Placing Henry James

The Notre Dame London Centre
June 29 - July 1, 2012
Conference supported by Creighton University


'Where are your public men, where are your men and women of intellect?' she enquired of Ralph, standing in the middle of Trafalgar Square as if she had supposed this to be a place where she would naturally meet a few.

The General Editors of the Cambridge University Press edition of the Complete Fiction of Henry James, in association with the University of Notre Dame, the Faculty of Arts and Humanities at University College London, the Cambridge University English Faculty, the Center for Henry James Studies at Creighton University and the Henry James Society, are pleased to announce the first international Henry James conference to take place in London. It will be held Friday June 29 – Sunday July 1, 2012, at the Notre Dame London Centre. The Centre is situated at the heart of James's London, on Suffolk Street just off Trafalgar Square, and housed in a grand building originally erected in 1907 as the Oxford and Cambridge Club.

Henry James has always been hard to place: it is part of his enduring fascination. This native New Yorker, often misdescribed as a Bostonian, first came to London in his childhood, returning as a young man in 1869, when he met, among others, John Ruskin, William Morris, Leslie Stephen, Frederic Harrison, Charles Darwin and George Eliot (and later Matthew Arnold, Tennyson, Browning, Gladstone, Stevenson, Wells, Conrad, Ford, Virginia Woolf). Late in 1876 he crossed the Channel after a year in Paris and took up residence in London, and remained resident in England – always in London or Rye, Sussex – until his death early in 1916. There has been continuing debate from an early stage about whether – in his own phrase – James was subject to ‘a superstitious valuation of Europe’, and the nature and purpose of his expatriation. What was his relation to British and London institutions, and to London itself, which he likened to 'a mighty ogress who devours human flesh', though avowing himself a 'London-lover'? And how should we understand him in relation to his times, living as he did through the 'American Renaissance', the late Victorian era, the Gilded Age, the Nineties, and into the Edwardian and Modernist periods?

Subjects of discussion will include:
• London, Paris, Rome, Boston, the Paris Commune, Bloomsbury, Chelsea, nightwalking, journalism, politics, the 1890s
• James and Ireland, James and cabs, James and death, James and queerness, James and adolescence, James and China, James and painters
• The Diamond Jubilee, Heinemann, the Yellow Book, the English Review, James’s letters and notebooks, the Prefaces, aesthetic economics
• James and Goethe, Carlyle, Dickens, George Eliot, Fanny Kemble, Maupassant, Arsène Houssaye, Ibsen, Conrad, Hugh Walpole
• poetry and fictions about James.

Keynote lecturers:
• Michael Anesko (Penn State, author of Monopolising the Master)
• Michael Wood (Princeton University, author of What Henry Knew)
• Greg Zacharias (Creighton University, co-editor of The Complete Letters of Henry James)

Other speakers will include: Jeremy Adler, Paul Armstrong, Rosemary Ashton, John D. Baird, Matthew Beaumont, Mary Boyington, Nicola Bradbury, Michaela Bronstein, Miroslawa Buchholtz, Kate Campbell, Jean Chothia, Emily Coit, Nan Z. Da, Anna Despotopoulou, Rory Drummond, Annick Duperray, Miranda El-Rayess, Denis Flannery, Tamara Follini, Jonathan Freedman, Jean Gooder, Michael Gorra, Susan Griffin, Jennifer Hamilton, Beverly Haviland, Oliver Herford, Kate Hext, Alice Hiller, Philip Horne, Hazel Hutchison, Matthew Ingleby, Roslyn Jolly, Danny Karlin, Louis Leslie, Scott McCracken, David McWhirter, Michèle Mendelssohn, Daniel Nutters, Matthew Peters, Agnes Pokol-Hayhurst, Adrian Poole, Mhairi Pooler, Peter Rawlings, Neil Reeve, Bernard Richards, Julie Rivkin, Alicia Rix, Elizabeth Roberts, Peter Robinson, Richard Salmon, Eric Savoy, Karen Scherzinger, Jonathan Schroeder, Rebekah Scott, Hugh Stevens, Sheila Teahan, Sara Thornton, Pamela Thurschwell, Peter Walker, Merle A. Williams, Angus Wrenn, Rosella Mamoli Zorzi.

Please note that registration closes on 18 June, and that there is a strict maximum of 120 people for the conference (including a limited number of places at the reduced rate for graduate students).

• Full registration: (by 18 June): £100
• One-day rate (by 18 June): £55

To book online, please click here.