The Spirit of Speed: Culture on the Move in Edwardian Britain
‘Before us stretched the deserted road; we could trace it for miles and miles, a long line of grey in a vastness of green space that faded into blue, rising and falling with the rise and fall of the hills. Then the spirit of speed took possession of us, the fascination and the frenzy of speed for speed’s sake […] We had escaped from the fetters that bind man to earth; we were intoxicated with a new-born sense of splendid freedom; without exertion or effort we lightly skimmed the ground […] We were rushing into infinity.’ (James Hissey, An English Holiday with Car and Camera, 1909)
The fourth annual conference of the Edwardian Culture Network will be held at the University of Lancaster this coming September, in association with the Edwardian Postcard Project. Taking our lead from James Hissey’s 1909 evocation of travelling in a motor car, or H.G. Wells’s equally-breathless sea-bound finale to Tono-Bungay – we will be exploring the ‘spirit of speed’, as represented, reflected, challenged or wilfully ignored by British culture c.1895-1914. We invite 300-word proposals for papers on any aspect of this theme. Topics might include, but are not limited to:
- Culture on the move: the significance of postcards, advertisements, newspapers, travelling exhibitions, etc.
- Reactions to new technologies: motor cars, steam turbines, radio, film, etc.
- Speed and freedom: travel, independence and access.
- Rushing into infinity: Speed and the representation of time in art.
- Placing the brakes on speed: antidotes to the quickening pace of life: stillness, slowness and spirituality.
- Speed and exchange: The impact of Atlantic crossings on Anglo-American culture.
We will accept proposals for 15 minute presentations and panels; we are also happy to consider experimental approaches and poster ideas. Please e-mail proposals (not exceeding 500 words) to edwardianculturehotmail.co.uk. The closing date for applications is June 4th, 2017. Participants from inside and outside academia are equally welcome!
CFP: Culture on the Move in Edwardian Britain (Lancaster, 8-9 Sep 17). In: ArtHist.net, Jan 31, 2017 (accessed Feb 7, 2023), <https://arthist.net/archive/14649>.