CFP : "British Whitman"

Whitman Week : University of Exeter, May 30 – June 4 2016

The Transatlantic Walt Whitman Association is pleased to announce The Ninth Annual International Whitman Week Seminar and Symposium, University of Exeter, UK, May 30 – June 4, 2016

Invitation for Applications to the 9th Transatlantic Walt Whitman Seminar

Founded in Paris in 2007, the Transatlantic Walt Whitman Association (TWWA) invites students, researchers, and Whitman enthusiasts to participate in its 9th annual Whitman Week, consisting of a Seminar for advanced students interested in Whitman and Whitman’s poetry, and a Symposium bringing together international scholars and graduate students. Previous Whitman Weeks have been held at Universität Dortmund, Germany (2008), Université Francois Rabelais, France (2009), Università di Macerata, Italy (2010), Universidade Estadual Paulista, Brazil (2011), Szczecin University, Poland (2012), Northwestern University, USA (2013), Otto-Friedrich-University Bamberg, Germany (2014), and Ludwig-Maximilian-University in Munich. The 2016 events will be held at the University of Exeter in England.

TWWA’s Mission

Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass remains a landmark of modern poetry and world literature. Every year new editions of Whitman’s work are published in a variety of languages ; an ever- expanding group of poets “reply” to him in their poetry ; his poems are set to music and are quoted in films ; he is invoked in the discussion of political and cultural issues, as well as of gender and sexuality ; and he continues to be a huge presence in college and university curricula globally. In order to respond adequately to this international phenomenon, TWWA sponsors a yearly International Whitman Seminar, during which students from different countries come together for an intensive, credit-bearing Seminar taught by an international team of Whitman specialists.

Seminar Structure

In the morning classes, focusing on some of Whitman’s major poems and selections from his prose, students will have an opportunity to confront Whitman’s books, share their readings of key poems and clusters, and discuss Whitman’s attempts at a multilingual English, his cohesive representation of human relations, and his work’s international significance. In addition, there will be afternoon workshops on the reception of Whitman in various countries, as well as the translation of his poems into various languages, including German, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish and Asian languages. (The specific readings that will be the focus of the Seminar will be announced a month before the start of the Seminar.)


The team of international instructors for 2016 will be :

Ed Folsom : Professor of American Literature at the University of Iowa ; co-director of the online Whitman Archive ; editor of the Walt Whitman Quarterly Review ; author, co-author and editor of over 20 Whitman-related books, including, most recently, Walt Whitman’s Democratic Vistas : A Facsimile of the Original Edition (2010), Re-Scripting Walt Whitman (2007) co-authored with Kenneth M. Price, Whitman Making Books / Books MakingWhitman (2005).

Jay Grossman : Associate Professor of English at Northwestern University ; author of Reconstituting the American Renaissance : Emerson, Whitman, and the Politics of Representation (2003), and numerous essays on eighteenth- and nineteenth-century American literature and culture, especially Emerson andWhitman, the history of the book, and the history of sexuality ; co-editor (with Betsy Erkkila), Breaking Bounds : Whitman and American Cultural Studies(1996).

Kirsten Harris : Senior Tutor in the School of Modern Languages at Bristol. Author of Walt Whitman and British Socialism : ‘The Love of Comrades’(Forthcoming 2016), and articles on Walt Whitman, Edward Carpenter and British socialism. Other research interests include socialist literature and print culture, literary transatlanticism, and protest writing.

Sascha Pöhlmann : Lecturer, American Literary History, LMU Munich, Germany. Author of Pynchon’s Postnational Imagination (2010), along with various edited collections and articles on topics such Ireland and the USA, violence and culture, American counterculture, Contemporary American Fiction, queer theory, banned books, and Whitman’s poetry and prose.

Applications for the Seminar

Applications for the seminar should include a brief (150-word) statement of interest — submitted by email to the organiser, Peter Riley ( by December 18, 2015.


Students are expected to attend and invited to take part in the Symposium, held immediately following the Seminar, and featuring scholarly papers by Whitman scholars and graduate students from various countries. A separate paper proposal must be submitted in order to participate in the Symposium. This year’s Symposium theme is “British Whitman.” The Call for Papers appears below.

Call for Papers

The Transatlantic Walt Whitman Association is Pleased to Announce

An Open Call for Papers : “British Whitman”

To be held at the University of Exeter in England on June 4, 2016

The first foreign edition of Whitman‘s poetry was published in London, in 1868 — by William Michael Rossetti – and Poems by Walt Whitman was vital in circulating Whitman‘s poetry around the British Isles and British Empire. In fact visitors to Britain are likely to have discovered Whitman through Rossetti’s agency rather than in the original US editions (this is one of the theories around Rimbaud’s putative familiarity with Whitman). Possible topics for discussion include (though are not limited to) : the literary and political impact of Rossetti’s selection ; Whitman‘s standing in English-speaking countries outside the US ; Whitman‘s fraught relationship to “feudal” Britain and how it resonated with the struggles of colonised peoples ; class- and gender-based interpretations of Whitman in Britain ; Whitmanian discipleship in Britain ; and Whitmanian comradeship and evolving mores and laws in Britain and its former colonies ; connections and disjunctions between Whitman’s political aspirations and the Victorian “white man’s burden”.

One-page abstracts of paper proposals to be sent electronically, no later than February 15 2016, to all four symposium organisers :

Peter Riley

Eric Athenot

Stephanie Blalock

Kenneth M. Price