On February 8, 1882, after his seventh lecture in America in just over a week, Oscar Wilde traveled north from Buffalo, NY crossing the border by train to Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada to play the role of tourist. In typical Wilde fashion, his response to seeing the falls was paradoxical, proclaiming it “one of the earliest, if not the keenest, disappointments” of a bride’s married life, yet appreciating its aesthetic and spiritual power as “a sort of embodiment of pantheism.” Wilde’s visit to Niagara Falls is both microcosm and metaphor for all of what might be called Wilde’s ‘border crossings’—national, classed, sexual, religious, and aesthetic.
“Wilde on the Borders” celebrates Wilde’s complexity through the forms he expressed: essays, theatre, and art. Please join us at Niagara University, located just four miles north of Niagara Falls, NY along the U.S./Canadian border, for a Wilde day of lively academic discussions hosted by the English Department. Join us, too, for a performance of Lady Windermere’s Fan—the inaugural production by Niagara University’s acclaimed Theatre Department in the Leary Theatre (http://theatre.niagara.edu/). As well, The Castellani Art Museum (CAM) of Niagara University (http://www.castellaniartmuseum.org/) will feature two exhibitions in association with “Wilde on the Borders.” Wilde at the Falls: Touring the Falls with Oscar Wilde pairs notable quotations from Wilde with selections from CAM’s own Charles Rand Penney Historical Niagara Falls Print Collection. Also on view through May 29, 2016 will be selections from the CAM’s permanent collection of late 19th- and early 20th-Century American and European landscapes.
For the symposium, we invite papers from any discipline, variously related to the theme “Wilde on the Borders.” Topics may include, but are not limited to: Wilde in academia and popular culture; the American lecture tour; Anglicanism and interest in/conversion to Catholicism; Irish/Anglo identity; gender and sexuality; anarchism and socialism; aestheticism and socialism; writing across genres or for different audiences – plays, novel, poetry, fairy tales, essays; Wilde’s popularity then and now; etc.
Please send a 300-word abstract and a short biography, by Feb.15, 2016, to Dr. Jamie Carr at firstname.lastname@example.org.