Due date: 8.01.2018
CFP: « COMMON SCENTS: SMELLS AND SOCIAL LIFE IN EUROPEAN LITERATURE (1880-1939) »
THE INSTITUTE OF MODERN LANGUAGES RESEARCH, UNIVERSITY OF LONDON, LONDON
Thursday, 22 and Friday, 23 November 2018
Olfactory motifs are important devices of emotional communication, and a sense of community or social boundaries is often evoked or enforced by smells; under the title ‘Common Scents’, Janice Carlisle has explored the social coding of smells in Victorian novels of the 1860s. However, the ways in which European literature after 1880 has employed smell motifs to give significance to social life have remained underexplored. European literature around 1880 marks a shift of interest from smells as properties of shareable facts to complex modes of olfactory experience; at the same time, Naturalism’s rehabilitation of factual odours and Symbolism’s rediscovery of evocative smells result in an ‘olfactory explosion’ in literature (Hans J. Rindisbacher). The conference takes stock of innovative uses of smell motifs in literary explorations of social life during the time-span from the ‘olfactory explosion’ at the turn of the nineteenth into the twentieth century until 1939, when the inter-war literary scenes of both, Modernists and Modern Realists, were broken up by death, emigration, and a new World War.
Topics of interests may include (but are by no means restricted to):
- Associations of social classes and smells
- Smells as markers of belonging or exclusion
- Smell and social life in war
- Smell and social environments of consumption
- Aesthetics and smell in representations of social life
- Smell and synaesthesia in social contexts
- Smell and the sacred: communities of ritual
- Gendered smells and social values
- Smells and cultural geographies
Keynote speakers will include Professor Michel Delville (Liège).
Please send your abstract for a paper of 25 minutes length to all three conference organisers by 8 January 2018.