Dr Tina O’Toole (School of Culture & Communication) was an invited speaker at the recent symposium on “The Politics of Aestheticism” held at the Fondation des Treilles in France in early October 2017. The symposium brought together fifteen internationally recognized specialists in Victorian and modernist literature, to debate the links between British aestheticism and politics at the turn of the twentieth century.
By its cosmopolitan nature and emphasis on beauty in all areas, British aestheticism questioned national politics and politics (British, French, Italian, and Irish); papers explored the sometimes delicate interpellation of aesthetics, cosmopolitanism, and end-of-century nationalisms. Emerging themes from the symposium included the founding place of Walter Pater, aesthetic cosmopolitanism and nationalism, and the literary and political heritage of aesthetics in Europe in the first half of the twentieth century. The full-length papers delivered at the symposium will be reworked and integrated into a forthcoming collection of essays published as part of Palgrave Macmillan’s Nineteenth Century Studies Series.