Feeling Form/Forming Feeling?: Dialectics of Affect and Form in Anglophone Women’s Writing, 1550-1800

Ghent University, Carmelite Monastery, 14-15 October 2022



What art thou, Spleen, which ev’ry thing dost ape?
Thou Proteus to abused mankind,
Who never yet thy real cause could find,
Or fix thee to remain in one continued shape.
Still varying thy perplexing form, (Anne Finch, “Spleen” 1709)

Keynote speakers

  • Prof. Michelle M. Dowd (University of Alabama)
  • Prof. Danielle Clarke (University College Dublin)
  • Prof. Ros Ballaster (Oxford University)


In the field of historical women’s writing, new formalist methodological approaches and theories of affect are being advanced and contested as scholars reimagine the relationship between text and context. Looking at the affordances, collisions and structuring principles of form and affect, this conference invites scholars to explore intersections between form and feeling in women’s writing between 1550-1800: what does a feminist formalist methodology attendant to feeling and affect look like? How does such a perspective allow us to recentre and rethink the position of women’s writing within the larger field of literary studies?