CFP: Mervyn Peake Conference 2011

Mervyn Peake and the Fantasy Tradition : A Centenary Conference

An international conference hosted by the English & Creative Writing Department, University of Chichester and the Sussex Centre for Folklore, Fairy Tales and Fantasy

15–16 July 2011 Chichester, UK

Keynote Speakers include: Joanne Harris | Michael Moorcock | Peter Winnington | Colin Manlove | Farah Mendlesohn | Sebastian Peake

This conference and related events next July to mark the centenary of Peake’s birth include exhibitions of his paintings and illustrations in Chichester (Peake lived in nearby Burpham while writing the Gormenghast books, and is buried there). July 2011 is also the publication date of Titus Awakes, Maeve Gilmore’s conclusion of her husband’s Gormenghast sequence. The conference will celebrate, explore and discuss the many facets of Peake’s rich creativity, including his work as fantasy novelist, children’s writer, playwright, poet, writer of nonsense verse, artist and illustrator (both of his own books and classics such as The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, The Hunting of the Snark, the Alice books, Treasure Island and the Grimms’ Household Tales).

Proposals are invited for papers, presentations and panels on any aspect of Peake’s work. We especially welcome proposals relating Peake to the broader traditions of fairy tales, fantasy and children’s literature.Relevant topics might include:

  • thematic explorations of Peake’s oeuvre
  • textual / linguistic / rhetorical analyses
  • issues of genre (e.g. in what sense is Peake’s work ‘fantasy’?)
  • issues of race and/or gender and/or class in Peake’s oeuvre
  • questions of ‘applicability’ (in Tolkien’s sense)
  • the relation of image and text in narrative (both in Peake’s own books and in those he illustrated)
  • adaptations of Peake’s work
  • Peake’s literary precursors and sources, for example in (Gothic) fantasy, children’s literature and nonsense verse
  • Peake’s influence (from Moorcock and Miéville to mannerpunk)
  • creative responses to Peake’s work in both literature and the visual arts

It is planned to publish a selection of the conference papers.

Please submit abstracts (max. 300 words) for papers not exceeding 20 minutes (with 10 minutes for discussion). For other kinds of presentation, for example creative responses to Peake’s work (both visual and literary), please send a sample, rather than an abstract. All proposals must be received by 14 January 2011.

For further details, including the proposal submission form, please see the conference website at: http://www.chiuni.ac.uk/english/MervynPeakeConference.cfm.

There are some fascinating connections between Mervyn Peake and Stevenson. Sebastian Peake has noted that ‘Treasure Island was the first book my father read, and loved, given him by his father.’ Some of Peake’s best illustrations are of Treasure Island and Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde; these are to be shown at the exhibitions accompanying the conference.

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