One-Day Symposium - Veiled Cities: Flanders and the Urban Imaginary around 1900
The imagined Flemish city was the antithesis of the teeming metropolis of modernist invention, it was a world of enclosed gardens, silent squares and still waters, where nameless figures disappeared through secret doors; a world of reflections and glimpses, in which gothic traceries, convent grills and lace veils concealed as much as they revealed. This was also an uncanny world, offering portals to the Catholic realm of miracles, the glorious Flemish medieval past, and the city of the dead. Here social realist concern for the lives of the poor combined with the spiritual yearning of the fin-de-siècle. This vision of the city inspired artists and writers, but it also influenced urban planners and social campaigners, who looked forward by looking back to craft guilds, enclosed communities and urban autonomy.

The symposium is organized by David Hopkin (Oxford) and Juliet Simpson (Coventry), and supported by the John Fell Fund.
It is free to attend and all are welcome, but please contact David Hopkin by 3 October at or 01865 279459 if you plan to attend, or if you would like further information.

09:15-09:30 Welcome
Marnix Beyen (Antwerp): Reverberating Silence: The Carillon as a Multisensorial Symbol of Flemish/Belgian Urbanity
Juliet Simpson (Coventry): Liminal Legends: Rematerializing Another Flanders in Life and Art
11:00-11:15 Break
Maria Golovteeva (St Andrews): Dentelle de Bruges
David Hopkin (Oxford): A ‘Dying Art’ and the Flemish Movement: The Example of Mechelen Lace
12:45-13:45 Lunch
Dominique Bauer (KU Leuven): ‘Dès que nous exprimons quelque chose’: Time, Surface and Interiority in Belgian Fin-de-Siècle Culture
Stijn Paredis (KU Leuven) Le Secret Schumannien: Schumann, Music, and Brussels’ Symbolism
15:15-15:30 Break
Hans Vandevoorde (VU Brussel): Small Cities in and as Prose Poems in Flemish Dutch Literature
Claire Moran (QU Belfast): Behind the Nets. Veiled Windows and Modernist Ideologies in Fin-de-Siècle Belgian Art and Literature
Date: 7 October 2022, 9:15 (Friday, 0th week, Michaelmas 2022)
Venue: Maison Française d’Oxford, 2-10 Norham Rd, Oxford OX2 6SE
Speakers: Dominique Bauer (Leuven), Marnix Beyen (Antwerp), Maria Golovteeva (St Andrews), David Hopkin (Oxford), Claire Moran (Belfast), Stijn Paredis (Leuven), Juliet Simpson (Coventry), Hans Vandevoorde (Brussels)
Organiser contact email address:
Booking required?: Required
Booking email:
Audience: Members of the University only
Editors: Laura Spence, Belinda Clark