This one-day postgraduate conference aimed to revisit the Sadeian debates first established in the 1980s, and to investigate how these ideas were relevant to contemporary society.

Graduate Centre blocks thin

‌The Revisiting the Sadeian Woman conference was held on Friday 11 April 2014 in the wonderful surroundings of Singleton Abbey, Swansea University.

This international postgraduate event aimed to discuss the relevance of Angela Carter’s 1979 polemic The Sadeian Woman in today’s society by offering new readings of this text and examining how applicable it is to contemporary discussions of pornography and power.

Dr Sarah Gamble with Dr Cleide Rapucci and Dr Marie Mulvey-Roberts, The event provided a friendly and supportive space to share research on these ideas, and the range of papers that comprised the conference – spanning from re-readings of The Sadeian Woman to discussions of (porno)graphic novels drawn and written by women – more than fulfilled the day’s objectives. As well as a number of papers on Carter and the notorious Marquis de Sade, which generated pertinent questions on Sadeian men as opposed to Sadeian women and the multi-faceted nature of inequalities discussed in The Sadeian Woman, Carter’s impact on more contemporary female authors was a prominent topic. Sarah Hall’s The Beautiful Indifference and Charlotte’s Roche’s Wetlands were the focus of the last conference paper of the day before Dr Claire O’Callaghan’s keynote speech, ‘Sadeian Daughter: Pornography, the Sex Wars and Sarah Waters’s Fingersmith’.

The papers and keynote talk, combined with the Q&A session with Lilly Laudanum, a burlesque dancer from The Bluestocking Lounge in Swansea (, provided diverse perspectives on the contemporaneity of Carter’s The Sadeian Woman and discussions of female sexuality. It may have been 35 years since Carter’s essay was published, but the conference illustrated that it is nevertheless worthy of discussion, and remains ripe for revisiting further.

Sadeian Woman conference 2‌The conference was supported by the Research Institute for Arts and Humanities (RIAH) and GENCAS, Swansea University.  

Conference organisers:  Helen Snaith and Heidi Yeandle, Department of English Language and Literature, Swansea University.


Image l-r:  Dr Sarah Gamble (Swansea University) with Dr Cleide Rapucci and Dr Marie Mulvey-Roberts.