The parameters and interiors of British middlebrow writing and reading have increasingly received scholarly attention in recent years. Middlebrow writing, in fiction in particular, has been identified in terms of a particular kind of novel, produced by a combination of particular conditions: the writer, the market, the reader, the publisher, the critics, the period, the theme, the setting, and the message.
This conference aims to investigate the complex relationship between middlebrow writing and categories of space and place. For the exploration of this topic we seek to encourage discussion along two main trajectories: firstly, we would like to invite participants to consider the spaces and places where middlebrow writing was supported, including social geographies as well as the topography and archaeology of middlebrow production and consumption. We are interested in hearing about research on middlebrow culture that encompasses spaces of refuge, spaces of social power, and spaces of industry and production. We want to hear about loci for writing: areas in a country, a county, a town, a village, even of a building. Where did middlebrow happen?
Secondly, we invite papers that explore the literary representation of place and space in middlebrow writing. Participants are invited to discuss contribution of middlebrow writers to the spatial discourses that harbour the collective's sense of national, cultural and social identity. How do middlebrow writers image the places of gender, ethnicity, and class? What are their strategies for the appropriation of space and place for generating cultural meaning? We are particularly interested to learn about the experience of Empire in the first half of the twentieth century and middlebrow conceptions of home and exile, the country and city, the centre and the margins. How does middlebrow reflect and negotiate the spatial practices of society?