CFP: Special Issue Journal Call for Essay Submissions – Poetic Optimism and the Post-Enlightenment Social Identity, 1794-1878

To complement the upcoming Paranoia and Pain conference (2-4 April 2012) at the University of Liverpool (, we are developing a collection of articles for a special issue journal of Studies in the Literary Imagination entitled ‘Poetic Optimism and the Post-Enlightenment Social Identity, 1794-1878’. This collection will explore the meaning and application of poetic optimism in relation to the question of social identity from 1794 to 1878.

How is optimism shared through versification during this period? What allusive forms did the Romantic poets propose/apply in order to define the post-Enlightenment identity? Studies of affect in the literature of nineteenth-century Europe progressively take us to the realm of depression, as a condition that we know today in psychology.

To what extent optimism as a significant factor in Romantic-era poetry leads our understanding of the verse produced during this period? Further we seek to examine how ‘optimism’ is poetically articulated in relation to national, religious, and cultural identities. Is there in fact a textual culture of poetic optimism and social identity in Romantic-era poetry that counteracts/teems with melancholy symbols and expressions?

The proposed collection includes (but is not limited to) the following topics:

  • The philosophy of optimism in verse, 1794-1878
  • Melancholy, identity, and the ‘poetic optimism’
  • Gender specifications of versified optimism
  • Intellectuality, imagination and the poetic optimism
  • Faith, optimism and identity
  • The empowered soul and the poetic optimism in/of grief
  • Lyrical optimism versus narrative identity
  • Judeo-Christian aspects of the post-Enlightenment poetic optimism
  • Eastern European poetic optimism in British Romantic verse

The collection will be introduced and edited by Dr Maryam Farahani (University of Liverpool) and Dr Anna Szczepan-Wojnarska (Cardinal Wyszynski University of Warsaw & The Woolf Institute of Abrahamic Faiths, Cambridge), with a foreword by Dr Nick Davis and Dr Ian Schermbrucker (University of Liverpool).

Abstract Deadline: 15 August 2011

Send Abstracts and enquiries to:

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