Centre for Studies in Literature
Swinburne: A Centenary Conference
Keynote speakers: Jerome McGann, Terry Meyers, and Yopie Prins
This conference marked the hundredth anniversary of Swinburne's death and took place in the Institute of English Studies, Senate House (London) on Friday 10th and Saturday 11th of July, 2009. Algernon Charles Swinburne (1837-1909), poet, dramatist, novelist and critic, was late Victorian England's unofficial Poet Laureate, admired by his contemporaries for his technical brilliance, his facility with classical and medieval forms, and his courage in expressing his sensual, erotic imagination. Immensely important in his own day, Swinburne was critically neglected for a large part of the twentieth century, but his reputation has continued to rise steadily since the 1960s. There has been, however, no conference on his life and work since 1985. This international centenary conference aims to reclaim Swinburne's position as the pre-eminent late nineteenth-century poet, to draw attention to the breadth and diversity of his oeuvre, to re-evaluate his considerable achievements, and to assess his impact on those who came after. It will benefit from current critical work on aestheticism, the arts, gender and sexuality in the Victorian period, as well as recent scholarship that exposes the indebtedness of the modernists to their derided Victorian predecessors. In addition to the three distinguished plenary speakers, Jerome McGann, Terry Meyers, and Yopie Prins, the conference aims to attract both those with specialist interests in Swinburne and those keen to extend their knowledge of one of the most exciting literary figures of the Victorian age.