Glamorgan conference report

Timothy Jones writes:

Conference Report: New Histories of Love and Romance, c. 1880-1960.

On 25 May, History and the Centre for Gender Studies in Wales hosted a one-day conference at the Cardiff Story Museum interogating current directions of research in modern love. Twelve papers were given and over thirty scholars participated. Critical differences emerged in the understandings of modern love derived from fiction, autobiography, legal and psychological sources. It was also apparent that chronologies of romantic modernity different in different class contexts, between the provincial and the metropolitan, were resisted by a range of political and psychological discourses, and problematised by different life stages. Keynote speaker, Professor Lynne Pearce argued that the character of romantic love shifted over the course of the twentieth century from being a ‘means rather than an end’ to being a form of self fulfilment that was an end in itself. Claire Langhamer argued that this shift to love being a valorised ‘end in itself’, while marking the triumph of a self-consciously modern ideal of love, also acted to destabilise these very social relations even as it emerged. As Marcus Collins reflected, these conclusions mark a dramatic transition from the state of the field when he published Modern Love ten years ago.

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