CFP: 32nd Annual D.H. Lawrence International Conference : “Resisting Tragedy”

The theme of the conference has been prompted by the first line of Lady Chatterley’s Lover: “Ours  is essentially a tragic age, so we refuse to take it tragically.”

The statement invites reflection on the literary means and devices that were adopted by Lawrence in order to resist tragedy, both here and elsewhere in his writings. The strategies of resistance include various arts of distanciation through which the tragic can be warded off. These can be linguistic, poetic, rhetorical, or can involve the interplay between a variety of perspectives, tonal shifts to humour, satire, romance, poetic licence, the refusal of seriousness etc.

The focus of the 2018 Conference should not be exclusively or too explicitly on WW1 and its consequences.  If the opening to Lady Chatterley’s Lover  offers an explicit reference to the war and, in the second sentence, an explanation of its origin and a hypothesis regarding the responses it arouses, “the cataclysm has happened, we are among the ruins, we start to build up new little habitats, to have new little hopes”, the focus of the conference is to be less on the specific nature of the “cataclysm” than on the nature and the substance of these “little habitats” and “little hopes thar are devised, conjured up, as if the immensity of “cataclysm”, apocalypse, were unable to put an end to an irrepressible wellspring of invididual and collective inventiveness.

The resistance to tragedy thus appears to be the condition (or the cost exacted) of a social or of a social agent who is to survive or outlive the “cataclysm”: a “cataclysm” which is both historical, epochal, but also, perhaps, existential or anthropological. Lawrence asserts  that “Tragedy looks to me like man/in love with his own defeat” (Pansies).

We can therefore suggest further lines of possible reflection, on the following themes:

  • resistance or non-resistance to tragedy, whether personal, social or political
  • heroism or escapism, the denunciation of Hamletizing
  • the temptation of oblivion, the refusal of sacrifice or self-annihilation,
  • resilience  and creative destruction.

The list is not of course exhaustive.

Organizers: Cornelius Crowley, Ginette Roy

The deadline for proposals is 1 November 2017. Priority will be given to proposals received before this deadline.

We shall however continue to examine proposal until November 15 2017.

Conference Date: 29-31 March 2018

Location: Centre de recherches Anglophones, Université Paris-Nanterre, France

Please send a 200 word abstract to Ginette Roy:


Link to our journal Etudes lawrenciennes

Several numbers of the journal are now accessible online (41-47, N° 48 forthcoming):