Oerlemans Presents Paper at Conference in Switzerland
August 22, 2012
Professor of English Onno Oerlemans delivered a paper titled "The Inhuman Voice: Birdsong in the Romantic Lyric" at the annual conference of the North American Society for the Study of Romanticism, Aug. 15-19. The conference, on "Romantic Prospects," was co-organized with the University of Zurich and the University of Neuchatel, and was held in Neuchatel, Switzerland, in part to celebrate the tercentenary of Jean-Jacque Rousseau's birth.
Oerlemans' paper explored some of the ways that Romantic-period poets (such as Coleridge, Keats, and Clare) responded to the actual complexities of birdsong, particularly the complex singing of the nightingale. He argued that understanding something about the actual songs of birds helps one to see how it could become such a powerful and surprising symbol for poetry itself.