Symposium

Oaths, Odes and Orations 1789-1830

2020 Paris Symposium of the London-Paris Romanticism Seminar

Ecole Normale Supérieure, rue d’Ulm, Paris 

Friday 3-Saturday 4 April 2020

POSTPONED

till 2022 (new dates tbc)

 

Programme

FRIDAY 3 APRIL

9h30     Welcome and registration. Salle des Actes, ENS

9h45     Presentation: London-Paris Romanticism Seminar (Marc Porée, Paris director and David Duff, London director); Presentation: SERA (Caroline Bertonèche, President)

10h       Panel – Revolutionary Voices

Pierre Lurbe (Université Paris-Sorbonne)  ‘The Many Voices of Thomas Paine: The Oral Dimension of Rights of Man

Robert W. Jones (University of Leeds)  ‘Rhetoric, Resistance and the Nation: Richard Brinsley Sheridan’s Speech, 20 April 1798’

Emily Dolive (Baylor University, Waco)  ‘Of Mouths and Minds: Thelwall, Robinson, and Women’s Speech’

11h30    COFFEE BREAK

12h        Keynote Lecture 1

Christopher Reid (Queen Mary University of London)  ‘Spaces of Speech: Parliaments, Performance and Print in the 1790s’

1h          LUNCH

2h15      Panel — First and Last Speeches

Timothy Webb (University of Bristol)  ‘Appropriating Robert Emmet: Irish Oratory/ French Perspectives’

Marc Porée (ENS/PSL)  ‘The Speech That Was versus The Speech That Never Was: George Gordon Byron, Henry Hunt’

3h15       COFFEE BREAK

3h45       Panel – Oratory of Church and State

Dafydd Moore (University of Plymouth)  ‘Richard Polwhele and Pulpit Oratory in the Eighteenth-century English Province’

Hannah Tran (University College London)  ‘Oratory and History in William Hazlitt’s Eloquence of the British Senate’

4h45       Keynote Lecture 2

Judith Thompson (Dalhousie University, Nova Scotia)  ‘Thelwall’s French Connection: La Voix de la Girouette

5h45       RECEPTION

 

SATURDAY 4 APRIL

8h30      Welcome and registration. Salle des Actes, ENS

9h           Panel – The Ode: Form and Function

Martin Procházka (Charles University, Prague)  ‘Revelations of Freedom, Auguries of Death: “France: An Ode” and “Ode to the West Wind”’

Mirka Horová (Charles University, Prague)  ‘Save It on the Cloud: The Poetics of Radical Evanescence in Shelley’s Ode Experiments’

Paul Hamilton (Queen Mary University of London)  ‘Odes et al.’

10h30      COFFEE BREAK                             

11h          Keynote Lecture 3

Jean-Marie Fournier (Université Paris Diderot)  ‘Temperamental Odes’

12h          LUNCH                                                                             

1h15        Panel – Performative Language and Public Address

Catherine Bois (Université Paris Nanterre)  ‘Poetic/Rhetorical Ethos and the Performative Power of Words  in The Prelude, Books 9-10’

Mariam Wassif (Université Paris 1 – Panthéon-Sorbonne)  ‘“Taking Orders”: Authority and Performative Language in Mansfield Park

David Duff (Queen Mary University of London)  ‘Blake’s Public Addresses’

2h45       COFFEE BREAK

3h15       Keynote Lecture 4

Rémy Duthille (Université Bordeaux Montaigne)  ‘Toasting, Oratory and Parody in 1790s Britain’

4h15       END OF CONFERENCE

 

Introductory statement / CFP

The Tennis Court Oath of 20 June 1789 was the first overtly revolutionary act of the French Revolution and marked the beginning of an epoch in which public speech acts took on unprecedented political significance. The ceremonial odes and hymns of the fêtes de fédération were another manifestation of this renascence of orality, restoring the ancient Pindaric tradition of poetry as public performance and giving new meaning to odic conventions such as invocation, exhortation and apostrophe. In the work of André Chénier and others, this new lyric function produced major poetry. Meanwhile, in the halls of the political clubs, in the National Convention and revolutionary Committees, and from lecterns, pulpits and courtroom benches across France, oratory of all kinds shaped the course of history and decided the fate of individuals. Even on the executioner’s scaffold, rhetorical amplification became the preferred mode of address, a grim illustration of Baudelaire’s subsequent observation about ‘the grandiloquent truth of gestures on life’s great occasions’.

The revitalisation of performative language was not confined to the 1789 Revolution, nor to France. Britain experienced what many still consider a golden age of political eloquence, as orators of the calibre of Pitt, Burke, Fox and Sheridan jousted in parliament and extended their orations through the medium of print. Outside parliament, the growth of the corresponding societies, of other political clubs and associations, and of political lecturing created numerous opportunities for public address, the communicative practices and clandestine rituals of certain organisations attracting repressive measures such as the Unlawful Oaths Act of 1797. Radical writers mimicked French revolutionary styles in odes to Liberty and on the Bastille, while satirists parodied their efforts in mock-odes to the guillotine and pseudo-songs travestying revolutionary enthusiasm. Sermons, notably in the Nonconformist churches, were another front in the oral war of ideas, fusing religion and politics in provocative ways. Educational lecturing also underwent a remarkable boom, in the new Royal Institution and other fashionable lecturing institutions.

This two-day symposium will assess the literary significance of this mobilisation of orality and public utterance, and explore links between the speech acts of politicians, polemicists and educators and the writings of poets and other authors. How is the Romantic revaluation of the ode which produced the famous lyrics of Coleridge, Keats, Shelley and Victor Hugo – and of less well-known figures such as Southey, Hemans, Iolo Morganwg and Peter Pindar – connected with the revival of ceremonial ode-writing and public ritual? How are the ‘speech genres’ of everyday life integrated into the more complex genres of imaginative literature, as Bakhtin postulated? Can speech-writing, sermonising or toast-making be themselves a form of literary activity? What happens when legally, morally binding oaths and commitments are broken, forcing the swearer to recant, in public again – are such disavowals part of the culture of apostasy and disenchantment posited by literary historians of Romanticism? And to what extent do these purposive deployments of public speech enter the literary and rhetorical theory of the period?

We invite proposals on any aspect of the literary and verbal life of Britain and France from 1789 to 1830 that relates to this broad set of issues. Topics may include but are not confined to:

  • Oaths, affirmations and other verbal rituals
  • Toasts and toasting
  • Public lectures and lecturing
  • Denunciation, recantation and confession
  • Proclamations, declarations and vindications
  • Odes, hymns and songs
  • Apostrophe, personification and other poetic devices
  • Literature and public ceremony
  • Dialectic of publicness and privacy in Romantic lyric
  • Political, religious and forensic oratory
  • Illocutionary acts and performative language
  • Gendered eloquence
  • Dialogues and dialogism
  • Rhetorical theory of the Romantic period

Scientific Committee

Prof Marc Porée (ENS Ulm, Paris)

Prof David Duff (Queen Mary University of London)

Prof Caroline Bertonèche (Université Grenoble Alpes/ Société d’Études du Romantisme Anglais)

Dr Laurent Folliot (Université Paris-Sorbonne)

Dr Sophie Laniel-Musitelli (Université de Lille/ Institut Universitaire de France)

 


Previous symposia

Details of previous symposia are available on the Past Events page. Publications arising from these events can be accessed from the Publications page.