Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Brontë Society Conference 2014

Maddalena De Leo, BS President Bonnie Greer, Caterina Lerro 
Maddalena De Leo (Italian delegate) writes:

The Brontë Society Conference was held this year at Warwick University in Scarman Conference Centre from Friday 29 to Sunday 31 August. Its theme was ‘The Brontës and the Condition of England’ and it concentrated on the Brontë sisters' contemporary context, analyzing how it influenced what they thought and what they wrote.

The talks were opened on Friday afternoon by famous Brontë scholar Juliet Barker with her keynote lecture about the Brontës and the ‘world without’ followed in the evening by Melissa Hardie-Budden's work in progress about the Branwell and Carne families from Penzance. On Saturday morning there was a Patrick Brontë panel with a break for questions, followed throughout the day by other two sessions about Religion and Industrial Unrest with Robert Logan, Brian Wilks and Marianne Thormählen as speakers among the others.

On Sunday morning  the second keynote lecture of the conference was Rebecca Frazer’s talk about the woman’s question and Charlotte Brontë, followed by Birgitta Berglund’s brilliant lecture about the Victorian corset debate. Birgitta even showed the audience how difficult for Victorian women was to put on and bear a corset all day, wearing one herself. The last session was about war and empire with Sarah Fermi as last speaker of the conference, and there was a recap at the end by Marianne Thormählen.

Also this year as in 2011, besides the well-known speakers from all over the world, the Brontë Society included some young PhDs who lectured about the chosen topic with competence and skill.

The conference venue, carefully chosen by organizer Sarah Fermi in collaboration with Patsy Stoneman, was the beautiful Scarman Conference Centre with its amenities. A special treat took place after the gala dinner on Saturday when BS President Bonnie Greer OBE gave a speech about the Society's purposes and aims for the future in view of Charlotte’s two hundredth birth anniversary in 2016.

During the conference I took photographs and had the opportunity to speak and change views with my fellow delegates, amongst whom I met with pleasure Jolien Janzing, the author of the novel The Master.

In conclusion I can say that this was again a great Brontë weekend and still another important occasion to share a wonderful Brontë-related experience.

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