CfP/CfA Veranstaltungen

Lendings, signifying, identities (Oxford)

Deadline Abstract

Day conference
Saturday 5 November 2022
Corpus Christi College, Oxford

The discovery of an identity can be important in narratives. When he gets home, Odysseus after so long away is not easily recognised. King Lear, storm-wracked and ousted from the world he knew, is reduced to his newly discovered bare humanity. When he cries, ‘Off, off you lendings’, his exclamation is also a stage direction. Later, railing against injustice, he observes that ‘robes and furred gowns hide all’. He by now having nothing, or everything, to hide.
     Identity, role, gender and the like need to be recognised, even if not immediately. Rosalind in As You Like It wants to be seen, and loved, as Ganymede, or perhaps as herself.
     In his bombastic ‘philosophy of clothes’ in Sartor Resartus Thomas Carlyle suggests that in the evolutionary beginnings decoration was for primitive human beings prior to warmth. Perhaps he was thinking of face painting and tattoos. He points out that ‘Language, if you except some few primitive elements (of natural sound) ... is all but Metaphors’, and clothes are metaphors, and bodies clothes or metaphors of souls. Yet decency as John Harvey indicates (Clothes, 2008) is fundamental to wearing clothes, while allaying anxiety may also be important when you hover before your wardrobe. Roland Barthes devoted attention to both images and descriptions in his structuralist study The Fashion System, where clothes are figures at play in the twentieth century semiotic system.
     Ælfric's St Eugenia disguises herself as a man, becomes an abbot, and disproves a charge of adultery by exposing herself to her father. The protagonist in Mateo Aleman’s Guzmán de Alfarache (1599), rogue as he was, thought he could acquire social standing in a new suit of clothes. In the Bible clothing signifies a great deal, and Jesus warned against conspicuous displays of dubious piety by religious teachers who liked to wear long tassels. He also made use of common knowledge of the shrinkage rates of old and new cloth to make a point about his mission.

Proposals are invited for papers to be read at the conference in Oxford. The reading time is about 20 minutes, to be followed by discussion. So a proposal of 300 words will be followed later by a paper of about 4,000, which is also offered for publication, if successful, in The Glass early in 2023.

Send proposals with a provisional title and a few words about your background by 31 May 2022 to Dr Roger Kojecký, The conference fee payable in October (includes lunch in College) is £22, concessions £18.

CLSG: exploring Christian and Biblical themes in literature

Some topical references

Roland Barthes,The Fashion System, 1967
Jie FENG, Clothing Degree Zero: A Late Reading of Barthes' Fashion 'System', Theory, culture & society, vol, 37, no. 4 (2020); pp 97-118 -- Sage Publications.
Jane Bliss, Naming and Namelessnes in Medieval Romance, Brewer, 2008
Thomas Carlyle, Sartor Resartus, [1833], Oxford World’s Classics, 2020
J C Flügel, The Psychology of Clothes, 1930
John Harvey, Clothes, 2008
Patricia Lennox, Bella Mirabella eds., Shakespeare and costume, 2015
Aileen Ribeiro, Dress and Morality, 2003
Janet Tucker, ‘The Religious Symbolism of Clothing in Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment’, The Slavic and East European Journal, vol. 44, no. 2, American Association of Teachers of Slavic and East European Languages, 2000, pp. 253–65,

Quelle der Beschreibung: Information des Anbieters


Literaturgeschichtsschreibung (Geschichte; Theorie), Literaturtheorie, Strukturalismus, World Literature/Weltliteratur, Literatur und Kulturwissenschaften/Cultural Studies, Literatur und Philosophie, Stoffe, Motive, Thematologie




University of Oxford
Campus Christi College


Datum der Veröffentlichung: 25.02.2022
Letzte Änderung: 25.02.2022