top of page

Future Conferences

In March 1923, D.H. Lawrence arrived in Mexico City; two months later, he wrote from Lake Chapala to his mother-in-law: “I always had the idea of writing a novel here in America. In the U.S. I could do nothing. But I think here it will go well.”  The novel in question was The Plumed Serpent, in which Lawrence grapples with various emotions concerning the difficulty of a functional blending of multiple cultures – here, white European and North American people with indigenous Mexicans and those of European descent.  The results are notoriously mixed and problematic.  The Mexico that Lawrence visited and about which he wrote was post-revolutionary, a nation concentrating on reestablishing its economic ties with the U.S. as well as Britain, France, and Germany.  This convulsive period of Mexico’s history also saw appeals to democratization, social rights, and the value of a pre-Hispanic past and of native cultures. Lawrence witnessed the strong ambivalence, contrasts, and contradictions of this panorama, but he often misunderstood and misrepresented what he saw.  It is this latter reality – the problems inherent in intercultural representation and the pervasiveness of these issues from Lawrence’s time to our own, and their lasting impact on literary criticism and translation – that lie at the core of the theme for the proposed 16th International D. H. Lawrence Conference in Mexico City.

As international Lawrence scholars come together in Mexico City in August 2025, we expect to engage with these topics from many angles and in many of Lawrence’s works.  Lawrence and Mexico, and Lawrence and the Americas, may be principal foci of the conference, but Lawrence scholars with a range of interests are welcome to participate and engage with the conference theme from vantages relevant to their own work.  Suggested topics for papers include the following: 

  • What new ways of imagining and representing the world or its inhabitants were stimulated by Lawrence’s visits to Mexico?

  • How did Lawrence represent Mexico and Mexican people in his writings?  How did visiting Mexico affect the way Lawrence represented non-Mexican people?

  • What sorts of cross-cultural encounters did Lawrence stage?

  • What sorts of misrepresentation or distortion ensued?  Are such distortions inherently indefensible, or are they necessary in some way?

  • What impact does Mexico have on Lawrence’s stylistic and formal choices?

  • How does Lawrence approach translation – linguistic, or social, cultural, aesthetic?

  • How does translation considered as a metaphor suggest new readings of Lawrence?

  • How do translators approach Lawrence? 

  • How do translations of Lawrence into Spanish or any other language reshape the author’s writings and/or image?

  • How do adaptations of Lawrence writings onto film or television screens affect the way he is read and understood?

  • Does the theme of Lawrence in Mexico enhance or obstruct the idea of Lawrence as a world writer or global modernist?

Send an abstract in English or Spanish of 250-300 words to Prof. Adam Parkes (University of Georgia, USA) at  Deadline: June 15, 2024.  Abstracts will be reviewed by an international academic program committee; results will be communicated by the end of July.

DHLSNA Organizing Committee: Julianne Newmark, Ben Hagen, Emma Julieta Barreiro, and Adam Parkes








DHLSNA-IVWS Joint Session. We invite 300-word proposals on D.H. Lawrence and Virginia Woolf that focus on some aspect of the visual in their work(s). We also encourage papers related to Presidential Theme (visibility).

Deadline for submissions: Friday, 8 March 2024.

Send abstracts to: Benjamin Hagen (


The Presidential Theme for the 2025 MLA Convention—Visibility—is the occasion for this joint session on D.H. Lawrence and Virginia Woolf, two modernist authors who never met, who are rarely considered together, but whose biographical and literary networks overlap and resonate in significant and exciting ways. Though their styles and politics (and tastes!) may differ dramatically, their writings nonetheless resonate when it comes to questions of visuality as well as the visible and invisible. From the diagnostic imperatives that encourage Septimus Smith to "Look!" (Mrs. Dalloway) to intense glances shared between lovers and friends/enemies in Women in Love and Lady Chatterley's Lover, from blind(ed) characters to vibrant descriptions of landscapes, from ethological attentiveness to what human and animal bodies do to comments on visual arts and cinema, from visual traces of ecological devastation to the dynamics of synesthetic experience—Woolf and Lawrence’s respective investments and involvements in modernist cultures, problems, theories, and aesthetics of visuality offer scholars and readers much to research, explore, and critique. Note: We encourage papers that address both Woolf and Lawrence but are open to papers that focus on one or the other. (When constructing the panel, however, a balance across papers will be a priority.)

The DHLSNA welcomes abstracts on approaches to the theme of "Lawrence & Ecology." Papers may address any "ecological" aspect of D.H. Lawrence's fiction, poetry, essays, travels, and place in the wider discourses on modernism and/or ecology. We are especially interested in papers that address Lawrence's work in the contexts of the Anthropocene, human/animal difference, resource extraction, theories of relation or interconnection, new formalisms, the history of science, and new materialism.

Please email abstracts of 200-300 words (plus a short bio of 100 words) by 30 March 2024 to Benjamin Hagen, Associate Professor of English at the University of South Dakota and Vice President of the DHLSNA ( Notices of acceptance will be sent by 2 April 2024.

There is no conference fee, but DHLSNA membership is required for presenters ($10 USD student rate).

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.


 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

Lawrence in México: Travel, Translation, and Transcultural Representation 

Universidad Nacional Autonóma de México (UNAM), Mexico City, August 11-15, 2025

Modern Language Association Meeting, New Orleans, LA (Jan. 9 - 12, 2025)
D.H. Lawrence, Virginia Woolf, and Visuality (Possible Joint Session) 


Saturday, 18 May 2024 (via Zoom)

Sponsored by the D.H. Lawrence Society of North America

bottom of page