The Seventh International Literary Juvenilia Conference will be held virtually at UNSW Sydney from Wednesday 20 July to Friday 22 July 2022. 

Following the success of the 2018 conference on ‘Minority Voices’ at St. John’s College, University of Durham, the International Society of Literary Juvenilia (ISLJ) and Juvenilia Press, welcome you to a Zoom Conference from UNSW Sydney to discuss


Literary Juvenilia, material imagination and ‘things’

Young writers ranging from Pope, Chatterton and Burns in the eighteenth century, to Austen, the Brontës, Eliot and Dickens in the nineteenth, and Edith Wharton, C.S. Lewis, Judith Wright, Margaret Atwood, and J.K. Rowling in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries have found inspiration and example in the everyday context of their writing practice—in a materiality related to their physical, social and cultural worlds and in the material conditions of their play, learning, imitation and critique. This conference will explore the material culture of juvenilia (youthful writing up to the age of twenty): the relationship between ‘things’ and literary imagination and practice.

The conference aims to provide a broad intellectual forum for academics, postgraduates, members of literary societies and the interested public.

There will be a panel dedicated to the juvenilia of the Brontës, especially that of Anne Brontë to acknowledge her 2020 Bicentenary, sponsored by the Australian Brontë Association. 


Keynote speakers: 

David C. Hanson, Professor and Head, Department of English, Co-editor of Nineteenth Century Studies, Southeastern Louisiana University. He specialises in the study of the creative process and how texts evolve from composition through stages of publication; and is editor of The Early Ruskin Manuscripts1826-1842, a digital edition of the early writings of influential art critic John Ruskin. 
His paper title is: 
      "John does not know there is any difference in putting things on paper from saying them":
                                Materiality in John Ruskin's Juvenilia and Early Letters
David Hanson will argue that, contrary to his mother's opinion, John Ruskin's juvenilia does reveal differences between a discursive familiarity, which Ruskin adapted from the "conversation" genre by Letitia Barbauld and Maria Edgeworth, and "things on paper" imitated from a calligraphy manual and the typography of books he owned. In personal letters and fictionalized conversations, he used a spontaneous and playful style, which subverts rules, such as those found in letter manuals. However, his fancy calligraphy and imitation of type set constraints. Furthermore, material aspects of Ruskin's juvenilia appear to originate most deeply in mourning and loss. He made "things on paper" for his father to carry with him on his travels, and these were expressive of his sense of loss and desire for his father's return – returns that, in the case of beloved cousins, never came about. Ruled margins in the juvenilia both define fate and keep something safe.
Beverly Taylor, Professor and Head, Department of English and Comparative Literature, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. She specialises in Victorian literature and culture, especially poetry and women novelists including Elizabeth Barrett Browning and the Brontës. 
In celebration of the recent 2020 Bicentenary of Anne Brontë Professor Taylor will speak on:
                                                              Becoming Acton Bell
Of Anne Brontë's thirty-seven known drawings, only nineteen were executed before she became the Ingham governess in 1839, when she was nineteen, and represent what we may think of as her juvenilia. And of her fifty-nine known poems, only eight represent her work prior to her nineteenth birthday. In addition to the poems and drawings, we have only five extant letters and two diary papers by Anne, in addition to three diary papers written by Emily. While New Critics and contemporary formal crticis may find this lack an actual plusthere's less for them to ignore, less extraneous information to get in the way of the analysisstudents of literary juvenilia might find themselves wishing for more context. Acknowledging these limitations I will explore the juvenile writings and drawings, in particular thinking of what they might forecast about her adult novels. This talk will suggest characteristics of Anne's worldview, artistic renderings, and writings evident in her juvenilie productions. In studying her juvenilia, we catch sight of Anne Brontë becoming Acton Bell.


Trevor Cairney OAM, Honorary Professor, University of Sydney; Life Fellow UNSW. He has been a teacher, researcher, Dean of Education, Pro Vice Chancellor (Research) and College Head. He has written widely on pedagogy, early learning, language, children's literature, comprehension and family literacy. He has written 10 books and over 250 articles, and has presented keynote and plenary addresses to many audiences around the world. He also writes the well-known blog "Literacy, Families & Learning" which is followed internationally by thousands of parents, children's authors and teachers.
Professor Cairney will speak on:
                           The Relationship of "Story", Meaning and Imagination to the World
D.W. Harding (1937) suggested, "reading, like daydreaming and gossiping, is a means to offer or be offered symbolic representations of life". But this does not reflect a linear relationship to one's world. Early reading and writing are intertwined with children's explorations and actions, as they imagine futures and express meanings that matter. In this talk, I will explore the interrelationship of children's early experiences of literature, writing and life, as they explore their material world to construct and communicate meanings that matter.      


Conference organisers:

Christine Alexander, Emeritus Scientia Professor, School of the Arts and Media, UNSW
Chris Danta, Associate Professor, School of the Arts and Media, UNSW
Donna Couto, Administration & Assistant Editor, Juvenilia Press, UNSW
Ryan Twomey, Senior Lecturer, English Department, Macquarie University