Ten Years Ago: “Vernon Lee: Literary Revenant”, London, 10 June 2003

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Ten years ago…

The Sibyl, Journal of Vernon Lee Studies was created ten years ago, as a special section of David C. Rose’s galaxy of fin-de-siècle journals, The Oscholars, at the International Conference organised by Patricia Pulham and Catherine Maxwell in London, “Vernon Lee: Literary Revenant”, 10 June 2003, Institute of English Studies, School of Advanced Studies, Senate House, Malet Street, London.

This conference proved an extraordinarily stimulating event.

Plenary speakers included:

Vineta Colby: “Reconsidering Vernon Lee: the Writing of a Literary Biography”

Hilary Fraser: “Vernon Lee and Evelyn de Morgan: Picturing the Past”

Angela Leighton: “Seeing Nothing in It: Ghostly Aesthetics in Vernon Lee”

Martha Vicinus “Sex Matters: Friendship and Love Between Women, 1880-1930”.

Contributors included:

Benedetta Bini: “Genius loci and Italian villas: Vernon Lee, Edith Wharton and the Rediscovery of Viterbo”

Elisa Bizzotto: “The Earliest Days of Our Florentine Spring: V. Lee’s Female Friendships”

Laurel Brake: “Vernon Lee and the Pater Circle in the mid 1880s”

Jo Briggs: “The Reception of Vernon Lee’s Writings on Aesthetics”

Renate Brosch: “Empathy and Ekphrasis in Vernon Lee’s Hauntings

Grace Brockington: “Performing Pacifism: the Battle between Author and Artist in The Ballet of the Nations

Peter Christensen: “The Delirium of History in Vernon Lee’s ‘Prince Alberic and the Snake Lady’”

Richard Dellamora: “The Queer Comradeship of Outlawed Thought: Vernon Lee, Max Nordau and Oscar Wilde”

Dennis Denisoff: “Nasty Business: Vernon Lee and the Decadence of Stability”

Stefano Evangelista: “Closet Hauntings: Madness, Homosexuality, and Possession in V. Lee’s ‘A Wicked Voice’ and Pater’s ‘Apollo in Picardy’”

Sonny Kandola: “Vernon Lee and the New ‘New Hellenism’”

Kristin Mahoney, “Collecting and Historicized Consumption in V. Lee’s Hauntings

Catherine Maxwell: “Vernon Lee and Eugene Lee-Hamilton”

Sophie Geoffroy (then Menoux): “Taste, Entitlement and Power: V. Lee’s Subversive Fairy Comedy of Masks and Puppet Show: The Prince of the Hundred Soups

See the complete text and preface by Vernon Lee, The Prince of the Hundred Soups, HERE.

Sylvia Miekowski: “Getting in Touch: V. Lee’s Representations of the Past’s Past”

Taura Napier: “Vernon Lee’s Venice: Gothic Mystery and Byzantine Splendour in an Age of Literary Moralism”

Sally Newman

Yopie Prins

Patricia Pulham: “Blaming Portraits: Doubling and Desire in Louis Norbert

Rita Severi: “Vernon Lee and Contemporary Italian Writers”

Margaret D. Stetz: “The Snake Lady and the Bruised Bodley Head”

Shafquat Towheed: “Vernon Lee and Popular Fiction”

Catherine Wiley: “Warming me like a Cordial”: Vernon Lee’s Reinstatement of the Body in Aesthetics”

Christa Zorn: “V. Lee’s The Handling of Words and Victorian Reader-Response Theory and Postmodern Literature”

The call for papers read:

“Vernon Lee (Violet Paget, 1856-1935) was the author of over forty books and numerous articles. Her extensive œuvre includes works on aesthetics, ethics, history, literary criticism and biography as well as novels, short stories, and essays of travel. She enjoyed a high reputation during the late nineteenth century for her writing and scholarship and her books were considered essential reading for educated people. Remarkable for her boldly-expressed views, her distinctly European outlook and her unconventional lifestyle which included a series of romantic relationships with other women, Lee lost stock in England after her pacifist stance during the First World War and when it suited a rising generation of writers to view her as a relic of the literary past. After a long period of neglect, she is currently enjoying a come-back as scholars begin to uncover the riches of her work, and she offers them the fascinating figure of the independent female intellectual and woman of letters whose career spans the transition from Victorian to Modernist writing.

The critic Desmond MacCarthy wrote of Vernon Lee: ‘there is no doubt that Vernon Lee will be read by posterity, for her work is a rare combination of intellectual curiosity and imaginative sensibility.’ As Lee returns to view, this seems a timely moment for a Conference that aims to explore some of the different kinds of research on her currently underway and to provide an opportunity for exchange among those interested in her work. We welcome proposals for papers on any aspects of Lee’s work, but are particularly interested in receiving proposals addressing the following topics:

Vernon Lee and Myth

Vernon Lee and the Arts

Vernon Lee and her Circle

Vernon Lee and her Influences

Vernon Lee as a Precursor

VL, Sexuality and Gender

VL and Politics

VL Philosophy and Ethics

VL and her Travels

VL and the Supernatural

VL and the Past

Today, ten years after, Vernon Lee studies are thriving, as well as events and works aiming at making her character and texts better known. After the London conference (2003), the Florence conferences in 2005 and more recently in 2012, the next Vernon Lee conference is to take place in Paris (17-18-19 october 2013). It is organised jointly by Professor Michel Prum (University of Paris-Diderot) and Sophie Geoffroy (University of La Réunion), with the support of prestigious universities like Paris-Descartes, Paris-Diderot and Paris-V, and research centers like the ICT and Oracle, and associations like the SAGEF, NIAMA, Advancing Women Artists and Associazione Culturale Il Palmerino.

Please feel free to join us! Join the circle of Lee fans and readers of The Sibyl, Journal of Vernon Lee Studies !

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