The William Morris Society at MLA: 2019/2020 Updates

MLA 2019 Events
The William Morris Society in the United States holds its annual meeting in conjunction with the Modern Language Association (MLA) Convention each year. As the MLA Convention changes locations annually, this meeting offers our members many opportunities to meet up with fellow Morrisians from across the U. S.
The 2019 convention in Chicago, IL—which this year coincides with the annual meeting of the American Historical Association—promises to once again be a busy time for attending WMS members, with all our formal events taking place on Friday, January 4, 2019. Our sponsored session this year is on “William Morris: Reflections on Art and Labor” (8:30-9:45 am | Michigan 2 in the Hyatt Regency) with the following participants and papers:
Brandiann Molby (Loyola University Chicago), “The Handcrafted Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction: Walter Benjamin and the Revolutionary Potential of William Morris’s Decorated Books”
Patrick Fessenbecker (Bilkent University), “Aestheticism and the Birth of the Consultant: Wilde versus Morris on Art, Work, and the Self”
Rebekah Greene (Georgia Institute of Technology), “William Morris and The Dawn: Ideas for ‘The Society of the Future’”
Moderator: KellyAnn Fitzpatrick (Georgia Institute of Technology)
Taking advantage of the Convention’s location in Chicago, we have also arranged for a tour and  special viewing of Morris and Pre-Raphaelite materials at the Newberry Library(3:00-4:30 pm).

Our annual meeting & dinner, held this year at Quartino from 6-9 pm, will offer further opportunities for forging new relationships. The event allows us to welcome new board members, remember members who can no longer be with us, and appreciate those who can be.
Additional details on our MLA 2019 schedule  of events can be found on our website. Members who plan to attend the MLA session, Newberry Library tour, and/or the annual meeting & dinner should RSVP to KellyAnn Fitzpatrick ( no later than December 28, 2018.
MLA 2020 Planning
Planning is already well underway for our annual meeting at MLA 2020 (January 9-12 | Seattle, WA). In regards to our sponsored MLA sessions, we are seeking submissions for the following guaranteed session:
Re-evaluating the Pre-Raphaelites
In the past decade, a number of exhibitions from Manchester to Moscow have reassessed Pre-Raphaelite art and design, from William Holman Hunt and the Pre-Raphaelite Visionat the Manchester Art Gallery in 2009 to the traveling exhibition Victorian Radicals: From the Pre-Raphaelites to the Arts and Crafts Movement at venues through 2021.  These displays have positioned the intersection of art, design, and literature as defining features of the Pre-Raphaelites and the Arts and Crafts movement, marking them as both “avant-garde” and deeply engaged with the past.  We seek papers that respond to these recent re-evaluations of the Pre-Raphaelites and the Arts and Crafts movement (including critical responses).

Submission instructions: send CV and a 300-word abstract for a 20-minute paper to KellyAnn Fitzpatrick ( no later than 1 March 2019.
We are also seeking submissions for the following session, co-sponsored with Association for the Study of Literature and Environment. Please note that this session is not guaranteed and subject to approval by the MLA:
Ecosocialism and the Late Victorians
The late nineteenth century saw writers, artists, and thinkers such as William Morris help plant the seeds of ecological concerns in socialist politics, leading to innovative approaches to both environmental and socialist ideas. We seek papers that explore any aspect of the ways (literary, artistic, political) that resultant ecosocialist impulses influenced or grew out of late Victorian culture.
Submission instructions: send CV and a 300-word abstract for a 20-minute paper to Clare Echterling ( and KellyAnn Fitzpatrick ( no later than 1 March 2019.
Many thanks to Jane Carlin, the current WMS-US Secretary, for already laying the groundwork for what promises to be an exciting slate of events for our 2020 annual meeting & dinner.

–KellyAnn Fitzpatrick, Georgia Institute of Technology

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