CFP: Women and Political Theory in the 19th and First Half of the 20th Century: Vernon Lee and Radical Circles

“Vernon Lee” (Violet Paget, 1856-1935) is well-known for her remarkable erudition, her sharp analyses of arts, music, and literature, her travel accounts uncovering the mysterious presence of the genius loci, her studies on aesthetic contemplation hinging on the central notion of empathy, her fiction (novels and short stories), her theatre work, and even her involvement in the defence of the city centre of Florence.

But little is known about Vernon Lee as a campaigner against war, against imperialism, and as a free woman striving for an ideal society based on equal rights and universal brotherhood, whose voice grew louder and louder in her fight for peace in Europe and the world.

Indeed, as Phyllis F. Mannocchi declared in her Florence paper, 28 Sept. 2012 : “In the scholarship on Vernon Lee, not much attention has been paid to the fact that as she approached late middle age, Vernon Lee seemed to discover her voice as a political ‘radical,’ a supporter of women’s suffrage a participant in the anti-war movement, and an expert in international relations. Vernon Lee’s ‘radical’ politics were ‘natural’ to her. After all, she was a ‘born internationalist,’ who had lived in France, Germany, Switzerland, England, and Italy, and was multi-lingual. After expressing her opposition to the Boer War (1899 – 1902), Vernon Lee began to write more often on social, political, and international issues. WHY is it that so little is known of her writing on these issues during this later period of her life?” (Phyllis Mannochi, International Conference Violet del Palmerino: Vernon Lee’s Cosmopolitan Salon, 1889-1935, Florence, 27-28 Sept. 2012. Accessible:

This conference will aim to further the knowledge on Vernon Lee’s and other women’s radical theories in the 19th and first half of the 20th century, in relation to contemporaneous British, Italian, French, Swiss, and German radical circles.

We invite contributions on: Alice Abadam, Annie Besant, Clementina Black, Irene Forbes-Mosse, Isabella and Emily Ford, Mathilde Hecht, Emily Hobhouse, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Clémence Royer

Favoured topics will include:

Vernon Lee and (Fabian) Socialism

Vernon Lee and Anti-Semitism

Vernon Lee and Fascism

Vernon Lee and Nazism

Vernon Lee and Bolshevism

Vernon Lee and India (Gandhi)

Vernon Lee and International Relations

Vernon Lee and women’s suffrage

Vernon Lee and women’s role in society

Vernon Lee and the relations between men and women Vernon Lee’s pacifism: the Boer War; WWI; the coming of WWII Vernon Lee and vivisection Vernon Lee and the UDC (Union of Democratic Control) Vernon Lee and the concert of nations (League of Nations) Vernon Lee and economics Vernon Lee and Europe Vernon Lee and the Dreyfus affaire Vernon Lee’s philanthropy

Please send your abstracts (title + about 450 words) before 31st May 2013 To Michel Prum Sophie Geoffroy

Comité scientifique/ Scientific Board: Françoise BARRET-DUCROCQ (Paris Diderot) Florence BINARD (Paris Diderot) Sophie GEOFFROY (Université de La Réunion) Guyonne LEDUC (Lille 3) Phyllis MANNOCCHI (Colby University) Michel PRUM (Paris Diderot) Shafquat TOWHEED (London Open University)

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