Home | Contact | About the DSC | Field Classes | Programme | Faculty | Forms & Links | About Corfu


Corfu, Town Hall Square

The Durrell School of Corfu opens each annual session with a symposium that examines themes of importance to the Durrells and to our world. The first symposium in 2002 took "Understanding Misunderstanding" as its central theme and it included distinguished leaders in politics, economics, the arts and environmental studies among its participants.

Keynote speakers in 2004 include: Gayatry Chakravorty Spivak, Columbia University professor and cultural theorist; Lee Durrell from the Durrell World Wildlife Trust; and David Bellamy, internationally acclaimed ecologist and botanist.

Previous participants have included: John Brandon of the Asia Foundation; Elemer Hankiss, dean of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences; Marwan Bishara from the American Univerisity of Paris; and the environmentalist David Bellamy.

The Venetian Winged Lion



(3-8 June 2007)

The Durrell School of Corfu will host an international seminar on 'The Writer's Reputation: Gender, Time, Geography' at its Library and Study Centre, 3-8 June 2007.

The reputation of a writer is affected by many factors. For example, it is common for a writer's reputation to suffer a decline in public interest and appreciation after his/her death. Such a reputation may be enhanced in later years by the renewal of critical interest.

Some writers seem to hold critical and public attention permanently – the aura of Dickens, Dostoyevsky, Tolstoy, Jane Austen, for example, is seldom in question. Others – far too many to name - seem to enter long-term or permanent oblivion even though they may have been critical and popular successes in their lifetime, including several winners of the Nobel Prize.

Medusa Pediment, Corfu

Additionally, the work of groups of writers (first world war poets, Irish writers of the 1930s and 1940s) may move in and out of public attention, the academic curriculum, et cetera.

Some writers attract a readership not only on account of the quality of their writing and its critical reception, but also due to their idiosyncracies, most notably those who shun publicity (e.g. Pynchon, Prokosch) and equally those who espouse it (e.g. Tom Wolfe, David Foster Wallace, William T. Vollmann).

The factors influencing the reputation of a writer include:

  • public knowledge of the writer
  • agents’ promotion of the writer
  • publishers’ promotion of the writer
  • media attention
  • a writer’s choice of subject, viewed over time
  • critical reception of the work (including the prejudices of review editors)
  • access to wider markets through translation, etc. (especially in the case of writing in ‘minority languages’) and through generic and new media crossovers
  • the perceived persona of the writer
  • the emergence and influence of differentiated reading publics and niche literary markets
  • the development of literary institutions e.g. literary prizes, academic creative writing workshops.

Some questions to be asked are:

  • how does a writer acquire a 'reputation'?
  • how does a writer lose his/her 'reputation'?
  • how does a writer's reputation rise and fall, or fall and rise, during his/her lifetime?
  • what affects a writer's presence or absence in the academic curriculum?
  • to whom does the writer address his/her work in order to attract an audience?
  • what is the correlation between popular reputation and academic canonisation? Is there often a significant divergence between the two?
  • how is reputation altered through periodic critical revaluation (especially of an ideological kind, e.g. Marxist or feminist or post-colonial?)
  • is it possible that a writer can enjoy a 'reputation' even though s/he is not actually read?
  • how big and vital a role does translation play in promoting and propagating the reputation of a writer? How does translation affect the reputation of a writer not only in the Target Language (TL) but also in the Source Language (SL)?

The subtitle of this seminar – 'Gender, Time, Geography' – will allow participants to discuss, in addition to the growth and decline of a writer's reputation over a period of time, whether the writer’s gender (and attitude to gender) and geographical location can positively or negatively affect the way his/her reputation is constructed.

The seminar will be moderated by Aaron Jaffe (University of Louisville, author of Modernism and the Culture of Celebrity) and Harish Trivedi (University of Delhi, author of Colonial Transactions: English Literature and India).

Proposals (2 pages maximum), together with the author's CV, should reach the Durrell School by 1 February 2007 ([email protected]).

Presentations will be limited to 30 minutes each, with another 30 minutes allocated for discussion by participants including resident faculty and the moderators.

Full texts of accepted presentations must be received by the DSC by 1 May 2007 in electronic form, to facilitate circulation to all participants in advance. The papers should not be read at the seminar, but spoken to, since they will have been read by participants before the seminar opens.

A selection of papers will be published as part of the DSC's Proceedings.

The registration fee for the seminar will be 300 euros for participants (to include costs of field classes) and 350 euros for those who wish to take part in the discussions but who do not wish to present papers.

The authors of accepted proposals will be asked to give the DSC an assurance that they have secured adequate funding to enable them to take up the places offered to them.

The DSC cannot be responsible for any costs associated with travel or accommodation. Intending participants should consult the DSC website for details of accommodation available in Corfu.

A limited number of scholarships is available: in the first instance, contact the Administrative Director at: [email protected].

Site designed and maintained by: James Gifford
© Durrell School of Corfu