UNIVERSITE PARIS NANTERRE. Centre de recherches anglophones ;CREA EA 370
33rd INTERNATIONAL D.H.LAWRENCE CONFERENCE
4-6 April 2019
D.H.LAWRENCE AND THE ANTICIPATION OF THE ECOCRITICAL TURN
[ […] “the human soul is fated to wide-eyed responsibility
(D.H.Lawrence, “Man and Bat”)
CALL FOR PAPERS
D.H.Lawrence has often been viewed as a post-romantic nature writer. Instead of looking back towards the 19th century writers who influenced him, we propose to consider how his literary practice and the philosophy that underlies it herald the ecocritical turn of the late 20th century. Broadly speaking, ecocriticism focuses on the study of the relationship of man with his natural environment from an interdisciplinary point view. It is concerned both with the protection of the environment and the destiny of man in the geological era called the Anthropocene. Ecocriticism is a broad term, pointing to innumerable trends: ecopoetry, ecophilosophy (see Guattari’s ecosophy), ecoethics, ecoethology, ecopolitics, ecofeminism etc. We know that Lawrence very early in his life became aware of the damage caused to the world we live in by man’s activities. We would like to analyse what the concept of nature means for him and how the attention he pays to the non-human and to the material world affects his art and connects both with his personal ethics and his form of spirituality. We will study the extent and the limits of Lawrence’s “green thinking” in all areas, including his reflection on the man/animal dialectics, on what it means to be a man, his vision of man and woman in society, his criticism of waste and of our materialist society, his meditation on “the silent great cosmos” and his special brand of ecosexuality.
Bruno Latour, in a short book entitled Où atterrir? Where can we Land ? (La Découverte, 2017), writes: “No corporation would have spent a dollar to fabricate ignorance relative to the Higgs boson. Denial of climate change is however an entirely different matter and the funds flow in…. In other words, the sciences of nature-as-process cannot adopt the same, somewhat haughty and disinterested, epistemology as the sciences of nature-as-universe…”
Lawrence invites a mode of critical engagement that in no sense subscribes to the “haughty and disinterested procedures” that for (too?) long defined the reading of modernist texts. Lawrence can therefore be read in relation to the preoccupations of “our times”. Just as Lawrence was prophetic in his anticipation of troubles ahead, our current situation enables us to read backwards to arrive now at a fuller appraisal of some of the underlying truths of his writing. That Lawrence as a miner’s son, born into the English midlands coalfields, should have grasped the subterranean conditionality of apparent wealth and power, industry and empire, is now something that appears both logical and visionary. He simply knew how to tune his comprehension to the pulse of “nature-as-process”. The ecocritical turn in our reading of Lawrence can be an apocalypse beyond the biblical or Pauline tones in evidence in The Rainbow, a novel now closer to us insofar as it was already a world away from any Ibsenite space of domestic alienation or fulfillment. It is perhaps also a turn away from the provincialities of the bourgeois novel of relations between the sexes. This call for papers is an invitation both to read our present moment and to read Lawrence, in a way that is attentive to the fate of the “universe-as-process”, able to adopt, in relation to the Lawrentian opus, a critical approach neither “disinterested” nor “haughty”.
Here is a non-exhaustive list of possible keywords:
Post-humanism, post-colonialism, anthropocentrism, ethnicity, regionalism, pastoral, science, evolution, energy, electricity, electron, work, money, domination, consumption, food, the non-human, objects, clothing and nudity, waste, ethical responsibility (see notably Derrida’s reading of “Snake”), climate, social changes, political vision etc.
The deadline for proposals is 5 November 2018. Priority will be given to proposals received before the deadline, but we will continue to accept proposals until 19 November 2018.
Link to our journal Etudes Lawrenciennes :
http://anglais.u-paris10.fr/spip.php?rubrique56 (an interesting paper on this theme in N° 29 by Fiona Becket)
Several numbers of the journal are now on line (41 to 48, number 49 forthcoming): http://www.revues.org/10111