A great day of presentations

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Facing the beautiful Kyoto Imperial Palace Park outside the window, many conference attendees display scholarly books and journals related to Poe and Hawthorne studies. Photo credit: Yu Kominami

Just one day into paper presentations, and we’ve talked about everything from the Gothic to national identity, from Poe and cosmogony to Hawthorne and natural landscapes. Over a very nice obento lunch, in the panel Q&A sessions, and even in the common area near our scholarly book display table, there have already been many engaging and thought-provoking discussions.

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Tatsumi delivers the plenary talk, “In Pym’s Footsteps: Poe, Ooka, and Ballard.” Photo credit: Yu Kominami

Takayuki Tatsumi delivered the enlightening plenary talk, “In Pym’s Footsteps: Poe, Ooka, and Ballard.” Tatsumi discussed the influence of Poe’s The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym on twentieth-century writers Shohei Ooka and J.G. Ballard, as well as the potential for literary depictions of cannibalism to subvert conventions of social acceptability.

And as mentioned before, we are greatly indebted to the kindness of donors Susan Tane and Sam Coale, whose sponsorship has made it possible for many attendees to travel to Kyoto and share their contributions to Poe and Hawthorne studies. Pictured below are many of these scholars.

With the conference still just starting, we’re looking forward to a couple more days as thought-stimulating as this one!

Opening reception was a great start to the conference!

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Members of the koto ensemble perform at the opening reception. Photo credit: Kyosuke Ogawa

We’ve made it to Kyoto, and although many of us have traveled a long way and are still pushing through jet lag, it was a lively opening reception with both old friends and new meeting up, and a lot of stimulating conversation in both cases.

Conference organizers Sandra Hughes and Masahiko Narita opened proceedings, thanking attendees for their participation recognizing top donors Susan Tane and Sam Coale for helping make the conference possible.

Throughout the reception, a koto ensemble made up of Motoko Aimto, Sachiko Nakatani, Sachie Niki, Miyuki Hara, and Yukari Masaki entertained us with traditional Japanese music, as well as koto renditions of Western classical and popular tunes. Towards the end of the reception, the members kindly offered mini-lessons, allowing attendees the opportunity to play the instruments. (Audio and video will be posted later this weekend.) Our deepest thanks go to Stephan Loewentheil for sponsoring the reception and reception music!

After a lovely reception, we’re looking forward to the conference’s first full day of presentations tomorrow!

The conference is only one week away!

Greetings, Poe and Hawthorne scholars!

The International Poe and Hawthorne Conference is only about a week away. If you are attending, we look forward to seeing you in Kyoto. If you are not able to travel to the conference but would like to follow the proceedings, we will be posting daily highlights from the conference in the form of notes, photographs, and potentially some limited audio and/or video recordings.

You can follow these updates here on the official conference website by simply navigating to the site, poeandhawthorneconference.com. You can also follow written updates on the Nathaniel Hawthorne Society Facebook page, where we will post our daily notes during the conference.

Additionally, conference attendees, if you are planning to post on social media during the conference, we’d love to be able to see and share your posts, too! To make it easier for the Poe and Hawthorne studies communities to participate in this conversation, we’d ask you to please use the hashtag #PoeHawthorne18 when posting about the conference.

Feel free to direct any conference media questions to Conor Scruton at conorjscruton@gmail.com. We’re looking forward to seeing everyone, both in person and online!

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