D.H. Lawrence Society of North America

header photo

Conferences & Calls

Please contact the webmaster with info on upcoming Lawrence related conferences, panels, and calls for papers.  Your assistance is appreciated in helping to keep these notices up-to-date.  Past MLA Lawrence session paper titles are now archived on our website as well as information regarding past International Lawrence Conferences.



Conference Announcements



International Conference
26-28 October 2023

     This international conference aims to examine notions of heritage and legacy in Thomas Hardy’s writings, career and influence. Part of the conference will focus in particular on the links between Hardy and D. H. Lawrence.

     Conference organised by FATHOM, the French Association for Thomas Hardy Studies, with support from CY Cergy Paris University (UMR 9022 “Héritage”), Sorbonne Nouvelle University (PRISMES EA 4398) and Paul Valéry Montpellier 3 University (EMMA research team)

     From the antiquary’s fortuitous discovery of Tess’s prestigious ancestors to the complex trans-generational transmission process in The Well Beloved, questions of genealogy, filiation, and transmission appear in all of Thomas Hardy’s novels, whether from a genetical, material, financial or even purely legal perspective (through the transmission of money, objects, property or values, as well as misappropriation, dispossession etc.). Traces of the past – whether historical, familial or even personal – run deep in the novels’ diegesis, raising questions of inheritance, legitimate or illegitimate transmission and continuity as well as historical ruptures. Heritage-making, or “heritagization”, is both a symbolic and very concrete process. One may think of how, with Wessex, Hardy created his own spatial and architectural heritage, kept a record of the local dialect (both following in William Barnes’s footsteps and breaking away from him) and mapped its territory through an interplay of tradition and transposed reality, both giving new importance to historical sites and integrating them into his own fictional geography (e.g. Stonehenge).

     The real-life places themselves have retained the trace of Hardy’s fictional geography, as evidenced by another level of heritagization which can be seen in the craze for literary tourism around Hardy’s Wessex, in the renovation of Hardy’s birth cottage by the Heritage Lottery Fund about ten years ago, or else in the English Heritage blue plaque scheme. Worth noting is the impact of cultural heritage policies on Hardy’s literary heritage, as is the role of the National Trust and of other local cultural endeavours such as exhibitions, monuments and statues, commemorations and anniversaries. Such strategies of appropriation and re-appropriation of the author as a national figure have been successful in creating an official Hardyan literary heritage, in particular thanks to the dissemination and study of Hardy’s works both locally and nationally.

     Understanding Hardy’s heritage also implies considering the context of Victorian publishing history which presided over the publication of his writings (e.g. the role of Leslie Stephen and the Cornhill Magazine) and how Hardy’s own works were often composed as palimpsests intended to circumvent censorship. Equally important is the examination of how Hardy designed his own heritage, intent on entering literary history as he recorded his own personal (his)story for posterity by writing his (auto)biography and attributing its authorship to his second wife. The digitization of Hardy’s correspondence is precisely at the heart of the “Hardy and Heritage” project currently underway in England in partnership with the Dorset Museum.

     Last but not least, what may be considered as central to the question of heritage is also the reception of Hardy’s writings, first of all in his own lifetime, then by later readers as his works were re-written, adapted and celebrated by others. Among the novelists and poets most centrally influenced by Hardy is D. H. Lawrence, whose “Study of Thomas Hardy” (1936) was written as a thorough critique of his predecessor’s oeuvre. As it turned out, the posthumously published essay became one of the most fundamental pieces in Lawrence’s philosophy, a proper reflection on his art and, in his own words, “a sort of Confessions of [his] Heart” (letter to Amy Lowell, Nov 1914; Lawrence xxiii). To this day, the piece, which constitutes a literary bridge from Hardy’s art to Lawrence’s heart, serves as a testimony of the younger author’s deep respect for a writer who both influenced his fiction and inspired him to find his own path. The connection between the two authors is therefore well-known and quite often mentioned in passing in essays dedicated to the study of one or the other. However, the specificities that characterise this particular literary (af)filiation, as well as the links between Hardy and other writers, are yet to be explored. Is there any proper Hardyan heritage in Lawrence’s writing, or in the works of other authors from the 20th and 21st centuries, and if so, which particular aspects of these writings can demonstrate such a heritage?

   Suggested topics for this conference:

● Transmission (vs acquisition), heritage, inheritance, succession, social reproduction, patrimonial / matrimonial strategies, dispossession, misappropriation, squandering
● Family history, filiation, descent, pedigree, family ties, inter-generational transfers, genealogy, genetics, heredity
● Primitivism, evolution, Darwinism
● Cultural memory, memorial undertakings, writing and reinterpreting history, prehistory / archaeology / traces of ancient civilisations, relics and remains
● Historical heritage, restoration /preservation, literary tourism
● Cultural institutions, archives, museums, monuments, commemorations, celebrations
● Publishing history, editorial lines, reeditions, dissemination and transmission of writings
● (Auto)biography, correspondence, notebooks (dissemination and transmission)
● Authorship, textual and intermedial adaptations, literary tributes, celebrations
● Influences (e.g. influence of the Romantics; influence on other writers)

   Suggested topics for proposals on Hardy and D. H. Lawrence:

● Hardy, Lawrence and the Romantics
● Traces of Past Civilisations in Hardy and Lawrence
● Heredity and Inheritance in Hardy and Lawrence
● Victorian heritage in Lawrence’s writing
● Heritage vs. acquisition in Hardy and Lawrence 

We welcome proposals for 20-minute presentations in English.
Selected proceedings from the conference will be published in the FATHOM journal.
Please send proposals (max. 500 words) along with a brief bio/bibliographical note (max. 500 words)
to Laurence Estanove by 3 July 2023.
Authors will be notified by the end of July.

MLA 2024

Philadelphia, PA (Jan. 4-7, 2024)

Proposed Joint Panel


     In Dickens’s figures, cravings for attachment motivate the forward drive of complex relations; in Lawrence’s figures, cravings for separation are the narrative motor. How might new scrutiny of the drama of attachments and separations enrich critical analysis of Dickens and Lawrence? Along those lines, how might fresh comparative attention to those writers illuminate the period differences that rightly or wrongly separate them and their professional critics too? Those questions are made more relevant by current interest in attachment theory as it affects ordinary life and ideas of well-being. Moreover, attachment theory plays a major part in attempts to define the nature of literature and of readers’ responses to artworks. To explore all the phenomena at issue – formalist, psychological, aesthetic – we are proposing a joint panel that will formulate Dickensian and Lawrentian contributions to attachment theory, and attachment theory’s possible contributions to Dickens and Lawrence studies. Papers dealing with both authors are especially welcome. Abstracts of 250-300 words and a brief curriculum vitae should be sent to Robert L. Caserio at by Sunday, March 19, 2023.


MLA 2024

Philadelphia, PA (Jan. 4-7, 2024)


     In his essay “The Novel and the Feelings,” Lawrence laments the fact that, in his belief, “we are hopelessly uneducated in ourselves” and that in “the dark continent of my self, I have a whole stormy chaos of ‘feelings’” (STH 201-02). His suggestion is for the reader to listen in to “the low, calling cries” of characters in novels “as they wander in the dark woods of their destiny” (STH 205). Clearly, Lawrence was highly interested in exploring human emotions and in exploring his own often volatile feelings. He does that with great skill and intensity in much of his writing of whatever genre. For its 2024 MLA panel in Philadelphia, January 4-7, 2024, the D.H. Lawrence Society of North America invites papers from any theoretical perspective, including affect theory, on any aspect of Lawrence’s engagement with emotions. Abstracts of 250-300 words and a brief curriculum vitae should be sent to Ron Granofsky at by Sunday, March 19, 2023.



Paris Nanterre University
13-15 April 2023


"This is our own still valley / Our Eden, our home” 

“And I’m a pale-face like a homeless dog
That has followed the sun from the dawn through the east”
        --The Red Wolf

     As a writer who spent the last ten years of his life travelling around the world in search of the freedom and creativity he felt his homeland could not give him, the least that can be said about Lawrence’s relationship to his home is that it was complex and shifting.

     Lawrence’s early stories, set in his native Midlands, offer a historical and sociological testimony of life in the colliers’ and farmers’ homes – complete with details of the rent, furniture and architecture of their houses – and invite us to think about the duality of the home as both one’s parents’ home and a place of one’s own. Thus, nostalgia for the childhood home as a place of “irresponsibility and security” (Rainbow 76) recalls past feelings of belonging and comfort: “the heart of me weeps to belong / To the old Sunday evenings at home, with winter outside / And hymns in the cosy parlour” (Piano). The parental home provides protection against the hostility of the outside world, yet it may also be perceived by young men and women as a place of oppression to be escaped

     We will therefore study how Lawrencian characters are induced to leave home and the shielding influence of mothers – a necessary step towards adulthood: “the long voyage in the quiet home was over; we had crossed the bright sea of our youth” (The White Peacock 237). Some relinquish the notion of a traditional physical home, finding a home instead in the body of the beloved, like the poet-narrator of Song of a Man Who is Loved: “Between her breasts is my home”; others still, are compelled to leave the homeland, as Lawrence himself did in 1919, after many conflicts with the Home Office, involving the prosecution and destruction of The Rainbow in 1915, or his disgust with England’s government policies during the war. His fiction, letters and poems of that period show him to be unequivocally at odds with the politics and public feeling of his home country, which he openly criticised in the likes of the poem Songs I learnt at School, justifying his flight abroad.

     Thus “home” becomes a denomination for England or Europe in Kangaroo, The Boy in the Bush and The Plumed Serpent, as Lawrence unearths traces of “home” in Australian cities, analyses how the “Old Country” is considered by the Australians, and ponders his own relationship to the now distant “home” country and the pull “homewards”. The Rananim project was of course one of the ideals Lawrence pursued around the world and in his writing, as his travelling protagonists seek to recreate a home for themselves abroad: Harriett Somers’s yearning for the safety and rootedness of a home manifests itself in contrast to Richard Somers’s rejection of homeliness, as Birkin did before him. Jack, in The Boy in the Bush, also asserts his homelessness, the word “home” having lost its meaning: “There are words like home, Wandoo, England, mother, father, sister, but they don’t carry very well” (230).

     Feeling at home neither in one’s native country nor abroad, with no lasting home, one may become a “wandering Jew,” as Lawrence referred to himself in letters, subjected to bouts of homesickness, like Kate Leslie longing for spring or Christmas in Britain. Yet Lawrence invariably seems to imagine homecoming as an experience of estrangement and disappointment. Is there no permanent home then, for Lawrence and his characters, besides the eternal home behind the sun or in the moon, in The Plumed Serpent? But even that is the mystic home of the gods, to which Quetzalcoatl, Jesus and Mary retire. There remains the psychological home, feeling “at home in ourselves” (Woe), or the “home” of the Morning Star, in which men and women become their true selves.

Possible paths of reflection:

Home as a paradoxical space and polysemic concept
Home as a personal, physical or metaphysical space
Women’s and men’s roles at home
Home as the mother-country
The metaphorical uses of the word home
From nostalgia to emancipation
Home and identity formation
Privacy and community
Homelessness and homecoming
The typology of dwellings (sociological implications, narrative function of these descriptions)
Comfort, furniture, decoration, possessions
The Lawrences’ homes in England and abroad
Foreigners who made England their home

Organisers: Elise Brault-Dreux, Fiona Fleming
Scientific Committee: Cornelius Crowley, Ginette Roy

For more information:
Fiona Fleming,

Conference fee: 85 euros

Link to our journal Etudes Lawrenciennes: