Women Writers and Comedy, 1890-1950 Conference Programme

International Conference, Sponsored by The Elizabeth von Arnim Society and supported by The Open University and Misericordia University. Online, 17-18 September 2022.

Conference programme

Saturday, 17 September 2022 (all times in bold are listed in GMT)

Welcome and Introductions (10:00-10:15 am)

Panel 1 (10:30 am-12:00 pm): No Laughing Matter? Comedy and Feminist Politics

  • Zhen Liu, “‘When a man speaks according to his thoughts in America—that is called a joke. That is a joke, is it not?’: Humour in Edith Eaton’s writing”
  • Ann Heilman, “The Comedy of Misdirection: Militant Femininity, Laughter, and Reader Seduction in Edwardian Suffrage Narratives”
  • Noreen O’Connor,  “‘Pa, I have runned off with the boarder’: Early film and the feminist comedy of women who run away”

Panel 2 (12:30 – 2:00 pm): Laughter over the Lifespan

  • Jennifer Shepherd, “‘Getting Old is No Joke’: Elizabeth von Arnim’s Mr. Skeffington and the Comedy of Female Aging”
  • Ann Rea, “Formidable Aunts in Elizabeth Bowen’s To the North and The Last September
  • Ann Herndon Marshall, “New Woman vs. Obsolete Ingénue: Generational Comedy in Works by Elizabeth von Arnim and Vita Sackville-West”
  • Jane McVeigh, “Richmal Crompton’s Frankenstein and Her Monster, William Brown”

Panel 3 (2:30-4:00 pm): Inter-War Irony: Part I

  • Richard Cappuccio, “‘Prophetic Comedy’: Katherine Mansfield’s Astringent Wit”
  • Şebnem Düzgün, “The Politics of Dark Humour in Virginia Woolf’s Orlando
  • Diana Hirst, “Hunt the Thimble! Treasure Hunts! Jigsaw Puzzles! Elizabeth Bowen’s Party Games”
  • Francesca Pierini, “The Garden and the Playground: The Italian Landscape as Catalyst of Change and Restorative Force in Elizabeth von Arnim’s The Enchanted April

 Keynote Address (5:00 – 6:00 pm)

  • Margaret Stetz: “Ptomaine Street: Carolyn Wells and Long-Form Parody”

Elizabeth Von Arnim Society Business Meeting (6:30-7:30 pm)

*** See you tomorrow! ***

Sunday, 18 September 2022 (all times in bold are listed in GMT)

Welcome (10:00-10:15 am)

Panel 4 (10:30 am – 12:00 pm): Post-War Humour

  • Nick Turner, “‘The Naked Seagull’: control versus absurdity in Barbara Pym’s early work”
  • Anna Szirák, “The comic modes of girlhood in Dodie Smith’s I Capture the Castle
  • Edit Galla, “Indecent Exposure: Poking fun at impostors in Stevie Smith’s poems”
  • Astyartha Das, “The disabled woman behind mischief-maker William: Examining Richmal Crompton’s comedy in Just William’s Luck (1948)”

Panel 5 (12:30-2:00 pm): Interwar Irony: Part II

  • Tom Zille, “Austenian Irony in Women’s Fiction of the Interwar Years”
  • Mario Valori, “Chimney’s a Fine and Private Play”
  • Frances Myatt, “A Woman’s Work: Funny Feminism in Dorothy L. Sayers’ Love All
  • Juliane Roemhild, “E.M. Delafield”

Panel 6 (2:30-4:00 pm):  Laughter on stage and screen

  • Zsófia Anna Tóth, “Mae West and ‘Charged Humour’”
  • Sue Kennedy, “Anita Loos’ Gentlemen Prefer Blondes: The Illuminating Diary of a Professional Lady (1925): ‘The Great American Novel’ or ‘a frivolous exercise written for  a female audience’?”
  • Brad Bigelow, “Virginia Faulkner and the Limits of Wisecracking”
  • Katherine Murray,  “‘Not Like Other Girls’: Confronting the Crisis of Masculinity

Panel 7 (4:30-6:00 pm): Early Twentieth-Century Humour

  • Judith Hendra, “Beatrice Hastings’s The Maid’s Comedy
  • Agnes Strickland Pajtok, “Wit, Irony and Assimilation in Baroness Orczy’s The Scarlet Pimpernel Series”
  • Leslie de Bont, Perhaps he thinks he’s Jupiter”: May Sinclair’s parody of the patriarchal self in Mr. Waddington of Wyck (1921)

Cocktails, Coffee, and Comedy Hour Discussion (6:30-7:30 pm)