MLA 2020: Panels Sponsored by the William Morris Society U.S.

The Morris Society in the United States is pleased to sponsor two sessions at the Modern Language Association Convention to be held in Seattle, WA, in January 2020. 

Our first session, “Re-evaluating the Pre-Raphaelites,” examines how 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 Vision at 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. The papers in this session thoughtfully respond to these recent re-evaluations of the Pre-Raphaelites and the Arts and Crafts movement. 

1: ‘I Seek No Dream . . . but Rather the End of Dreams’: Exhibiting Edward Burne-Jones
Andrea Wolk Rager, Case Western U
2: The Radical Roots of William Morris and the Pre-Raphaelites
Monica Bowen, Seattle U
3: Race and the Radicals: Victorian Racial Theory and the Arts and Crafts Movement
Imogen Hart, U of California, Berkeley
4: Toward a Historiography of Pre-Raphaelite (Post)Modernism and the Future of the Pre-Raphaelite Past
Julie F. Codell, Arizona State U
Presider, Anna Wager, Hobart and William Smith Colleges

Our second session, “Ecosocialism and the Late Victorians” (co-sponsored with Association for the Study of Literature and Environment), addresses how 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. The papers in this session explore the ways (literary, artistic, political) that resultant ecosocialist impulses influenced or grew out of late Victorian culture. 

1: Full Steam Ahead? Ecosocialist Thinking in Late-Century Women’s Fiction
Heidi Aijala, U of Iowa

2: ‘A Pretty Never-Never Land’: Ecosocialism and William Morris’s News from Nowhere
Jude V. Nixon, Salem State U

3: William Morris’s Ecosocialism, Then and Now
Frank A. Palmeri, U of Miami

Presider, Florence S. Boos, U of Iowa

For paper abstracts, panelist, and scheduling information for both sessions, please see    

Guest Passes

All MLA members and members of the profession that the MLA serves must register in order to participate in or attend sessions.

A convention speaker may obtain a pass for a guest who has no professional interest in language or literature; the pass is valid only to hear a presentation given by that speaker at a single session. The speaker must request the pass at the MLA registration and welcome center on the day of the session, before the center closes. The speaker must provide his or her name, session details (session number, room, date, and time), and the guest’s name. Passes may not be requested by guests of speakers or by MLA members who have not registered for the convention. MLA convention registrants may obtain free passes to the exhibit hall for guests they accompany in the hall. Persons who are not registered for the convention and who are not accompanied by registrants may purchase a one-day pass to the exhibit hall for $10. These passes are available at the exhibit registration booth, Washington State Convention Center (Atrium, level 4).

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