her monograph Veiled Intent: Dissenting Women’s Theological Aesthetics is forthcoming with Pickwick.
“Beauteous Dyes”: Variegation in Phillis Wheatley’s Aesthetics
Phillis Wheatley was a brilliant bondwoman who constructed a unique aesthetic system within her eighteenth-century poetry, which eventually led to her freedom from slavery. In “On Being Brought from Africa to America,” Wheatley satirically critiques the idea of an African “diabolic die [sic].” In other poems, her positive portrayal of tonal variegation, via landscape aesthetics, resists the idea of a singular, vilified colour. Her “Hymn to Evening” contains praise of the sky’s “beauteous dyes,” and in “A Goodbye to America,” she depicts “Aurora’s thousand dyes.” She thus rebuts racist distortions of reality with the truth and beauty of natural multiplicity.
John Ferns, Professor Emeritus of English and Cultural Studies, McMaster University. Author of A.J.M Smith (1979), Lytton Strachey (1988), F.R. Leavis (2000), and five books of poems: The Antlered Boy (with Lloyd Abbey, 1970); Henry Hudson (1975); The Show Horses (1976); From the River (1985); and Affirmations (with Lionel Adey and Anthony Trott, 1989). Co-Editor with Brian Crick of George Whalley’s Studies in Literature and the Humanities: Innocence of Intent (1985) and with Kevin McCabe of The Poetry of Lucy Maud Montgomery (1987). Married with three children and two grandchildren, he has recently retired as rector of St George’s Reformed Episcopal Church in Hamilton.
“Edgar Christian, John Hornby, and George Whalley: From Unflinching to Death in the Barren Ground”
This paper explores George Whalley’s developing interest in Edgar Christian and John Hornby from the time of his first reading of Edgar Christian’s diary Unflinching (1937) through his writing of The Legend of John Hornby (1962) to his editing of Christian’s diary as Death in the Barren Ground (1980). What drew George Whalley to Edgar Christian and John Hornby? The discussion will attempt to consider the effects of “war experience” on John Hornby and George Whalley.
Alana Fletcher is a doctoral candidate in the department of English Language and Literature at Queen’s University. Her dissertation examines the role of cross-cultural adaptation in obtaining environmental justice for a small Indigenous community in Canada’s North. Alana’s work has been published or is forthcoming in Canadian Literature, Studies in Canadian Literature, Victorian Review, Papers of the Bibliographical Society of Canada, and elsewhere.
"George Whalley in Context: No Man an Island and Poems 1939-44"
This paper places two of Whalley’s major poetry collections, Poems 1939-1944 (1946) and No Man an Island (1948) in the historical context of Canadian poetry in the 1940s. Whalley’s collections appeared at an increasingly self-reflexive moment when Canadian poetry was beginning to explicitly distinguish between—as A.J.M. Smith controversially outlined in The Book of Canadian Poetry (1943)—poets of “The Native Tradition” and those of “The Cosmopolitan Tradition.” This paper examines selections from Poems 1939-1944 and No Man an Island alongside some of Whalley’s writings on his poetic process to challenge the linked binaries of Canadian-Modern/British-Conventional that dominated contemporary perceptions of poetry in this period.
Paul Franz is a third-year PhD student in English at Yale. He holds a BA in Classics from Harvard and an MA in English from the University of Toronto. He is interested in the intersections of poetics, historiography, and political writing, and has recently delivered a paper on the political aesthetics of Yeats and Shelley to an interdisciplinary conference on the History of British Political Thought at UC Berkeley (October 2014); his paper on Paul Celan’s German translations of Shakespeare, presented at the Toronto NeMLA (April 2015), has particular affinities with his present paper’s focus on historicism, translation, and aesthetics.
"Keats on Not Reading: Aesthetics, Historicism, and the Dilemma of Exploration"
For several decades, political criticism of Romantic poetry has often singled out Keats for censure, on the basis of his alleged aestheticist neglect of political realities. My paper attempts to critique this view by examining two Keats poems about experiences of reading—or rather, I argue, about not reading. I argue that these poems manifest a critical self-consciousness about the aesthetics of reception, one that anticipates and perhaps deflects more recent criticisms. Combining source-critical research with theoretical reflection drawn from Adorno, and others, I attempt to deepen our understanding both of these poems and of self-critical potential of romantic aesthetics.
A specialist in Canadian publishing history, Dr. Janet B. Friskney is author of New Canadian Library: The Ross-McClelland Years, 1952-1978 and editor of Thirty Years of Story-telling: Selected Short Fiction by Ethelwyn Wetherald. Her other publication credits include articles on the Methodist Book and Publishing House of Toronto, nineteenth-century Bible and tract society activity in Canada, and the history of publishing and library services for the blind in Canada. She served as Associate Editor to Volume 3 of the History of the Book in Canada.
“English Canada's Publishers Embrace the "Quality Pocket Book": NCL and Its Emulators of the 1960s”
Traditional emphasis on McClelland & Stewart’s New Canadian Library (NCL) as a milestone in the history of Canadian literary studies has undermined recognition of the series as a pioneering example of a mid-twentieth phenomenon in North America’s English-language book publishing industry: the “quality pocket book.” If we re-focus our gaze on the NCL’s format, consider the two broad book markets it targeted (educational and trade), and broaden our thinking of content into the realm of “Canadiana,” the series emerges as a trendsetting venture in the history of English Canada’s book publishing industry. By the 1960s, the NCL initiative would be emulated by several Canadian-based publishing houses that demonstrated varying levels of commitment to publishing for the educational and trade markets. They included: Oxford Press Canada; Clarke, Irwin; Ryerson Press; and Macmillan of Canada.
James Hahn is currently pursuing a PhD in English at the University of Toronto, under the supervision of Smaro Kamboureli, the Avie Bennett Chair of Canadian Literature.
“It should never have occurred”: A Resistant Reading of Stephen Scobie’s McAlmon’s Chinese Opera
This paper considers the ethical dimensions of Stephen Scobie’s depiction of the titular McAlmon’s unconventional marriage – a topic that the historical McAlmon did not want utilized as biographical fodder in a literary work – alongside the notion of “resistant reading,” which Daniel R. Schwarz characterizes as an interrogative process occasioned by texts that “disturb our sense of fairness.” It explores the perhaps unanswerable, but nevertheless relevant, question: what loyalty, if any, do readers and practitioners of the documentary long poem owe to the historical subject(s) in question?
Ken Hernden BA (Hons.), MLIS (Western University) has served for the last nine years as University Librarian and University Archivist at Algoma University, which transitioned from an affiliate college of Laurentian University to an independent university in 2008. Previously, Ken served as Head of Reference, Audio-Visual and Systems at the North Bay (Ontario) Public Library, as Adjunct Archivist at the York University Archives (Toronto, Ont.), and as Librarian/Archivist at Rush University (Chicago, Ill.). Between 2010 and 2012, he served as co-director of Algoma’s Shingwauk Residential Schools Centre as it professionalized and transitioned from a volunteer project to a university department.
Discussion Panel: “Writing in Canada Today: Sixty Years after Kingston, 1955”
Mr. Hernden will participate in a roundtable discussion that examines questions regarding writing in Canada at the present day. He will reflect on the perspective on Canadian print and digital culture in light of his experience as a librarian. The purpose of the roundtable is to initiate a dialogue regarding the changes and continuities in writing, reading, publishing, and other significant aspects of the written word in Canadian culture since the 1955 Canadian Writers' Conference at Queen's University.
Katie Alyssa Hunt is a PhD candidate in Romanticism at Queen’s University. Her current dissertation work centres on insomnia, particularly its poetic representations, contemporary medical and scientific interpretation, and intersection with theories of consciousness and identity. This paper was born out of preliminary work on her chapter on opium and medicinally induced insomnia.
Sense and the Revisions of Coleridge's "The Pains of Sleep"
This paper will investigate Coleridge’s understanding of feeling and intuition in the context of the torturous nights of “The Pains of Sleep.” I argue that the question the poet-speaker poses nearing the conclusion - “wherefore, wherefore fall on me?” - is not just one of personal torment and frustration, but one which encapsulates his desire to understand the source of his conflicting and chaotic psychic states – whether internal or external, personal or divine, material or metaphysical – with each answer presenting a frightening dilemma concerning the reality of the human soul. While the poem itself offers no definitive answer, by examining the revisions which took place between 1803 and 1816, I hope to offer insight into the trajectory and development of Coleridge’s thought.
Robin Isard started his library career working at the Washington DC public library as Head of Intranet Development. Following that, he lived many years overseas, primarily in West Africa building IT infrastructure in The Republic of the Gambia, Sierra Leone, Guinea Bissau and Guinea Conakry. He also worked in Ethiopia and Uganda on a telehealth project on behalf of The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, Canada. Currently, Robin is the systems librarian at Algoma University where he works primarily with open source technologies. He’s a contributor to Opensource.com and tweets at @RobinIsard. http://flatcapblackbackpack.net
"A Digital Edition of George Whalley's Poetry Manuscripts and Typescripts"
This talk will be a demonstration of the Drupal-based interface for the digital edition of Whalley's poetry manuscripts and typescripts at http://georgewhalley.ca, a the preliminary iteration of which will be published for the first time at the conference.
Dean Irvine is an associate professor in the Department of English at Dalhousie University. He is the author of Editing Modernity: Women and Little-Magazine Cultures in Canada, and the editor of The Canadian Modernists Meet, Heresies: The Complete Poems of Anne Wilkinson, Archive For Our Times: Previously Uncollected and Unpublished Poems of Dorothy Livesay, (with Smaro Kamboureli) Editing as Cultural Practice in Canada, and (with Bart Vautour and Vanessa Lent) Making Canada New: Editing, Modernism, and New Media. He is the director of Editing Modernism in Canada (editingmodernism.ca), Agile Humanities Agency, the Canadian Literature Collection, and the Modernist Commons (modernistcommons.ca).
Discussion Panel: “Writing in Canada Today: Sixty Years after Kingston, 1955”
Dr. Irvine will participate in a roundtable discussion that examines questions regarding writing in Canada at the present day. He will reflect on the perspective on Canadian print and digital culture in light of his experience as a critic. The purpose of the roundtable is to initiate a dialogue regarding the changes and continuities in writing, reading, publishing, and other significant aspects of the written word in Canadian culture since the 1955 Canadian Writers' Conference at Queen's University.
Richard Johnson was one of Whalley's students at Queen's University who took both his Romantic Poetry and Literary Criticism seminars. Whalley was also Johnson's supervisor for his Master's and doctoral dissertations. They worked together and became friends until Whalley's death. Johnson wrote one of the informal reminiscences in the volume "Remembrances", edited by Michael Moore, in which he commented on Whalley's conduct in the classroom and on his influence on students who allowed themselves to enter into and share Whalley's activities of mind.
"Growing a 'capacity for sustained reflection': George Whalley's classroom"
I will discuss my memories of George Whalley as a classroom presence completely unlike any other professor I've known and reflect on the ways he shaped my imaginative life, my academic life and, indeed, my personal life. He did not do so deliberately: he did not lecture, he was not dogmatic; he did, however, in the true sense of the word educate, help us draw out of ourselves what we were capable of seeing, feeling, and imagining. By brooding over a small number of poems without, seemingly, purpose or direction, he helped us develop attitudes of mind and methods of inquiry and a "capacity for sustained reflection." Many of us were transformed; by helping us learn how to learn he allowed us to continue to expand our growing love of language, of poetry, and the life of the mind. I'll conclude with a short discussion of what Whalley called the "unravelling of a poem" with reference to “The Solitary Reaper.”
Shelley King is Professor of English at Queen’s University, Kingston, where she specializes in Nineteenth-Century British Literature, especially the works of Romantic woman writer Amelia Alderson Opie (1769-1853). She and John B. Pierce are co-editors of The Collected Poems of Amelia Alderson Opie (Oxford University Press, 2009); most recently they have also collaborated on an edition of the correspondence of Samuel Richardson’s later years for Cambridge University Press. In addition to articles and essays on Opie, Dr. King has also co-edited with Yaël Schlick the essay collection Refiguring the Coquette: Essays in Culture and Coquetry (Bucknell University Press, 2008).
“Seeing Pictures”: Amelia Opie’s “Recollections of a Visit to Paris in 1802”
This paper explores the aesthetic responses of a set of British tourists who travelled to Paris during the Peace of Amiens in 1802. Among them were John Opie, who would be admitted to the Royal Academy in 1807, and his wife Amelia who was enjoying a career as a celebrated author. In 1830, Opie published her “Recollections of a Visit to Paris in 1802” in The Lady’s Magazine, in which she recounts her responses to paintings in the Louvre and in private collections, offering an intimate glimpse of taste and judgement in the shadow of war in the Romantic era.
Robert Lecker is Greenshields Professor of English at McGill University, where he specializes in Canadian literature. Lecker was co-editor of the critical journal Essays on Canadian Writing from 1975-2004, and copublisher at ECW Press from 1977-2003. Lecker extended his editorial work through the creation of several anthologies, including Open Country: Canadian Literature in English (2007). He is the author of numerous books and articles, including On the Line (1982), Robert Kroetsch (1986), Another I (1988), Making It Real (1995), Dr. Delicious (2006), The Cadence of Civil Elegies (2006), and Keepers of the Code (2013). In 2003 he founded the Robert Lecker Agency.
"Authors and Literary Agents in Canada"
When one looks back at the proceedings of the original Kingston conference, held in 1955, it becomes clear that literary agencies played a very small role in the world of Canadian publishing at that time. It was only during the 1970s that commercial literary agencies entered the world of Canadian writing. I examine the role of literary agents in order to answer a set of fundamental questions: What particular challenges are faced by Canadian agents? To what extent do agents promote or suppress certain kinds of literature? How do these activities respond to or create what we call literary currency and taste? How do the economics of being an agent affect the conditions of publishing a book in Canada? My aim is to show how many of the issues it raised at the original conference remain relevant to the Canadian publishing industry today.
Steve Lukits is Associate Professor of English at Royal Military College and George Whalley's last PhD student.
"Technology Made Flesh in the “crystals of words”: The Sinking of the Bismark in Whalley’s Prose and Poetry"
From the open bridge of the destroyer HMS Tartar, George Whalley watched the sinking of the Bismark on 27 May 1941. He wrote about the event in prose and poetry, first as a personal letter in 11 June 1941, then as a long poem entitled “Battle Patterns,” and finally as an article in the July 1960 Atlantic magazine, which reprinted the letter with an introduction and Epilogue. This paper examines how Whalley realized his experience in what he calls the “crystals of words” in his letter, a phrase he repeats at the closing of his poem. Crystals are solids with a regular arrangement of constituents, and speak to the hard, metallic technology of naval warfare, as well as suggesting the orderly arrangement of words. Crystallization, to which Whalley often referred to in his classes, is his metaphor for the seemingly magical process of the artist, who realizes feeling and thought, even within the technological world of a fighting warship, into the language of poetry to make the lived experience come alive again. My critical examination of Whalley’s prose and verse representations of the sinking of the Bismark is based on his analysis of technical prose and poetic language in Poetic Process. Such a reading gives insight into the essentially poetic quality of Whalley’s letter and poem, and to his use of prose and verse in them. Both of his texts realize what he calls “the sensation of actual warfare,” where the fragility of what Yeats calls the “fury and the mire of human veins” meet Whalley’s “implacable will of ocean” to translate and transform the technology of war into a human drama.
Paul Marquis: After receiving his PhD from Queen’s University in 1988, Marquis accepted a position at St. Francis Xavier University in Nova Scotia. He has published on English Renaissance literature, especially the works of Sidney, Spenser, Isabella Whitney, and Richard Tottel, in ESC, RS, MLR, ELR, and The Book Collector. He has edited the Elizabethan version of Richard Tottel’s Songes and Sonettes for the Renaissance English Text Society. As a graduate student at Queen’s University, Marquis took courses from George Whalley and wrote an MA thesis in which he compared the theories of symbol in the works of George Whalley and Northrop Frye under the supervision of A.C. Hamilton.
“Poetry, aesthetics and value in the works of George Whalley”
With the publication of Poetic Process (1953), and in subsequent papers, George Whalley draws a parallel between the poet's mind in the process of composing and the critic's mind in the act of reading a poem. The degree to which the reader "feels" poetic language will determine how he or she evolves in the critical process from a literal understanding of the poem to an appreciation of the more complex and resonant symbols in which the poet embodies an experience of reality. I will argue that in the formal and rhetorical patterns of the poem Whalley thinks that readers can experience and value the transformative powers of the aesthetic form.
Robert G. May is an assistant professor in the Department of English at Queen’s University. A Canadianist who specializes in twentieth-century poetry in English, he has written on F.R. Scott, Gary Geddes, John Barton, and others. He is the editor of Gary Geddes: Essays on His Works and Duncan Campbell Scott’s In the Village of Viger: A Critical Edition. He is currently co-editing a critical and scholarly edition of the poetry and translations of F.R. Scott.
“The Canadian Authors’ Meat: F.R. Scott at the Kingston Conference.”
F.R. Scott was instrumental in planning and organizing the Kingston Writers’ Conference in 1955. Though Scott secured the Rockefeller funding that made the conference possible, some participants were displeased that he seemed to be compromising his socialistic principles. However, Scott’s socialism was always pragmatic and never doctrinaire. Scott recognized that writers in Canada, even the younger generation following his and Smith’s, lacked a coherent identity and sense of community. It was more important for Scott to help create the conditions that made it possible to correct this deficiency rather than to adhere stubbornly to an ideology, however passionately he believed in it. The Kingston Writers’ Conference resulted in increased government support for Canadian libraries and prominence of Canadian literature in high school and university curricula, in the establishment of McClelland and Stewart’s New Canadian Library series, in giving new direction for the Canada Council and the Governor-General Awards, among other achievements. Scott’s instincts to expand his conception of a Canadian literary conference from an intimate collection of poets to a veritable symposium on “The Writer, his Media and the Public” may have resulted in some short-term disgruntlement among his contemporaries, but it shifted seismically the cultural and economic landscape for a new generation of Canadian writers.
Emma McClure is a Trillium Fellow in her first year of a Philosophy Ph.D. program at the University of Toronto. Her research explores the intersection of ethics and narrative, especially the stories that we tell about our own lives. Some narratives are destructive—manipulating the people around us or preventing us from achieving our full potential. Others improve our quality of life—giving us hope and motivating us to become better than we are. Thus, she argues for two theses: 1) we can choose which stories we tell, so 2) tell good stories.
"Under the Influence: Lyrical Ballads and Thomas de Quincey's Confessions of an English Opium-Eater"
Thomas de Quincey highlights the role Lyrical Ballads plays in his early life, but he overlooks the influence the book has upon his depiction of opium addiction. I will argue that his early exposure to Romantic poetry leads him to aestheticize and justify his later exposure to the drug. The pleasures and virtues which (he claims) stem from opium highs are strikingly similar to those which Wordsworth attempted to impart in his poetry. Consciously or otherwise, de Quincey modeled his defense of “The Pleasures of Opium” on Wordsworth's defense of his poetic experiments in the "Preface to Lyrical Ballads.”
Katherine McLeod is a Postdoctoral Fellow with SpokenWeb / Department of English, Concordia University, where she researches audio archives of poetry readings. Her SSHRC-funded postdoctoral research (TransCanada Institute / U of Guelph, 2010-12) focused on CBC Radio literary programming and her doctoral dissertation (University of Toronto, 2010) examined poetry by The Four Horsemen, Michael Ondaatje, George Elliott Clarke, and Robert Bringhurst. Along with reviews in Canadian Literature and Canadian Theatre Review, she has published an article in Mosaic, a chapter in Theatre and Autobiography: Writing and Performing Lives in Theory and Practice, and the latter has been re-published in Critical Perspectives on Canadian Theatre in English: Solo Performance .
"Whalley, Weaver and Webb: Re-Listening to CBC Radio Literary Programming through the Canadian Writers’ Conference, 1955"
Among the attendees at the Canadian Writers’ Conference, there were three figures who would become tremendously influential in shaping “Canadian literature” on CBC Radio’s literary programs: George Whalley, Robert Weaver and Phyllis Webb. This paper examines the Whalley-Weaver correspondence before and after the Canadian Writers’ Conference in order to identify the ways in which Whalley, as a writer for radio, and Weaver, as a producer of radio, conceptualized the listening public. Turning to Webb, whose report “The Poet and the Publisher” at the Canadian Writers’ Conference was delivered again on Weaver’s radio program “Anthology” (15 November 1955), this paper further argues that Webb’s report anticipates and informs her radio work. Yet, in order to examine this angle, the archival documents regarding CBC radio must be explored through the network of correspondence between and among Weaver and Whalley, Webb and Whalley, and Weaver and Webb.
Patricia Oprea is a third-year PhD candidate in English Literature at Queen's University who specializes in Victorian literature. She is particularly interested in the aesthetics and ethics of the representation of technology in Victorian novels. She is currently working on her dissertation, which is titled “Mechanizing the Human, Humanizing the Machine: Technology and Genre in the Victorian Novel.”
“The Importance of Being Beautiful: Ugliness and the Destruction of the Soul in Frankenstein"
My paper, discusses Frankenstein’s exploration of inward and outward beauty and ugliness. It looks at Victor and the Creature as Romantic heroes whose downfalls are inextricably linked with aesthetics. Using Frankenstein as a foundation, I will explore the importance of the aesthetic conditions under which the Romantic artist operates, the importance of aesthetics in social relations, and the difficulty of perceiving and defining the aesthetics of the invisible soul, as articulated and complicated by the Romantics.
David Pugh: I completed my PhD at the University of Toronto under the supervision of Hans Eichner, the eminent scholar of Romanticism and editor of the works of Friedrich Schlegel. I have been teaching in the German program at Queen's since 1989, and have taught graduate seminars on the German Enlightenment, Weimar Classicism, Heinrich Heine and Thomas Mann. I have supervised or co-supervised 7 doctoral dissertations. I have published two books on the aesthetic and dramatic works of Friedrich Schiller as well as approximately 20 articles. Since around 2010 my reserach interests have shifted towards the political field, and I have been teaching an undergraduate course on fascism.
"Did Friedrich Schlegel have an aesthetic philosophy?"
In my paper, "Did Friedrich Schlegel have an aesthetic philosophy?" I draw on the research of Hans Eichner to answer this fundamental question, based on an examination of Schlegel's early texts. The question is complicated, first, because of Schlegel's aversion to the term Aesthetik, and second, thanks to the term's latent ambiguity, which is brought out by the two English equivalents aesthetic and aesthetics. I shall argue that, by way of opposition to the Kantian practice of analysis, Schlegel's characteristic gesture in constructing his aesthetics is synthesis, or the bundling together of concepts. Second, his new aesthetic consists of an appreciation of the values connected with the Roman, a term that again exploits ambiguities to include both the modern novel and the whole Romance tradition.
John Reeves, born in Merritt, BC in 1926 but educated in England (BA Classics, Cambridge 1948), had a very long career with CBC in Toronto, where he produced and directed several George Whalley programs: notable among them were three major adaptations, of Primo Levi’s “If This Is A Man” and “The Truce,” and of “Let Us Now Praise Famous Men” by James Agee and Walker Evans; also adaptations of “Peter Abelard” by Helen Waddell and of “Le Morte D’Arthur” by Thomas Malory, and reflections on poetry by Gerard Manley Hopkins and on the martyrdom of Robert Southwell.
"Concerning George Whalley and Radio"
This paper reflects on the adaptations of Primo Levi's "If This Is A Man" and "Let Us Now Praise Famous Men" by James Agee and Walker Evans written by George Whalley and produced by John Reeves for CBC radio. For Levi's text, Whalley wanted to make the radio listener feel the impact of Auschwitz on Levi as though he were there by reproducing the many languages used in the camp. It gave the reconstruction a chilling authenticity. For the Agee and Evans book, Whalley decided to have two equal speakers: one of them, acting as Evans, would speak all the lines that were descriptive to capture the presence of the photographs; the other, acting as Agee, would speak all of the lines that were narrative, of events and customs, and reflective. He used three simultaneous chronologies to structrue the story: a book of hours, the seasons, and the Christian year. Whalley's contributions to radio are significant and deserve greater attention.
John Reeves will be interviewed by Michael Ondaatje before the gathered audience.
Carolyn Smart has written seven collections of poetry including Careen (Brick Books, September 2015), Hooked - Seven Poems (Brick Books, 2009) and The Way to Come Home (Brick Books, 1993). An excerpt from her memoir At the End of the Day (Penumbra Press, 2001) won first prize in the 1993 CBC Literary Contest. She is the founder of the RBC Bronwen Wallace Award for Emerging Writers, poetry editor for the MacLennan Series of McGill-Queen’s Press, and since 1989 has been Professor of Creative Writing at Queen's University. http://www.brickbooks.ca/bookauthors/carolyn-smart/
Discussion Panel: “Writing in Canada Today: Sixty Years after Kingston, 1955”
Professor Smart will participate in a roundtable discussion that examines questions regarding writing in Canada at the present day. He will reflect on the perspective on Canadian print and digital culture in light of his experience as a poet and creative writing instructor. The purpose of the roundtable is to initiate a dialogue regarding the changes and continuities in writing, reading, publishing, and other significant aspects of the written word in Canadian culture since the 1955 Canadian Writers' Conference at Queen's University.
Kalin Smith is a Master’s Candidate in the Department of English and Cultural Studies at McMaster University. He specializes in eighteenth-century British literature. His current research interests include early-modern comic literature, the history of laughter, and the history of sexuality. More specifically, his current MA thesis-project explores Henry Fielding’s satirical representations of prostitution in mid-eighteenth-century London.
"The Poet as Detective: Edgar Allan Poe and the Mystery Narrative"
Edgar Allan Poe was a maniacal aesthetician. His three ‘tales of ratiocination’—“The Murders in the Rue Morgue” (1841), “The Mystery of Marie Rogêt” (1842), and “The Purloined Letter” (1844)—allegorize the principles of composition outlined time and time again in his literary criticism. The telos of his poetry and prose is affecting ‘Beauty’; the same excited wonder detective C. Auguste Dupin’s ratiocination stirs within Poe’s unnamed narrator as each mystery unfolds. His analytic method mirrors Poe’s compositional method. This paper investigates Poe’s conception of ‘poetic truth’ and allegorical theorization of the poet as a detective.
J.A. Weingarten is an Assistant Professor at Concordia University. His research and teaching centre on twentieth-century Canadian literature and media with an emphasis on creative representations of cultural or personal histories in poetry, fiction, theatre, documentary, and graphic novels. He is also the co-Managing Editor and co-founder of The Bull Calf: Reviews of Fiction, Poetry, and Literary Criticism.
"Paying the Costs of Production: Notes on the Ryerson Chapbook Series"
From 1925 until 1962, Lorne Pierce’s Ryerson Chap-book Series was a safe haven for aspiring Canadian poets who had few, if any, outlets for their work. The series spawned two hundred “chap-books.” While Pierce offered poets an unprecedented chance to publish, the intense demands of his job and his personal tastes limited his ability and willingness to help these poets launch their careers. Looking at several poets (such as Eugenie Perry, R.E. Rashley, Al Purdy, and Norman Levine), this paper reconsiders the legacy of Pierce's series. For some poets, Pierce’s chapbook series was a promise of publication, but not one of commercial, financial, or literary support or of the advancement of a poetic career.
Elizabeth Whalley is a Canadian artist living and working in Quebec, Nova Scotia, and New York . She has exhibited widely and created many projects in New York including work for the TD Bank’s Art for Trees; Conflux; Flux Factory; and Galapagos artspace. She was awarded a Canada Council travel grant, a McNair Scholars research grant, and a Pratt faculty grant. She received her MFA and an Advanced Certificate (PIMA) from Brooklyn College after studies at Concordia University, Montreal. She has taught at Adelphi University, Haverford College, Pratt Institute, Pont Aven School of Contemporary Art, and Brooklyn College. She is the Director of the Inverness County Centre for the Arts, Inverness, NS. http://elizabethwhalley.com.
"The Classicized Imagination: Influences of George Whalley on the Sculpture of Peter Whalley"
While Peter Whalley’s artistic output covers many genres from political cartooning and film strips to painting, drawing, and outdoor sculpture, it is in his bronze sculpture that he demonstrates the profound influence on him of George Whalley’s ideas about imagination and the classical tradition. With images of the sculpture and referencing my talks with PW, I will show how GW communicated an ideal of artistic creativity that guided PW throughout his career. This ideal acknowledges both the isolated journey of the artist and his struggle to connect through an expressive, timeless, formal language.
Glenn Willmott serves as Professor of English at Queen’s University and studies and teaches varieties of Modernism. His most recent book is Modern Animalism: Habitats of Scarcity and Wealth in Comics and Literature (UTP 2012). His current research is divided between comics fundamentals, especially character and world-building, and the poetics of wonder, anchored in an eco-critical perspective, of which the genealogy of a Pacific paradise and the Byron work are a part.
“Blood in the Blue Lagoon: Byron and the Politics of Wonder”
This paper will explore the politics of wonder, in tension between a synchronic notion of sympathetic nature and a diachronic notion of violent history, in Lord Byron’s late poem set in an exotic Pacific, The Island, or Christian and His Comrades (1923). My presentation will focus on an internal or close reading of the poem, and depending on available time, discuss Byron’s external sources and historical contexts in Romantic discourse on Pacific life generally, and specifically on the mutiny of the Bounty and its aftermath. I hope to show that this relatively neglected poem reveals the apogee of Byron’s political and artistic aims, and tells us something important about Romantic wonder in modern literature.