D.H. Lawrence Society of North America

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Conferences & Calls

Please contact the webmaster with info on upcoming Lawrence related conferences, panels, and calls for papers.  Your assistance is appreciated in helping to keep these notices up-to-date.  Past MLA Lawrence session paper titles are now archived on our website as well as information regarding past International Lawrence Conferences.



Conference Announcements


MLA 2025

New Orleans, LA (Jan. 9-12, 2025)


Strangers and the foreign play an important role in Lawrence’s body of work and life, whether he is coming to terms with foreign customs in his travel sketches or bringing a foreign character into the fabric of his fiction to pointed effect – the Polish Lydia Lensky in The Rainbow comes immediately to mind – or communicating with his German mother-in-law in his letters. In several of Lawrence’s poems about encounters with animals that evoke negative human emotions – a bat, for example – the speaker at first reacts negatively to the strangeness of the creature, but eventually must come to terms with its otherness. In the essay “The Reality of Peace,” Lawrence suggests that snakes represent something inside of us that we would rather not recognize. This engagement with the foreign for someone who is in many ways a quintessentially English writer is remarkable. How do we account for it? For its 2025 MLA panel in New Orleans, January 9-12, 2025, the D.H. Lawrence Society of North America invites papers from any perspective on any aspect of Lawrence’s engagement with strangeness, strangers, and the foreign in any genre, including the concept of otherness.

Abstracts of 250-300 words and a brief curriculum vitae should be sent to Ron Granofsky at 

 Deadline has been extended to March 31, 2024

It is not too late to submit an abstract!



 25-27 April 2024

Acoustic Awareness in D. H. Lawrence’s Work 

Université Paris Nanterre
Centre de Recherches Anglophones (CREA)

 “I believe in the fertility of sound” (Mirabal in The Plumed Serpent)

     Sounds partake of the fabric of life. Relatively intense, sounds are omnipresent in one’s immediate environment. But they can also reactivate memories from the past or be remembered, echoing in one’s mind or private ear. They may furthermore announce something coming, like a promise or an ominous threat. Paying special attention to the frequent evocation of sounds and noises in Lawrence’s writings, the conference will examine how he re-creates the soundscape of his times and the sounds of his characters’ environment, thus producing a resounding textual material.

     Hearing is a spatial experience: sounds deploy themselves in space where the untouchable and invisible soundwaves vibrate. We will study how Lawrence’s novels and poems literally provide spaces for vibrations, or repetitions of sounds, like for instance the drums that vibrate throughout The Plumed Serpent. But within the space and time of a novel, a poem, an essay or a letter, Lawrence also echoes the context of the period he describes – turning parts of his work into sound archives: the dissonance of booming industrialisation, the noise of urbanisation, of locomotives, engines, new machines, all these sounds convey the cultural and political atmosphere of the early 20th century. Some places are particularly resonant, like churches or cathedrals whose peculiar acoustics Lawrence repeatedly evokes and by which he foregrounds the possible metaphysical dimension of sounds.

     Sounds thus reveal the spirit of time and place, and this is made all the more conspicuous when Lawrence travels to remote areas, as in Mornings in Mexico where one hears “the sound of strangers’ voices,” or where foreign languages or even local dialect disturb or add piquancy to human interaction. In Kangaroo, Richard Somers is perturbed by the Australians’ odd tendency to reduce words to “just a sound”. Music as well, either performed with instruments or sung, plays a fundamental part in the various cultural soundscapes explored by Lawrence.

     If human beings speak noisily – and Lawrence reproduces a wide range of voices –, they are also physically noisy, beyond words: coughs, snores, hiccupping, choking throats, laughter, heart beats, sexual intercourse, bodily contact, cries, boisterous children, and all sorts of shrieks. “The moaning cry of the woman in labour” (The Rainbow) makes birth as noisy as the agony of the dying (like the “wha-a-a-ah” of Gerald’s father).

     Beyond the noises produced by human beings and their man-made civilisation, Lawrence’s oeuvre resounds with the echoes of Nature. The sea, the wind, the weather are relentlessly noisy. Animals regularly cough and neigh, or shout, their noises are set against those of machines, of human beings, or are used metaphorically to depict the noises of the latter.

     These sounds must be in part analysed as clues to Lawrence’s complex epistemological apprehension of fauna, flora, cosmos, and of the world in general. For, quite regularly in his work, “to sound” is a metonymy for the attempt to define what is not wholly graspable: “sounded as if,” “sounded like,” “it sounded impersonal”, “they sounded absorbed….” etc. Not wholly seizing the true nature of things, Lawrence relies on how things sound to get closer to a form of apprehension.

     An inquiry into the question of sound and sounds necessarily involves the issue of silence, as it is described in or reproduced by the text: the silence of Nature, of people, blanks and breaks in conversations, speechlessness, etc. How can silence be interpreted, suggested, hinted at? Does it express void, fear, loss, pain, suffocation, peacefulness, reticence? Is it natural and spontaneous or forced? If representing silence with words is somewhat ironical, for words emerge from silence and are therefore a modulation of the silence, another related paradox actually arises as soon as we take acoustics as an object of analysis in literature, since the written text is by nature silent.

     Participants are therefore invited to analyse how the text is made sonorous when read, and in the process (whether read aloud or in one’s mind) how the textual material is thus made to resonate. This will involve reflections addressing the characters’ voices and the analysis of the prosody, the rhythm, the thickness of the signifiers that produce sounds. For Lawrence makes language vibrate, by “slightly modified repetitions” (WL), by paronomasia, alliterations and assonances, by distortions or, for instance, by making regular use of onomatopoeia that plug the reader’s ear directly to the sound evoked.

We invite reflection on the following, non-exhaustive list of themes:

  • - Modern soundscape: industrial, mechanical and urban noises
  • - The sounds of Nature: the elements, animals, plants, meteorology
  • - Human noises: voices ; emotional expressions; biological sounds; sexual noises, etc.
  • - Music: instrumental and vocal music; harmony, dissonance
  • - Foreign sounds, strange noises, vernacular echoes
  • - The sounds of literary language: prosody, rhythms, noisy signifiers, onomatopoeia
  • - Noises as a mode of access to knowledge and understanding
  • - The silence of Nature, of people, of machines and of the text itself
  • - Sounds and space: vibrations, movements
  • - Sounds and time: memory, nostalgia, foreboding

A few bibliographic references:

  • Leighton, Angela. Hearing Things: The Work of Sound in Literature. Harvard University Press, 2018.
  • Murphet, Julian, Helen Groth, Penelope Hone, eds. Sounding Modernism – Rhythm and Sonic mediation in modern literature and film. Edinburgh University Press, 2017.
  • Rancière, Jacques. The Mute Speech.
  • Reid, Susan. D. H. Lawrence, Music and Modernism. Palgrave, 2019.
  • Steiner, George. Language and Silence: Essays on Language, Literature, and the Inhuman. Atheneum, 1967.
  • Snaith, Anna, ed. Sound and Literature. CUP, 2020.
  • Sterne, Jonathan, ed. The Sound Studies Reader. Routledge, 2015.

     The deadline for proposals is 10 November 2023. Priority will be given to proposals received before the deadline, but we will continue to accept proposals until 15 December 2023. Please send a 300-word abstract and a biographical note to Fiona Fleming and Elise Brault-Dreux

Organizing Committee: Fiona Fleming, Elise Brault-Dreux, Ginette Roy.

Conference Fee: 80 euros

Link to our journal Etudes Lawrenciennes


MLA 2024

Philadelphia, PA (Jan. 4-7, 2024)

Proposed Joint Panel


     In Dickens’s figures, cravings for attachment motivate the forward drive of complex relations; in Lawrence’s figures, cravings for separation are the narrative motor. How might new scrutiny of the drama of attachments and separations enrich critical analysis of Dickens and Lawrence? Along those lines, how might fresh comparative attention to those writers illuminate the period differences that rightly or wrongly separate them and their professional critics too? Those questions are made more relevant by current interest in attachment theory as it affects ordinary life and ideas of well-being. Moreover, attachment theory plays a major part in attempts to define the nature of literature and of readers’ responses to artworks. To explore all the phenomena at issue – formalist, psychological, aesthetic – we are proposing a joint panel that will formulate Dickensian and Lawrentian contributions to attachment theory, and attachment theory’s possible contributions to Dickens and Lawrence studies. Papers dealing with both authors are especially welcome. Abstracts of 250-300 words and a brief curriculum vitae should be sent to Robert L. Caserio at by Sunday, March 19, 2023.


MLA 2024

Philadelphia, PA (Jan. 4-7, 2024)


     In his essay “The Novel and the Feelings,” Lawrence laments the fact that, in his belief, “we are hopelessly uneducated in ourselves” and that in “the dark continent of my self, I have a whole stormy chaos of ‘feelings’” (STH 201-02). His suggestion is for the reader to listen in to “the low, calling cries” of characters in novels “as they wander in the dark woods of their destiny” (STH 205). Clearly, Lawrence was highly interested in exploring human emotions and in exploring his own often volatile feelings. He does that with great skill and intensity in much of his writing of whatever genre. For its 2024 MLA panel in Philadelphia, January 4-7, 2024, the D.H. Lawrence Society of North America invites papers from any theoretical perspective, including affect theory, on any aspect of Lawrence’s engagement with emotions. Abstracts of 250-300 words and a brief curriculum vitae should be sent to Ron Granofsky at by Sunday, March 19, 2023.