CFP Excess, Madness, Vision in D.H.Lawrence’s Work

31 March-2 April 2016

Call for papers
Critics have often referred, positively or negatively, to the various forms of excess to be found in Lawrence’s writings. While some mention the “exuberant merits” of his style, praising the emotional intensity of his works, others blame him for being too prolix, too pompous, too repetitive, too frank about sex and speak disapprovingly of his “hectic descriptions” and the “Gargantuan passions” of his characters. At the beginning of his Study of Thomas Hardy, Lawrence himself elaborated a theory of excess, which is both the very illustration of excess and one of his most visionary texts. It is the lack of vision, the foolishness or the madness of his contemporaries, that led Lawrence to moralize and philosophize so passionately and obstinately. His denunciation of the apocalyptic madness of the war, of all the evils of society, including money worship and sexual repression, brought him the dubious reputation of preacher or would-be prophet. The notions of excess, madness or vision take on various connotations in the depiction of the characters of his novels and stories. These same notions or forces also animate his poetry and are also seminal to his more directly and unguardedly personal discourse as a poet or letter-writer. Excess and madness are sometimes associated with frustration, anger, suffering or intense emotion, even with rapture; vision may mean either illusion or farsightedness and can be correlated with dreams and desire. In all cases, the terms suggest a breaking loose from the shackles of control or limitations, a leap into the unknown in the quest for self-fulfillment or, at the collective level, a better state of society. In his poem “New Heaven and New Earth,” Lawrence uses this striking combination of words: “I was greedy, I was mad for the unknown.”
For the 2016 D.H. Lawrence conference, to be held at Paris Ouest University next spring, participants are invited to interrogate these three notions, whether separately or by way of their possible interconnection in Lawrence’s works. Here are some possible lines of inquiry which can be taken up, in relation to the topic:
– The Dionysian strain in Lawrence’s fiction and poems, Nietzsche’s influence.
– The supernatural, the superhuman as a flight from the real.
– Madness and the search for a new normality.
– Insight, vision and utopia; the writer as seer.
– The stylistic and narrative implications of a theory of excess; associated tropes.
– Individual and collective madness.
– The polysemy and various collocations of the words madness and vision.
– Lawrence and his affinities with other visionary and antinomian critics of rationalist “normality”.
-The 1960s rereading of Lawrence in relation to the categories of madness, vision, excess, normality, adaptation.

This list is of course not exhaustive.

The deadline for proposals is 15 November 2015. Priority will be given to proposals received before the deadline, but we will continue to accept proposals until 1 December 2015.
Please send a 200 word abstract to Ginette Roy or
This conference is organized by the Centre de Recherches Anglophones of Paris Ouest University in partnership with the “Texts and Cultures” Research Centre of Artois University.

Organizing Committee :
Ginette Roy, Cornelius Crowley, Stephen Rowley.

Link to our journal Etudes Lawrenciennes :
A few numbers of the journal are now on line:

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