The Medievalism of Nostalgia

An ARC NEER Symposium at the School of Graduate Research, University of Melbourne, 27-28 November 2009

Registration now open

Nostalgia, first perceived in the 17th century as an obscure condition of homesickness afflicting soldiers serving abroad, is now recognized as a key symptom of modernity. Medievalism - the re-imagining and re-invention of the Middle Ages - has provided a desirable home for the longings of nostalgia since the 18th century or earlier. This symposium offers an opportunity to investigate the privileged association between the two terms.

Further details from Helen Dell -

Keynote speakers at the symposium are:

Professor Linda M. Austin (Oklahoma State University)

Linda M. Austin is Professor of English at Oklahoma State University, where she covers the Victorian era and teaches theory, as well as literature and photography.  She writes on the literature, culture and arts of the long nineteenth century, particularly on childhood, performances of the sublime and the intersection between literature, psycho-physiology and economics.  Her books are The Practical Ruskin (Johns Hopkins, 1991) and Nostalgia in Transition (University of Virginia Press, 2007) and she has written articles on several Victorian poets, including James Thomson, Alice Meynell, and Thomas Hardy. Currently she is working on a study of automata and automatisms in the theoretical documents, literature and fine arts of the period and her essay "John Stuart Mill and the Paradox of Happiness" will appear shortly in a collection of essays on happiness in the online journal World Picture.

Dr. Louise D'Arcens (University of Wollongong)

Louise D'Arcens is a Senior Lecturer in the English Literatures Program at the University of Wollongong. She is the author of many articles and chapters on medievalism and of the forthcoming book Old Songs in the Timeless Land: Medievalism in Nineteenth-Century Australian Literatures (UWA Press). She recently edited Screening Early Europe, a special issue of the journal Screening the Past dedicated to screen medievalism. Louise is currently working, along with Professor Stephanie Trigg (Melbourne) and Professor Andrew Lynch (UWA), on the Australian Research Council-funded project "Medievalism in Australian Cultural Memory". She is leader of the Cultural Memories research theme of the ARC-funded Network for Early European Research and is co-ordinator of the Network's Australasian Medievalisms research cluster. She also writes on medieval women's writing and is co-editor of the volumes Maistresse of My Wit: Medieval Women: Modern Scholars (Brepols, 2004, with Juanita Ruys) and Unsocial Sociability in Women's Life Writing (Palgrave, forthcoming 2010).

Professor Andrew Lynch (University of Western Australia)

Andrew Lynch teaches in English and Cultural Studies and is Director of the Centre for Medieval and Early Modern Studies at The University of Western Australia. His publications include Malory’s Book of Arms (D. S. Brewer), two edited collections and numerous articles and book chapters on medieval literature and its modern afterlives in Britain and Australia. He is working on a book about medieval war in modern imagination and with Stephanie Trigg, Louise D'Arcens and John M. Ganim is investigating "Medievalism in Australian Cultural Memory" as an Australian Research Council Discovery Project.  He is co-editor of the refereed journal Parergon for the Australian and New Zealand Association for Medieval and Early Modern Studies. His chapter on 'Imperial Arthur' is forthcoming in The Cambridge Companion to the Arthurian Legend

Postgraduate/Early Career Researcher Masterclass

A postgraduate/early career researcher masterclass will be held immediately after the symposium, on Sunday 29 November. This day-long event will focus specifically on the theorising of nostalgia and will be geared toward assisting postgraduates and early career researchers in developing a rigorous and confident engagement with nostalgia and associated concepts. While the masterclass will have a medievalist emphasis, it will not be limited to medievalism, so postgraduates and early career researchers in a range of areas are welcome to apply. This event will be convened by Louise D’Arcens and Andrew Lynch as part of their current Australian Research Council-funded project on Medievalism in Australian Cultural Memory. The masterclass will also involve input from other academic guests working in the areas of nostalgia and cultural memory. Further details will be available when they are confirmed. Interested postgraduates and early career researchers should contact either Andrew Lynch ( or Louise D'Arcens (

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