Melville and Whitman in Washington:
The Civil War Years and After
History • Politics • Nation • Memory
The Ninth International Melville Conference
Washington , DC • June 4-7, 2013
8:30 a.m., June 4, to 1 p.m., June 7
Abraham Lincoln's 1861 Inauguration
Library of Congress - Civil War photos - Item 96511712
Featured Plenary Speakers
Ken Price (University of Nebraska-Lincoln), Ed Folsom (University of Iowa),
Elizabeth Renker (Ohio State University), and John Bryant (Hofstra University)
The Melville Society’s ninth international conference—to be held June 4-7, 2013, in Washington, DC—features the Civil War writings of two of the major poets of the nineteenth century: Walt Whitman and Herman Melville. Sponsored by the Melville Society, the Washington Friends of Walt Whitman, the Mickle Street Review http://micklestreet.rutgers.edu/) at Rutgers University-Camden, and the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences at George Washington University, the conference is timed to coincide with the Sesquicentennial of the war and a rich array of museum exhibits, artistic performances, and commemorative activities in and around the nation’s capital. The conference will be held on the campus of George Washington University and the Arts Club of Washington, just blocks from the White House, Corcoran Gallery, National Portrait Gallery/Museum of American Art, Ford’s Theater, and other museums and historical sites in downtown DC. More than one hundred scholars from the United States and many other countries—from Europe, the Middle East, and Asia—will be speaking, presenting papers, and participating on panels on a host of topics related to Whitman’s and Melville’s writing about the Civil War and its aftermath. Additional conference-sponsored activities will include guided tours of special collections at the Library of Congress and the Folger Shakespeare Library; walking tours of Civil War Washington and Walt Whitman’s Washington; an exhibit of Melville- and Whitman-inspired art by contemporary artists; and a choral performance of Whitman’s and Melville’s poetry.
Kenneth M. Price is Hillegass University Professor of American literature and co-director of the Center for Digital Research in the Humanities at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He is the author of Whitman and Tradition: The Poet in His Century (1990); To Walt Whitman, America (2004); and co-author with Ed Folsom of Re-Scripting Walt Whitman: An Introduction to His Life and Work (2005). His most recent book is Literary Studies in the Digital Age: An Evolving Anthology, ed. with Ray Siemens (2013). He co-directs The Walt Whitman Archive and Civil War Washington.
Ed Folsom is the editor of the Walt Whitman Quarterly Review, co-director of the Walt Whitman Archive, and editor of the Whitman Series at The University of Iowa Press. The Roy J. Carver Professor of English at The University of Iowa, he is the author or editor of twelve books, including Walt Whitman’s Native Representations (1994) and (with Kenneth M. Price) Re-Scripting Walt Whitman (2005). He was featured in the 2008 PBS American Experience film documentary about Whitman, and is now working on a biography of Leaves of Grass, for which he was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship.
Elizabeth Renker is a specialist in American poetry to 1910 and the social life of poetry across classes, cultures, and literacies; she has published widely on American poetics, Melville, American women poets, and the teaching of poetry. She is the author of Strike Through the Mask: Herman Melville and the Scene of Writing (1996) and The Origins of American Literature Studies: An Institutional History (2007). Professor of English at Ohio State University, she is the recipient of many awards for distinguished teaching, including a Princeton Review citation in 2012.
John Bryant serves as the editor of the Melville Society’s Leviathan: A Journal of Melville Studies and the Melville Electronic Library, an NEH-funded editorial project at Hofstra University, where he is Professor of English. A specialist in nineteenth-century American literature and culture, he is editor of A Companion to Melville Studies (1986), co-editor of the Longman edition of Moby-Dick (2007), and author of The Fluid Text: A Theory of Revision and Editing for Book and Screen (2002) and Melville Unfolding: Sexuality, Politics, and the Versions of Typee (2008).
Click here to view the Conference Program or click link below to download a printable copy of the program.
Directions to Conference Venues: The Marvin Center, on the campus of George Washington University, where the conference panels and keynote presentations are scheduled, is located at 800 21st Street, NW, Washington, DC. The Arts Club of Washington, site of Thursday’s dinner and choral performance, is two blocks away at 2017 I Street, NW. Both sites are close to the Foggy Bottom/GWU Metro stop (Blue and Orange Lines) on the corner of 23rd and I Streets, NW, and within easy walking distance of the Farragut North Metro stop (Red Line), corner of K St. and Connecticut Ave., NW. For those making travel arrangements by air: the Foggy Bottom/GWU Metro stop is on the same Metro Blue Line as Washington (Reagan) National Airport, six stops away.
Conference fees: $180 (if paid before May 5; $200 if paid after May 5th) covers admission to all presentations, panels, and keynote addresses; and all local walking tours and library tours (library tours are limited and require sign-up).
Payment: To make your registration payment ($180), please use the Registration Paypal button to the right on this page or submit a check in USD to: Treasurer Tony McGowan, Department of English and Philosophy, Bldg. 607 Cullum Road, West Point, NY 10996.
Banquet: Those who wish to attend the 6:30 p.m. banquet dinner on Thursday, June 6th, are asked to indicate their interest on the Registration Form (download link below) and pay the additional $52 charge per person using the Banquet Paypal button to the right on this page ($52) or send a separate check for $52 to the Melville Society’s Treasurer, Tony McGowan at the address above under “Payment.”
Accommodations: Various hotel options, at reduced conference rates, are available in the Foggy Bottom neighborhood and within a few blocks of George Washington University, through the following hotel service:
The George Washington University Inn (single or double occupancy): To obtain a guaranteed reservation at the contracted rate ($239 plus occupancy tax; additional person charge of $20 each), call the George Washington University Inn Reservations Department with a valid credit card number before April 18, 2013.
Call either (800) 426-4455 or (202) 337-6630 and ask for Reservations Office. Then ask the agent for “Group Name: Melville Society and/or Booking ID: 376451 arriving on Tuesday, June 4, 2013.”
Alternatively, you can register for a room online by clicking here.
IMPORTANT: Note that rooms will be held only until April 18, 2013. After that date, any unreserved rooms will be released for general sale in the open market, and you will have to pay the going market rate or secure a hotel room on your own.
As an alternative, you may want to conduct your own search for a hotel room (presumably one in Northwest Washington, DC, or nearby Rosslyn, Virginia, and near a Metro stop on the Blue, Orange, or Red Lines of the subway) through Priceline. (Rosslyn, Virginia, is just one stop away from the George Washington University.)
Register Now: Although we prefer payment online through the Paypal links provided in the right sidebar of this page, we will also accept your check made out to The Melville Society and sent to our Treasurer Tony McGowan, Department of English and Philosophy, Bldg. 607 Cullum Road, West Point, NY 10996. Please indicate “Washington Conference” on your memo line. For registration information, contact Tony at
or Christopher Sten at
For further information and updates: Check the Melville Society website or contact one of the conference coordinators:
Click here to join us at the Melville & Whitman in Washington Facebook page.