Vernon Lee 2019: An Anniversary Conference in Florence

Brilliantly organised by the British Association for Victorian Studies (BAVS), the University of University, and the Associazione Culturale Il Palmerino, the Florence symposium “Vernon Lee: An Anniversary Conference” gathered 33 academics and scholars, among whom keynote speakers Christa Zorn and Carolyn Burdett, and many lovers of Lee’s work.

IMG_0646.JPG                                                       Christa Zorn    IMG_0590                                                                                                   Carolyn Burdett

No less than eleven panels of speakers dealt with the following topics: Art and Aesthetics, Writing, Style and Philosophy, Ecocriticism and the Genius Loci, History and Aesthetic Revivals, Place, War and WWI, Myth, Religion and the Supernatural, Vernon Lee and the Senses, Otherness, Pacifism and Sympathy, Dialogic Exchanges, Travel Writing and Affect, Violence and National Identity. To crown it all, a round table was organised to envision Vernon Lee Studies in the 21st century.

Here are a few pictures, testifying to the high level of engagement of all participants, and also to the remarkably friendly atmosphere prevailing all through the conference. This was indeed the major scientific event of the year for all Lee scholars. I thank Gilles Pasquet for capturing these moments, and I apologize for not being able to post pictures of all of you, dear speakers and participants (but you will find a list of all registered speakers at the end of this post).

IMG_0485.JPG                                                                      IMG_0462.JPGFrancesca Baldry                                       and                                       Kristin Mahoney

IMG_0512.JPG                                    IMG_0511.JPG

Sally Blackburn-Daniels                        and                         Shafquat Towheed

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Michael Craske: ‘Sit up! Hearing the World or Listening for Ghosts: Lee’s Music and its Lovers



IMG_0599.JPG       IMG_0440.JPG   Sophie Geoffroy                                              and Federica Parretti

IMG_0460.JPG      Kitty Gurnos-Davies



IMG_0613.JPGEmma Liggins



Katharina Herold


Victoria Mills

IMG_0543.JPG    Alex Murray            IMG_0531.JPG

Ana Parejo Vadillo

IMG_0627.JPG       Patricia Pulham

IMG_0496.JPG      Liz Renes                        IMG_0592

Claudia Tobin and Katharina Herold

IMG_0596.JPG      Sole Alba Zollo

Below: Denis Denisoff, Carolyn Burdett, Christa Zorn, Kristin Mahoney, Federica Parretti, Sally Blackburn-Daniels, Patricia Pulham, Emma Liggins, Victoria Mills, Francesca Baldry, Liz Renez, Kitty Gurnos-Davies, Cristina Acidini, Elisa Bizzotto, Serena Cenni, Stefano Evangelista, and the talented Angeliki Papoulia.





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List (alphabetical order) of speakers:

Rachel Baldacchino: Otherness and the Essay in Vernon Lee’s Pacifist Work

Francesca Baldry & Kristin Mahoney: ‘Initiate Minds’: Vernon Lee, Harold Acton, and Decadent Affinity

Sarah Barnette: The Ethics of Vernon Lee’s Travel Writing: the Genius Loci Post-1900

Henry Bartholomew: ‘Face to Face with the Past’: Time, History, and the Ghost in Vernon Lee’sHauntings: Fantastic Stories

Sally Blackburn-Daniels: From Crystal Palace to the Grand Guignol: Vernon Lee and the Performance of War

Matthew Bradley: A Warm, Familiar Acquiescence: Vernon Lee, William James, and Religious Experience

Carolyn Burdett: Lee’s Motional Aesthetics

Marco Canani: The Ballet of the Nations: a modern morality, an intermedial mosaic

Mary Clai-Jones: To See the Forest for the Trees: Vernon Lee’s Environmental Activism

Michael Craske: Vernon Lee, Music, and Hearing

Dennis Denisoff: The Lizard of the Invisible Sunset: Eco-­Collective Memory in Lee’s Tower of Mirrors

Ana Alicia Garza: How should one read Vernon Lee?

Sophie Geoffroy: Recording the missing year: Vernon Lee’s lost 1919 notebooks; or from Satan the Waster to Proteus or the Future of Intelligence

Kitty Gurnos-Davies: ‘what can, or cannot, or must, or must not, be done, said, or thought by women’: the cultivation of aesthetic reading practices in Vernon Lee’s criticism

Katharina Herold: ‘Teutonic Romance’: Vernon Lee’s aesthetic Germany during and after World War I

Emma Liggins: ‘The Rapture of Old Houses:  Representations of Gothic Italy in Vernon Lee’s supernatural tales and place writing

Catherine Maxwell: Bringing the perfume out of everything’: Vernon Lee and Scent

Victoria Mills: Vernon Lee, ‘historic emotion’ and the aesthetics of ruins

Alex Murray: Vernon Lee’s Britain

Ana Parejo Vadillo: ‘Cultivate Garlic’: The Handling of War

Patricia Pulham: Haunting Palmerino: Vernon Lee in the Neo-Victorian Imagination

Liz Renes: Redefining Leonardo’s Queen: Vernon Lee, John Singer Sargent and Aesthetic Whiteness

Daria Ricchi: Kinesthetic Knowing. Italian Baroque Architectural Influence in Vernon Lee’s Aesthetic Theories’

Angelo Riccioni: ‘I feel I could write chapters about him’: Tracing Robert Louis Stevenson’s Influence on Vernon Lee’s Twentieth-Century Writings

Fraser Riddell: ‘No Thought Beyond the Moment and the Body’: Proprioception and Attention in Vernon Lee and Marion Milner

Helen Thaventhiran: ‘(Exit Pragmatist, exulting.)’: Vernon Lee in the margins of philosophy

Claudia Tobin: Inhaling Colour: Vernon Lee, Virginia Woolf and Chromatic Experience

Shafquat Towheed: At the limits of Pacifism? Vernon Lee, Gandhi, and India, 1930

Barbara Vrachnas: Mythology and Female Power in Vernon Lee’s Hauntings

Leonie Wanitzek: ‘The presence of that peace and goodwill’: Nostalgia, National Identity and the Genius Loci in Lee’s Pre-WWI Travel Writing

Yurie Watanabe: ‘Reaching Beyond Here and Now in The Handling of Words: The Pacifism of Vernon Lee’s Sympathy’

Sole Alba Zollo: Stance and engagement in Vernon Lee’s The Economic Dependence of Women: the writer-reader metaphorical dialogue

Christa Zorn: Vernon Lee and Irene Forbes-Mosse: Cosmopolitan Friendship at the Dawn of a New Europe beyond Borders.

Many thanks to all !

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1 Response to Vernon Lee 2019: An Anniversary Conference in Florence

  1. Therese Dykeman says:

    Dear Sophie,

    The Vernon Lee conference or Florence Symposium appears to have been very successful!

    I applaud all those involved in this celebratory and enlightening event!

    Unfortunately being engaged in writing/editing a volume on non-Western women philosophers is occupying all my time now and for the foreseeable future.


    Therese Dykeman

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