CFP: Reimagining Beauty and the Beast

One-day Interdisciplinary Conference
University of Bristol – 7th September 2016

Keynote speakers: 

  • Dr. Amy Davis, University of Hull
  • Prof. James Williams, Royal Holloway University of London

Since myths can be made to mean an indefinite number of things, it is more fruitful to study what in fact myths have been made to mean.” Northrop Frye (1957)

Beauty and the Beast seems to possess a perennial fascination, having persisted in various forms for somewhere between 2500 and 6000 years (da Silva and Tehrani 2016) even before Gabrielle de Villeneuve published her famous version in 1740. It has held a particular attraction for makers of cinema and television: more than fifteen audio-visual adaptations have been produced since Jean Cocteau’s 1946 film. 2016 seems an appropriate time in which to reflect on the tale’s continuing resonance, given that this year is both the 70th anniversary of Cocteau’s version and the 25th anniversary of Disney’s much-loved take on the story; a new (live-action) Beauty and the Beast is scheduled for release by Disney in 2017.

For this one-day interdisciplinary conference, we are inviting proposals for twenty-minute papers or video essays not only on any aspect of any version(s) or rendering(s) of the tale – whether in cinema, literature or other media – but also on the pairing of “beauty” with “beast” in the widest possible sense. One of the virtues of myth is its inexhaustible applicability, so we are particularly interested in proposals that discover Beauties and Beasts in places we had not thought to look for them. We warmly encourage proposals from interested postgraduate and professional researchers working across the arts and humanities.

Topics may include, but are not limited to:

  • Studies of particular retellings or adaptations of the story (in literature, film, television, theatre, etc.)
  • The history of the tale (social, textual, material, etc.)
  • Beauty and the Beast as a motif reworked throughout the arts (music, painting, etc.)
  • Beauty and the Beast online (social media, fan fiction, memes, cosplay, etc.)
  • Gendering and/or queering Beauty and the Beast
  • Global and/or national perspectives on Beauty and the Beast
  • Critical reception and/or legacy
  • Beauty and the Beast as a tool for thought
  • Discovering Beauty and the Beast in unexpected places

Speakers are invited to submit abstracts of 250 words in English, accompanied by a brief biography (100 words) to [email protected] by 15th June 2016.

The conference is being organized by: 

  • Eve Benhamou (University of Bristol)
  • Miguel Gaggiotti (University of Bristol)
  • Dominic Lash (University of Bristol)
  • Steven Roberts (University of Bristol)