The End of the Book, 18 November 2016

How do we know when we have reached the end of a book? What do we, as readers, expect to find at the end? How have the answers to these questions evolved over time, from the classical era through to the present day?

These questions (and more) will be asked at The End of the Book, a one-day conference taking place in the Old Council Chamber, Wills Memorial Building at the University of Bristol on 18 November 2016.

Registration for the conference is free; you can register here.

Provisional Programme:

8.30-9.00: Registration

9.00-9.45: Keynote Address (Chair: Katie Brown)
Laura Jansen (Bristol), ‘Liminal Readers of the End: Classical Myth and the Open Closures of Literature in Borges’ World Poetry’

9.45-10.45: Session 1, Endings that aren’t (Chair: Laura Jansen)
Catherine Rozier (Swansea), ‘Telos, Nostos, and Succession: the Unresolved Ending of Homer’s Odyssey’
Richard Cole (Bristol), ‘Beyond the End – Metalepsis in Historical Fiction’

10.45-11.00: Tea/coffee break

11.00-12.30: Session 2, The Never-ending(s) (Chair: Jennifer Batt)
Natasha Simonova (Oxford), ‘“Volume the Last”: Seriality and the End of the 18th-century Novel’
Emmanuelle Waeckerle (UCA), ‘Reading (Story of) O: Does a Story Ever End?’
Otto (Graphic Artist), ‘Artists’ Books with Alternative Ends’

12.30-13.30: Lunch (provided)

13.30-14.30: Keynote Lecture (Chair: Richard Cole)
Kate Pullinger (Bath Spa), ‘From Book to Container: New forms, New possibilities’

14.30-14.45: Tea/coffee break

14.45-15.45: Session 3, Editorial Endings (Chair: Rhiannon Daniels)
Jennifer Rushworth (Oxford), ‘Petrarch’s Afterlife: The New Ends of Reception’
Cathy Hume (Bristol), ‘The Storie of Asneth and its Epilogue: an Elegiac Ending?’

15.45-16.00: Break

16.00-17.30: Session 4, Ending the Book? (Chair: John McTague)
Edward King (Bristol), ‘The Graphic Novel and Digital Culture in Latin America’
Michael Marcinkowski (Bath Spa), ‘Ambient Literature and the Beginning of a Ubiquitous Everything’

18.00-19.00: Reception
The conference has been organized by Rhiannon Daniels (Modern Languages), Jennifer Batt (English), Richard Cole (Classics and Ancient History) and Books at Bristol, with the support of the Institute of Greece, Rome, and the Classical Tradition (IGRCT), and the Bristol Institute for Research in the Humanities and Arts (BIRTHA). For enquiries, please contact

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