The George Herbert Society announces its next international, interdisciplinary conference, which will seek to locate Herbert’s Welsh origins and earliest influences. These include the gifted and competitive Herbert family; the Welsh border country around his Montgomery birthplace; and the literary, spiritual, and aesthetic traditions of Celtic culture. We also will locate Herbert’s legacy among other Welsh poets, including Henry Vaughan, Thomas Traherne, Dylan Thomas, and R. S. Thomas.
We will meet at the University of Wales’s up-to-date yet historic and tranquil Gregynog (gruh GAN ogk) Conference Center, nestled among the rolling hills and fields of Powys in mid-Wales. Our plenary speakers will be Gillian Clarke, National Poet of Wales; Jeremy Davies, Precentor and Canon, Salisbury Cathedral; and Achsah Guibbory, Ann Whitney Olin Professor of English, Barnard College of Columbia University.
Conference activities will include poetry readings, a rich range of paper panels and discussion sessions, a poetry competition, a choral concert, and an optional worship service. We also will visit the Herbert family monuments in St. Nicholas Church, Montgomery, the Herbert family castles of Montgomery and Powis, the workings of the Gregynog Press, and we will enjoy a supper in the historic Montgomery Town Hall. And there will be plenty of time for quiet walks, convivial teas and drinks, and shared meals in the Gregynog dining room. For those wishing to add a few days to their British travels, there also will be opportunities to visit nearby Ludlow Castle, site of the first performance of John Milton’s Comus, and Salisbury/Bemerton in England, where Herbert ministered and wrote for the last three years of his life.
We invite proposals for papers and for full panels from literary scholars, historians, and theologians who seek to discuss Herbert from a variety of disciplinary perspectives, and especially in relation to issues of family, place, and Celtic cultural traditions. We also invite proposals for creative presentations involving music, dramatic performance, and the visual arts. We particularly encourage those who wish to propose panels linked by attention to a common theme, poem, site, or setting.
More specifically, we welcome paper and panel proposals on topics such as but not limited to the following: Herbert’s poetic debt to nearby buildings and landscapes; questions of border politics and cultural intersection in late medieval and Tudor-Stuart Wales; Herbert’s relation to Welsh language and poetic forms, and to Celtic spirituality; Herbert’s near family connections, especially to his father Richard Herbert, his mother Magdelen Newport Herbert, and to his brothers Lord Edward Herbert of Cherbury and Sir Henry Herbert, Master of the Revels; Herbert’s connections to his cousins and later kinsmen the Earls of Pembroke, Montgomery, and Powis; and his debt to and influence on Welsh poets.
We invite e-mail submissions. For 15-20-minute papers, send a 250-word titled abstract; for a complete 3-4-person panel, send an overall title and individual 250-word titled abstracts for each paper; for creative presentations, please send a 250-word description indicating any other introductory materials (pdf’s, CD’s, DVD’s) that the conference program committee might then request for evaluation. Please indicate Wales 2011 in your subject line and include a 1-page CV giving an e-mail and a regular mail address at which you can be reached; and indicate any expected audio-visual needs (including special software needs)—Gregynog Conference Center is fully equipped for PowerPoint presentations and wireless Internet access.