New Elizabethans 1953-2013: Nation, Culture, and Modern Identity
13-15 June 2013
Institute of English Studies, Senate House, University of London
Conference organiser: Irene Morra (Cardiff University)
Coinciding with the 60-year anniversary of the Coronation, this conference will explore the ways in which the ideal of a new (or second) Elizabethan age has been variously defined, promoted, and challenged in Britain and the Commonwealth. Following closely after the London Olympics and Jubilee celebrations, it will also offer a fitting opportunity to explore the ways in which these values continue to present themselves in contemporary definitions of national identity, culture, and character.
In the years surrounding the Coronation of Elizabeth II, British political and cultural life was suffused with a language that both prophesized and idealized the potential for a new Elizabethan era. The self-styled new Elizabethans identified an innate national character in the accomplishments of a vanished age. This age was apparently manifest in ‘Shakespearean’ music, theatre, and poetry -- and characterized by imperial expansion and exploration, a clear sense of social hierarchy, a fierce and heroic spirit of patriotic individualism, and the brave resistance of a mighty little people to larger invading forces.
Such constructions inevitably responded to the anxieties and aspirations of a post-war, post-imperial Britain. The new Elizabethans characteristically asserted the latent, continuous presence of the essential spirit of an earlier era, invoking its legacy for the forging of a new, contemporary nation. It is the aim of this conference to explore the informing values and assumptions behind such constructions, to investigate their manifestation in various contexts and forms, and to expose the ways in which they continue to be promoted in contemporary social, cultural, and political definitions of modern identity in relation to Britain and the Commonwealth. To that end, the event will be organized around two complementary themes: ‘Origins and the New Elizabethan Moment’ and ‘Cultural and Social Legacies: Staging a New Elizabethan Era.’
CONFIRMED SPEAKERS INCLUDE:
Scott Anthony (University of Cambridge)
Arthur Aughey (University of Ulster)
Stephen Banfield (Bristol University)
Rob Gossedge (Cardiff University)
Helen Phillips (Cardiff University)
David Prosser (Stratford Festival)
Paul Stevens (University of Toronto)
Heather Wiebe (King's College London)
Richard Wilson (Kingston University)
Ghislaine Wood (Victoria and Albert Museum)
General Enquiries: The School of Advanced Study is part of the central University of London. The School takes its responsibility to visitors with special needs very seriously and will endeavour to make reasonable adjustments to its facilities in order to accommodate the needs of such visitors. If you have a particular requirement, please feel free to discuss it confidentially with the organiser in advance of the event taking place.
Jon Millington, Events Officer, Institute of English Studies, Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU; tel +44 (0) 207 664 4859; Email: IESEvents@sas.ac.uk.