Literary Form After Matter, 1500-1700

Event Date: 
22 Jun 2018


Shulman Auditorium, The Queen’s College, University of Oxford


Call for Papers:


How do we understand form at a time when the materials of Renaissance literature seem to “matter” more than ever? Responding to a renewed interest in the forms of texts and textual objects c. 1500-1700, this one-day conference will ask two related questions: What do we mean by literary form now, and has the material turn helped or hindered us in figuring out what it is?


We aim to bring together scholars who are working at the (potentially fraught) interface of form and materiality. We therefore invite proposals for papers that draw together the methodologies and aims of both formal and material approaches, as well as work that identifies the limits of formal or material textual criticism as a useful way of reading plays, poems, sermons, samplers, textbooks, songs, riddles, gift objects, wills, diaries, and more. We also welcome papers that reflect on how attention to form and/or materiality includes or excludes not only particular kinds of texts but also, potentially, scholars.


We invite short, focused papers (10 minutes) that address these questions and issues. These could take the form of conventional conference papers, but could equally be manifestoes, close or surface readings, treatments of critical texts, or other interventions.


Confirmed keynote speakers: Sophie Butler, University of East Anglia; Elizabeth Scott-Baumann, King’s College London; Adam Smyth, University of Oxford 


Please send proposals of no more than 250 words and a 1-page CV to the organisers, Katherine Hunt and Dianne Mitchell, at by 18 March 2018. For more information, see


We welcome proposals from researchers at all stages of their careers. We are able to offer some contributions towards the travel costs of postgraduate and early career participants presenting at the conference: please mention when submitting your abstract if you would like to be considered for this. 


This conference is generously supported by the Society for Renaissance Studies, the Oxford Centre for Early Modern Studies, and The Queen’s College, Oxford.

Submission date for papers: 
18 Mar 2018