Journeys 2013

Annual Conference of the Institute of English Cultures and Literatures
Szczyrk, 22nd - 24th May, 2013

I tramp the perpetual journey
My signs are a rain-proof coat, good shoes, and a staff cut from the woods,
No friend of mine takes his ease in my chair,
I have no chair, no philosophy,
I lead no man to a dinner-table, library, exchange,
But each man and each woman of you I lead upon a knoll,
My left hand hooking you round the waist,
My right hand pointing to landscapes of continents and the public road."
Walt Whitman, Song of Myself

From the earliest oral poetry of antiquity to contemporary science-fiction, the notion of the journey has been the ordering factor of narrative. The heroic journey in literature and the focus on the imagery of the rites of passage in human life defined a wealth of texts ranging from Sumerian, Egyptian and Greek epics, the Arthurian Romance, works by Shakespeare, Milton, Marvell, Pope, Fielding, Coleridge, Whitman, Twain, the Grimm brothers, Joyce, Gilman, Bellow to Pynchon, McCarthy and many other contemporary authors.

Interestingly, the systematic study of travel literature as a legitimate field of scholarly inquiry is a relatively recent phenomenon, "a path less travelled by," in the words of the poet. But also the journeys of the mind, the stimulating, almost vexing, walk of the Peripatos, Kant's steady steps under Koenigsberg's starry sky, the wide-eyed wonder of Muir's and Emerson's journeys along forest trails and the meandering pathways towards Being in the Black Forest. We invite paper abstracts on all aspects of journeying. The individual proposals for twenty minute papers may address the following and other related issues:

  • journeys as narrative structures
  • philosophical journeys and explorations
  • journeys of the imaginary and the fantastic
  • inner journeys, explorations of the self
  • travelogues, itineraries, travel journals, travel blogs, diaries, travel novels, memoirs
  • quests and mock quests, knightserrant, heroic tales of crusades, conquests, pilgrimages, captivity narratives
  • narratives of survival, outdoor literature and nature writing
  • literature of exploration, discovery
  • literary tourism, exoticism in literature, traversing nature, regionalism, travel and identity
  • time travel, space and other-world exploration in science-fiction
  • mobility, nomadism, commuting
  • quests and journeys in interactive entertainment
  • heroic journeys in children literature
  • walking and (as) meditation, circumambulating
  • pathways, openings, borders, crossings, milestones, waypoints, maps
  • the road, the highway, the trip
  • homecomings

One final note from the organizers: since one of the traditional purposes of the Institute's annual conferences has been to present the younger scholars with an opportunity to develop and polish the skill of constructing an intellectually sound and well-grounded argument that would defend itself on its own merits, we kindly ask the participants to refrain from using PowerPoint and other presentational software for purposes other than a display of illustrations and videos. For similar reasons, this year's conference does not include a "work-in-progress" section.
Please submit 300-word abstracts by 25th April, 2013.
Please email abstracts to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The conference will take place on 22nd-24th May, 2013 in Sasanka in Szczyrk (ul. Narciarska 22)

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Wydział Filologiczny Uniwersytetu Śląskiego
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41-205 Sosnowiec