Friday, August 2, 2019

Conference Closed

Well, the International Conference on Romanticism is officially closed now, my paper on Lord Byron's play Manfred is done with, and tomorrow I'll be heading back to London to spend time with my sister.

I've been attending two conferences back to back, having just finished the Romantic Facts and Fantasies conference in Nottingham, sponsored by the British Association for Romantic Studies. I've been enjoying Manchester, though, and some of the excellent papers here.

Wednesday night, Marlene Daut gave a keynote address on "The Age of Haitian Romanticism, which introduced me to a number of Haitian playwrights, including Juste Chanlatte and Henri Chauvet. She also discussed how the French writer Alphonse de Lamartine wrote a play about the Haitian revolutionary leader Toussaint L'Ouverture and was both influenced by Haitian writers and praised by them.

Thursday morning there was a great session on Romantic music and its composers. Though it is quite late to be considered Romanticism proper, Amanda Hsieh gave an interesting talk on Franz Schreker's opera Die Gezeichneten, which is based on a play by Frank Wedekind. Next, Amy Garnai delivered a fascinating paper on the friendship between dramatist Thomas Holcroft and composer Joseph Haydn, who spent time in England. The final paper in the session, which was by Barry Cooper, looked at aspects of Romanticism in the life and music of Beethoven. He naturally talked about Fidelio, but also discussed Beethoven's oratorio Christ on the Mount of Olives. I'm afraid I'm not familiar with that one, but now I want to hear it!

Today I took part in an article writing workshop, which was helpful. Though the conference officially closed today, there was supposed to be an outing tomorrow to the Peak District National Park for some hiking. Unfortunately, the heavy rains recently have led to concerns about a dam in the area bursting, and rail service has been disrupted. The conference planners had to cancel the trip, so I'll probably spend some time at a museum tomorrow before returning to London.

Once back in the U.S., I'll be quickly off again, to see my play The Love Songs of Brooklynites at the Theatre of Western Springs outside of Chicago. It's been a busy summer, but in a good way!