Consolation in contemporary British and postcolonial literatures

Consolation in contemporary British and postcolonial literatures

06 Thursday
From Thu, 06/04/2023 to Fri, 07/04/2023



In a contemporary era defined as an age of crisis, the notion of consolation has gained cultural visibility as a response to collective suffering, even more so in the wake of the COVID-19 global pandemic. While the notion was once dismissed as a mere diversion, distraction or sugarcoating of pain imbued with religious connotations, its identification as a “critical instrument” (Foessel 23) has led to a flurry of publications on the topic in recent years, notably by philosopher Michaël Foessel (Le Temps de la consolation, 2015), literary critics David James (Discrepant Solace, 2019) and Jürgen Pieters (Literature and Consolation: Fictions of Comfort, 2021), essayists Anne-Dauphine Julliand (Consolation, 2020) and Michael Ignatieff (On Consolation: Finding Solace in Dark Times, 2021) or psychiatrist Christophe André (Consolations, 2022).

The aim of our conference is to theorise, contextualise and exemplify consolation (its forms, limits and aporias) as a “critical tool” in contemporary British and postcolonial literatures.

The keynote speaker, Professor David James, will deliver a lecture entitled “Whose Consolation? Medical Writing and the Caregiver’s Gain” on 6th April at 4:15 p.m.

The guest writer, Salena Godden, will give a reading and will take part in a discussion on 6th April at 5:30 p.m.

Entrance free to all.

  • 6th April: Maison internationale des langues et des cultures (MILC)
  • 7th April: Descartes Auditorium, ENS de Lyon


  • Keynote speaker: Professor David James (University of Birmingham)
  • Guest writer: Salena Godden