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TERN2023 Epistolary Times / Time in Letters 6-7 October 2023 (online symposium)

TERN2023 Epistolary Times / Time in Letters

6-7 October 2023 (online symposium)

The clock is ticking. Schedules, delays, deadlines, queues worry our lives. Letters are often considered in terms of space and geographical distance. In 2023, TERN proposes to revisit themes surrounding temporality, be it in reference to material form or technology, delivery, calendar time or epistolary contents and conventions.

Has a delayed letter ever changed a historical event? How do letter writers, consciously or unconsciously, use specific epistolary tenses to collapse or manipulate time, and for what reasons? Why are letters dated to one time period embedded in other dated media like newspapers, manuals or scrapbooks? What of the future of this form of writing? As correspondence is a particularly rich source for women’s history, we welcome papers involving female letter senders, addressees or female-authored epistolary collections addressing this year’s theme.

TERN welcomes 250-word maximum proposals for 20-minute papers concerning any geographical location, discipline or historical period. Papers should approach the topic of time in letters in innovative ways that will impact our understanding of this important written form and the societies that have produced it. Please send submissions to by midnight (BST) on 5th May 2023. The conference language is English. Publication of selected papers will be arranged following the conference.

For full CFP, please see our website: