On a snowy Saturday in late February, faculty and graduate students who attended last summer’s Dickens Universe in Santa Cruz convened in Knoxville, Tennessee for the Graduate Winter Conference. Funded by the Dickens Project, this year’s conference was co-organized by Professor Nancy Henry (English, UT) and Professor Ellen Rosenman (English, UK). Graduate student Kat Powell (English, UT) assisted in organizing the conference along with a committee of UT graduate students in the nineteenth-century literature division, including Becky McCann, Alli Clymer, John Stromski, and Matt Smith.
For this conference, faculty members serve as mentors, providing feedback on student papers in advance of the conference. This year’s mentors included Dickens Project Director John O. Jordan (UC, Santa Cruz), Ryan Fong (Kalamazoo), Elizabeth Meadows (Vanderbilt), Carol MacKay, (U of Texas), and Ellen Rosenman (U of Kentucky). Professors MacKay and Rosenman also served as panel moderators along with Amy Billone (U of Tennessee), Nancy Henry, and Kat Powell.
Representing universities from the west to east coast, Canada to Texas (and Australia!), the graduate students presented engaging papers on diverse subjects from the rhetoric of nineteenth-century beards to the “behindance” of parentheticals in fiction to the musical mechanics of poetry. As always, the warm and collegial atmosphere associated with Dickens Project events helped make the conference a success. After a long and lively day of exchanging ideas, graduate students and faculty braved winter weather conditions to explore Knoxville’s unique charms.
We look forward to this summer’s Dickens Universe in Santa Cruz on Aug. 2-7, which takes for its focus Charles Dickens’s Martin Chuzzlewit and American Notes. The Universe will be preceded by a conference on The Long, Wide Nineteenth Century, July 31-Aug. 2. Besides the scholarly program, attendants look forward to the nightly celebrations guided by this summer’s capable Cruise Directors, Anne Sullivan (UCR) and Kevin Sigerman (Rutgers). In the words of Nicholas Nickleby, “The pain of parting is nothing to the joy of meeting again.” Hope to see many of you there!