Symposium for Seventeenth-Century Scottish Literature Call for Papers

The once ‘curiously neglected’ (Bawcutt 2005) seventeenth century has in recent years benefitted from growing interest. Traditionally viewed as ‘the awkward bit in between’ ‘Reformation and Renaissance’ on the one hand and ‘Improvement and Enlightenment’ on the other, ‘with no similar dominant theme to give it unity’, ‘[t]he seventeenth century in Scotland has had few friends’ (Stevenson 1991). However, increasingly, researchers recognise the need to meet seventeenth-century Scottish literature on its own terms; both through attention to more traditional forms of literature as well as by expanding our understanding(s) of how the literature of that century behaves.

Researchers are beginning to fill in the contours of a century that, among other things, saw several significant literary ‘firsts’: the publication of the first Scottish novel and newspaper, the founding of the first public lending library, and the first appearance in print by a female poet. Print culture burgeoned, with polemic, histories, and religious debate, while manuscript circulation and closet performance kept the production of drama alive. As increased attention brings this diverse corpus to light, the Symposium for Seventeenth-Century Scottish Literature will reflect on and celebrate the shape of the field today. In gathering scholars of the Scottish seventeenth century afresh, we aim to uncover connections between material which often seems disparate, and ultimately generate new perspectives on Scotland’s literary seventeenth century.

The symposium will take place between 11.00am and 2.30pm on the 18th and 19th of February 2021 via Zoom. Speakers will be asked to submit extended abstracts of their presentations in advance, to be circulated among attendees. During the panel, speakers will give ten-minute presentations elaborating on their abstracts before moving onto questions and discussion. The deadline for initial abstracts of no more than 200 words is Tuesday the 1st of December 2020, with extended abstracts due 1st February 2021. Please email initial abstracts to Researchers at any stage are encouraged to submit. Though the symposium's main focus will be on texts in English and Scots, we welcome submissions on literature in Gaelic and Latin. As we expect a number of exciting and innovative submissions, we are making enquiries about publishing proceedings. The event is free to attend. We kindly ask that you inform us of any accessibility requirements in your response.

Abstracts are welcome on any aspect of seventeenth-century Scottish literature, including but not limited to: literary communities; travel writing; historical writing; romance; the novel; theatre and plays; poetry; ballads; polemic; news; pamphlets; sermons; legal discourse; proto-colonialism; slavery; migration and exile; satire; manuscript culture; publics and counterpublics; nationalisms; utopianism; book history; grand narratives.

The SSCSL is funded by the College of Arts at the University of Glasgow and the Tannahill Fund for the Furtherance of Scottish Literature.

First published: 24 November 2020

<< News