Vernon Lee 2019: An Anniversary Conference

Vernon Lee (née Violet Paget, 1856-1935) was born in Chateau St Léonard, near Boulogne-sur-Mer and lived in France, Germany and Switzerland before settling in Italy in 1873. Lee moved into her final home, Villa Il Palmerino in Maiano, in 1889. ‘Vernon Lee 2019’, an international conference organised by the University of Surrey and the University of Oxford in collaboration with the British Institute of Florence and the Associazione Culturale Il Palmerino, marks the centenary of Vernon Lee’s return to her Italian home after her enforced exile during WW1. Lee first emerged as a significant writer in the late nineteenth century, and is best known for her travel writing and supernatural fiction, both of which reflect her love of Italy as well as Italian history and art. As the new century dawned, she became politically active. In the years leading up to WW1, she produced pacifist articles for the periodical press and an important anti-war morality play, The Ballet of the Nations (1915). In her later years she also became an active supporter of campaigns to save Florence’s historic buildings. The conference will be accompanied by an exhibition of Vernon Lee books from her library at the British Institute, and by a special performance of The Ballet of the Nations to be held at Villa Il Palmerino. For more information about ‘Vernon Lee 2019: An Anniversary Conference’, please see: