Call for papers: first international symposium on fin-de-siècle writer Ernest Dowson (1867-1900), deadline Friday 26 February 2016

Ernest Dowson (1867-1900): Poet, translator, novelist
Goldsmiths, University of London
15 April 2016

Keynote: Dr Kostas Boyiopoulos (Durham University)
Plenary: Jad Adams (Institute of English)

Proposals are welcome for short readings of original creative writing inspired by Dowsonian themes.

Please send abstracts of 300 words, with your institutional affiliation and a brief biography, to Jessica Gossling and Alice Condé at by Friday 26 February 2016.

The Department of English and Comparative Literature at Goldsmiths are pleased to announce the first international symposium on the fin-de-siècle writer Ernest Dowson (1867-1900).

Born in South London, Dowson lived and died during the last days of English Decadence. Poet, translator, and novelist, he had an affinity with the capital city’s impoverished and intellectual spaces, and engaged with international literary and artistic circles. In the 120 years since the publication of Verses, Dowson has become something of a Decadent legend, but is still considered a minor figure of the fin de siècle.

This symposium seeks to develop new perspectives on Ernest Dowson. We welcome papers on any aspect of his life and works. In particular, we are interested in submissions that address the following areas:

  • Dowson’s poetry, short fiction, drama, and co-authored novels
  • The complex critical positioning of Dowson’s writing within fin de siècle studies
  • Death, drugs and dry docking – the label ‘Decadent’, and its influence on our reading of Dowson
  • Optimism and pessimism, and other Dowsonian contradictions
  • Translation, correspondence, and rivalry in Dowson’s works
  • The viol, the violet and the vine – motifs and images in Dowson’s poetry
  • Moonbeams and maidens – Dowson’s treatment of gender and sexuality
  • Hotels, harlots and halitosis – places, spaces and bodies
  • ‘Slimy trails and holy places’ – Catholicism and ritual in Dowson’s life and work
  • Dirty talk, clean words – the relationship between his sordid lifestyle and clean poetic imagery


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