CFP: Yours Sincerely: The Rise and Fall of the Letter

Yours Sincerely: The Rise and Fall of the Letter

28-29 June 2013, Manchester, United Kingdom

The tradition of communication through correspondence can be traced far back in the annals of ancient history, but the rise of technology is daily changing the face and format of the letter. This conference will explore forms of correspondence as they have evolved from simple letters between friends and literary personalities and their shared experiences to revelations, through correspondence, of scientists, statesmen and celebrities. It will also look at the language used in the traditional letter, the email, the text message and the tweet as well as the constant change and development in this form of dialogue from the past and into the future, examining related fields and the letter in its historical and literary contexts.

Papers are sought from all disciplines, including but not limited to literature, history, anthropology, psychology, philosophy and other social sciences and arts. Proposals are sought for 20 minute papers.

Possible themes may include (but are not limited to):

  1. The changing language of digital correspondence
  2. Victorian women writers
  3. Challenges of editing letters
  4. Evidential value for biographers, historians
  5. 19th century letter writers
  6. 20th century letter writers
  7. 21st century letter writers
  8. Use of letters as a device in fiction
  9. The epistolary novel
  10. The lasting value of digital correspondence as an archival or primary source
  11. The future of letter writing

Abstracts of 250-300 words (for a 20 min paper) should be sent via email to librarian@theportico.org.uk or assistant.librarian@theportico.org.uk by 1st April 2013.

Selected papers may be invited for inclusion in an academic collection of essays following the conference.

An exhibition surrounding the theme of the conference will run from 11th June to the 26th of July at The Portico Library and will tie in with Quarry Bank Mill’s ‘Best Wishes’ exhibition which begins in April and extends to the rest of 2013.

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