Anita Brookner © Estate of Chris Garnham, National Portrait Gallery, London
Anita Brookner © Estate of Chris Garnham, National Portrait Gallery, London

As we approach the first anniversary of Anita Brookner’s death, this first international and interdisciplinary conference devoted to Brookner seeks to explore the meaning and significance of Brookner’s vast legacy, in both fiction and non-fiction.

Presented by The University of Melbourne
Venue: National Gallery of Victoria (International)

The work of Anita Brookner occupies an ambiguous place in the literary field. Brookner has a cult status, was a Booker-Prize winner and best-selling novelist, and yet her work received what she herself deemed ‘censorious’ reviews and limited critical attention. Brookner’s death was accompanied by conflicted accolades that appeared to celebrate her life while restating the predictable (and vexatious) reading of her identity as a lonely, single woman.

In addition to her 24 novels and one novella, Brookner authored a number of art-historical works and was a prolific reviewer of art and literature for over 60 years. The critical reception of Brookner is complicated by the question of how to interpret her work as an historian of eighteenth- an nineteenth-century French art. In a 1984 interview, Brookner explicitly denied a connection between her fictional and critical oeuvres, while at other times she spoke more openly about an intertextual literary practice, the significance of Romanticism in contemporary life, and her belief in unconscious processes.

Keynote speakers

  • Associate Professor Patricia Juliana Smith, Hofstra University
  • Professor Peter McPhee, The University of Melbourne

We invite papers on, but not limited to, the following topics:

  • Brookner’s canons
  • Brookner’s Romanticism
  • Brookner’s Rococo
  • Brookner’s art-historical oeuvre
  • Brookner and the French Revolution
  • Intertexuality
  • Women’s writing
  • Gender and sexuality
  • Anachronism, temporality and periodisation
  • The early novels, the middle period, the late period
  • Brookner’s London
  • Brookner’s Europes
  • Brooknerines

Please email abstracts of no more than 250 words and a brief CV to the conference convenors, Dr Peta Mayer and Associate Professor Clara Tuite, The University of Melbourne.


Please note: Closing date is Friday 16 December 2016.