1890s: The Belgian and Czech Decadent Novels between Gothicization and Colonialism

Guest lecture by Petra James to discuss paper "1890s: The Belgian and Czech Decadent Novels between Gothicization and Colonialism", an analysis of Bruges la Morte (1892) by Georges Rodenbach and A Gothic Soul (1900) by Jiří Karásek ze Lvovic.

1890s: The Belgian and Czech Decadent Novels between Gothicization and Colonialism

Fernand Khnopff: Book Cover Design for "Bruges-la-Morte" by Georges Rodenbach. Public Domain.

Wednesday, May 29, 2024
3:30 PM - 5:30 PM

Kaplan Hall, Rm 311



The Department of Slavic, East European & Eurasian Languages & Cultures, in co-sponsorship with the Department of Comparative Literature, the Center for European and Russian Studies, and the Consulate General of the Czech Republic in Los Angeles, is pleased to announce a guest lecture by Petra James discussing her paper 1890s: The Belgian and Czech Decadent Novels between Gothicization and Colonialism. Bruges la Morte (1892) by Georges Rodenbach and A Gothic Soul (1900) by Jiří Karásek ze Lvovic. The lecture will take place in Kaplan Hall 311 on Wednesday, May 29th, 2024 from 3:30-5:30pm. Light refreshments will be provided.

About the Paper

The paper analyses these two key decadent novels as tools for Czech and Belgian national self-determination through the aesthetic process of Gothicization. The “Gothic” trope assumes a socio-political function as the emblem of cultural reappraisal for both Czechs and Belgians, whose national revival of the 19th century was based on a return to a medieval Gothic past, idealized as a period with a high national symbolic value, prefiguring foreign influences. Gothicization is interpreted not only as a process of nation-building but also as a means of obscuring the colonial nature of Belgium of the symbolist modern period and the Czech ambiguous relationship to the exotic Other, often depicted in dehumanizing and misogynist ways. The lecture is based on a chapter from the speaker’s current book project, Between the Lands of Rubens and of Kafka: Modernism Beyond Metropolis in Belgium and Bohemia.

About the Speaker

Petra James is a tenured professor in the Department of Languages and Literatures, Faculty of Letters, Translation and Communication (LTC), Université libre de Bruxelles in Belgium (ULB), and Chair of Czech Studies at ULB (since 2011). She is also the director of the research center MODERNITAS at Maison des Sciences Humaines, ULB, focusing on interdisciplinary research of modernism and avant-garde. Petra James obtained her PhD in Comparative Literature and Slavic Studies from the Université Paris-Sorbonne in 2009. She is one of the four editors-in-chief of the encyclopedic project Cultural History of Central European Avant-Gardes (Brill, in progress), which aims to fundamentally rethink the comparative history of the European avant-garde while focusing on the context of Central Europe. She was a Plumer Visting Research Fellow at SaintAnne’s College, University of Oxford, and resident at the Maison française d’Oxford (2023) and is currently a visiting professor at UC Berkeley (Spring 2024).

Venue

Kaplan Hall Room 311
415 Portola Plaza
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1451

Parking

Parking Structure 4 offers Pay-By-Space Visitor Parking. Please visit UCLA Visitor Parking for more information regarding rates, accessibility, and a parking map.


Related Document: 5-29-24-Petra-James-flyer-sb-2tq.pdf

Sponsor(s): Center for European and Russian Studies, Department of Slavic, East European & Eurasian Languages & Cultures, Department of Comparative Literature, Consulate General of the Czech Republic in Los Angeles