Monday, 12 December 2011

Calls for papers: a weekly roundup

Contested Views: Visual Culture and the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars 19-20 July 2012

A two-day conference to be hosted by Tate Britain, Millbank, London SW1P 4RG

Confirmed Plenary Speakers: Mary Favret, Gillian Russell, Susan Siegfried, Paul White

image - GoyaIn July 2012, in advance of commemoration of the bicentenary of the Battle of Waterloo, Tate Britain is to host a two-day conference exploring the impact of the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars on world-wide visual culture, from the outbreak of the pan-European conflict with France in 1792 to the present day. Centred on themed panels, plenary lectures and workshops, this cross-disciplinary conference will promote knowledge and understanding of the range of ways in which the ‘First Total War’ has been mediated in visual cultures, not only in Britain and continental Europe but throughout the world.

The organisers are keen to receive proposals for papers that present new research and/or methodological approaches. In particular they encourage proposals from scholars from different disciplines who wish to work in collaboration with each other. More information, including a list of suggested topics, can be found here.

Please send abstracts of 250 words to Phil Shaw ( by Friday 16 December 2011.

Citizens of the World Conference: Adapting (in) the Eighteenth Century 22-24 June 2012

Co-sponsored by the South Central Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies
and The Centre for Liberal Arts and Social Sciences and The Division of English at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.

In a rapidly globalizing and technophilic world adapting to new developments is a daily undertaking—increasingly, we are aliens in our own lives. How quickly and effectively can we adapt to innovations in technology, historical knowledge, cultural relations, and academic and economic practices? In honor of Oliver Goldsmith’s fictional Chinese traveler, Lien Chi, and in the spirit of cross-cultural collaboration, the South Central Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies (SCSECS) is partnering with the Centre for Liberal Arts and Social Sciences (CLASS) and the Division of English at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU) to host “Citizens of the World,” an international, interdisciplinary conference dedicated to exploring the many ways in which new experiences stimulate self-reflection and adaptation as creative acts.

Abstracts of 250-500 words should be submitted by 15 January, 2012 to the chairs listed on the full CFP here OR to conference organizers at: For general inquiries regarding the conference or Singapore, please also email

British Women Writers Conference 2012 special session: "Landmarks in Nineteenth-century Natural history: Texts and Landscapes" 7-10 June 2012

Abstracts are sought for for a special session at the 2012 British Women Writers Conference in Boulder, CO, "Landmarks in Nineteenth-Century Natural History: Texts and Landscapes". Please submit 500-word abstracts to both and by January 15, stating your application to this special session.
More information on the 2012 British Women Writers Conference, including the full CFP, can be found here.

Romanticism and Secrets Conference 2 May 2012

 A half-day conference hosted by the Centre for Romantic Studies at the University of Bristol.
Plenary lecture by Dr Seamus Perry (Balliol, Oxford)

 We welcome papers that address, but are not limited to, the following topics:

- Textual secrets
- Secrets of the past (historical, political, biographical)
- Structures of concealment
- Dishonesty, deception and self-deception
- Discoveries and rediscoveries
- Repression and the secret sub-conscious
- Codes, riddles and encryptions
- Unveilings and shadowy realms
- Mystery and myth-making

Proposals (max. 250 words) are welcome from both established scholars and postgraduates, and should be sent by 30 January 2012 to the conference organisers Catherine Redford and Stacey McDowell at:

Monday, 5 December 2011

Calls for papers: a weekly roundup

Extended CFP: Taking Liberties: Sex, Pleasure, Coercion 15-17 June 2012

The deadline for abstracts has been extended until 31 December 2011Proposals of up to 300 words should be emailed to For further information see here.

Perspective and Interior Spaces in Narrative before 1850  3-6 January 2013

This guaranteed ISSN panel for the 2013 Boston MLA Convention analyzes how interior spaces (rooms, houses, halls, prisons, offices, covered markets, etc.) are presented in narrative. It particularly examines (a) perspectivism in the description of interior spaces before 1850. Were these spaces presented perspectivally (or not) before the dominance of internal focalization? If a character's perceptions do not govern representation of the space he or she enters or moves in, what does? According to Franz Stanzel, eighteenth-century novels typically present interiors aperspectivally, mentioning a space and a few objects in it, but omitting any information of how these objects are arranged within the space. Is this true of earlier narratives, including verse romances? Perspectival rendering of space makes it possible for the reader to visualize objects in the building in relation to one another, even to map the room and its contents. The panel will contribute to the discussion of the recent spatial turn in literary studies, connect with theories about the poetics of space, and contextualize concepts of perspective with reference to literature, psychology, and the visual arts.
300 word abstracts of papers on narrative texts written between the Middle Ages and 1850 are sought, discussing what type of perspective, if at all, they use and what techniques they employ to evoke interiors. Please direct proposals and brief blurb-form vitas  to Monika Fludernik and Suzanne Keen by 1 March 2012

Presenters must be members of the MLA.

DJO Conference: Charles Dickens and the Mid-Victorian Press 28-31 March 2012

In conjunction with the Victorian Studies Centre at the University of Leicester the School of Humanities is delighted to announce an international Dickens Bicentenary conference on 28-31 March 2012, featuring the launch of the Dickens Journals Online project, and an exhibition of archive materials curated by Antony Burton. Our list of invited speakers currently includes: Laurel Brake, John Drew, Louis James, Hazel Mackenzie, Robert Patten, Joanne Shattock, Michael Slater, John Sutherland, John Tulloch, Cathy Waters, Tony Williams, and Ben Winyard.

Household Words and All the Year Round are key mid-century weekly journals, showcasing the work of over 350 contributors as well as that of their illustrious founder and ‘Conductor.’ Critical analysis of their contents is an increasingly diverse and dynamic field, soon to be assisted by an open-access scholarly online edition based at the University of Buckingham. To celebrate the Bicentenary of Dickens’s birth, and the public launch of the website, you are warmly invited to an international conference that aims to position Household Words and All the Year Round within the broader context of nineteenth-century periodical culture, through invited papers and contributions from experts in these and a range of rival publications, and website workshops.

Submissions are invited in three main areas relating to the conference theme:

original close readings of one or more articles from 
Household Words and All the Year Round, or the work of an individual contributor. Many articles in the journals―whether by Dickens, a known contributor, or anonymous―repay close scrutiny, whether approached in stylistic, rhetorical, ideological, or historical terms. Yet the published literature in the field is small, and something that the conference seeks to redress.
appraisals of the contribution made by either or both journals, more generally, to key areas of debate in the mid-Victorian press. Public health, social policy, science and technology, education, gender roles, the urban experience, imperial expansion, emigration and the law, are just some of these. Aesthetic and cultural analysis of the journals, as miscellanies, in terms of the dynamics of genre they present, or in terms of broad thematic or bibliographic concerns that the paper sets out to explore, will also be welcome.
contrastive readings of other contemporary periodical publications―whether weekly, monthly or quarterly―in relation to 
Household Words and All the Year Round, that will assist us in positioning the latter in relation to the crowded mid-century marketplace. Such publications might include Chambers’s Journal, The ExaminerPunch, Bentley’s Miscellany, the Illustrated London News, The Cornhill Magazine, as well as political and literary reviews, and ‘penny bloods.’

Submissions from graduate students and as yet unpublished scholars will be particularly welcome. 500 word proposals for 20-minute papers should be sent to by Friday 
30 December 2011.

For information on tickets and accommodation, visit

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Conference report: Monstrosity and Humanity, DeMontfort University

The conference, ‘The Monster Inside Us, The Monsters Around Us: Monstrosity and Humanity’ was held at DeMontfort University in Leicester from the 18th to the 20th of November, and offered a stimulating and friendly atmosphere to its participants. 

Monstrosity being such a wide-ranging and heterogeneous topic, the subjects of study represented during panels ranged in content from Elizabethan dramas to popular culture in the form of graphic novels and television. Panels were organized to facilitate the broad variety of material and approaches by emphasizing larger themes such as ‘The Monstrous Body’, ‘Speaking and Writing the Monstrous’, and ‘The Socially Monstrous’. Monstrosity was discussed in the capacity of characterization, as a manifestation of the uncanny, and as a socio-political tool, among many others. Highlights of the weekend which I was able to attend included: Discussion of text, paratext, and bifold discourse in the critical considerations of monstrous characters in Shakespeare’s Troilus and Cressida, Ellis’ American Psycho, and Le Fanu’s Carmilla; the evolution of villains from their conceptions to their modern adaptations in the cases of Mr. Hyde, and Professor Moriarty; and the use of a myth of a monstrous birth as part of propaganda pamphlets during the English Civil Wars. 

Keynotes were delivered by Professor David Punter (Bristol University) and Dr. Andy Mousley (DeMontfort University): the former discussed the inextricable yet unstable relationships between human, monster, and animal; the latter drew on Shakespeare to call for a rediscovery of universalism, leading to a lively debate on the use and legitimacy of humanism and universalism in a postmodern world. On the whole, the conference’s greatest strength was its versatility and openness in discussing monstrosity in all of its varying media and time periods, which made for an enjoyable and inspiring event.

The website of the conference is here.
The schedule of panels and papers can be downloaded or viewed here.

Kate Katigbak
Durham University

North East Forum in Eighteenth Century and Romantic Studies

The North East Forum in Eighteenth-Century and Romantic Studies is a monthly forum open to the staff and postgraduate students of all universities in the North East who are interested in the literature, culture, art and history of the eighteenth century and Romantic period, and includes members from Newcastle, Northumbria, Durham and Sunderland universities.

The next forum meeting takes place this Friday 2 December, from 3-5 pm in Space 4, at Culture Lab, Newcastle University.  The session is co-hosted with Newcastle’s Literature Speaker series. Culture Lab appears as no. 7 on the campus map here.

In the first hour, NENC member Helen Williams (Northumbria University) will give a paper entitled ‘“Pause on the Landing”: Digressive Experiments in Tristram Shandy and Journey around my Room’. After the break, Professor Richard Terry (Northumbria University) will talk about postscripts in eighteenth-century letters and literary works.

The forum concludes with a trip to the pub and is always a great way to meet people with similar research interests from other institutions; Friday's session in particular will be a good opportunity to hear in more detail about the research project of one of our members. We hope to see some of you there.

Monday, 28 November 2011

Calls for papers: a weekly roundup

The Coleridge Summer Conference, Cannington, Somerset 23-27 July 2012

Abstracts for the 2012 Coleridge Summer Conference are welcomed on Coleridge, the Coleridge Circle, and Romantic Writing and Culture more generally. Papers on the themes of Coleridge and Women, and Coleridge in 1812, are particularly welcome.

The Coleridge Summer Conference will have a new format for 2012—shorter and more keenly priced for these years of recession (four days and £400 including accommodation and meals). It aims, too, for a wide range of papers on the literature of Coleridge’s circle and the culture of the times, as well as on Coleridge himself. The conference will be held at the historic Clifford Hall, Cannington, among the beautiful Quantock Hills a few miles from Nether Stowey and Alfoxden. The Hall’s garden grounds will be available for all participants, and there will be walks on the Quantocks and to the sea.

The deadline for submission of abstracts, which should be no longer than 250 words, and should include the proposer’s name and contact details, is 30th December 2011. Abstracts should be sent to Bursaries will be available for postgraduates and unwaged scholars. Please state on your abstract if you would like to be considered for a bursary.

More information about the conference can be found on the Friends of Coleridge website.

Special Issue of Women’s Writing on Nineteenth-Century Australian and New Zealand Girls’ Culture

Colonial girls’ culture is receiving growing critical attention, prompting us to rethink its significance for women’s writing. The journal Women’s Writing invites original papers for a special issue dedicated to the colonial girl and her literature in nineteenth-century Australia and New Zealand. This special issue aims to create a forum for a more encompassing approach to nineteenth-century Australian and New Zealand literature, inviting comparative work on British and colonial texts, while providing new detailed insight into Australian and New Zealand girls’ literature.

Please submit papers for consideration between 4000-7000 words to Tamara S. Wagner at, by 1 September 2012. More information, including submission guidelines, can be found here.

Victorian Poetry Special Issue: Victorian Periodical Poetry 

Victorian Poetry Special Issue: 
Victorian Periodical Poetry
Spring 2014

Edited by Alison Chapman and Caley Ehnes
University of Victoria, Canada

Until recently, poetry published in Victorian periodicals was simply ignored. Dismissed as “filler”, devalued as sentimental, and denigrated as popular verse, periodical poetry languished behind serial fiction and the more respectable poems published in single-authored collections and anthologies.

But the fortunes of periodical poetry have swiftly and dramatically changed. With the consolidation of the periodical as a central component of Victorian studies, renewed attention has been given to the place of the poem in the periodical. The Victorian Poetry Spring 2014 special issue will be timely in not just offering new primary and critical material on periodical poetry, but also on reflecting what periodical poetry tells us about Victorian poetry as a whole. Central questions will include: whether and to what extent Victorian periodical poetry challenges the conventional account of Victorian poetics, prosody and genre; the relation between periodical poetry and serial fiction; and what new or revised models of poetry readership are suggested by periodical poetry. Thus, the special issue will welcome articles uncovering and assessing the importance of neglected periodical poetry, but also asking probing questions about what challenges and revisions Victorian periodicals bring to the understanding of poetry.

 Submissions of essays of 20-25 manuscript pages are sought by 30 April 2013, for publication in Victorian Poetry (Spring 2014).  Early expressions of interest and proposals of topics are also welcome; please contact the editors: and More information about the special issue and Victorian Poetry can be found here.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Reading Group Report: Romantic Correspondences

Romantic Correspondences: Myth-Making and Breaking in the Brontë letters to the Lake Poets

Led by Harriet Briggs and Beatrice Turner (Newcastle University)

Thursday, 17 November 2011, Northumbria University

Texts Discussed:

Letter from Charlotte Brontë to Robert Southey (1837)
Letter from Robert Southey to Charlotte Brontë (1837)
Letter from Branwell Brontë to William Wordsworth (1837)
Letter from Branwell Brontë to Hartley Coleridge (1840)
Letter from Charlotte Brontë to Hartley Coleridge (1840)
Poem by Hartley Coleridge, ‘He liv’d amidst th’ untrodden ways’ (1827) –a pastiche of Wordsworth’s ‘She dwelt amongst th’ untrodden ways’ (1798-9)

For the first time, the reading group was held at Northumbria University, and we were delighted to welcome members from various degree programmes. We began the session by examining what was meant by ‘Romantic correspondences’. This involved thinking about critical perceptions of a divide between the Eighteenth Century and Romanticism on the one hand, and Romanticism and the Victorian period on the other. By examining correspondence between figures from ‘different’ literary periods, we considered the complexity of these chronological divisions.

Discussion was opened with an introduction to each writer, with a view to thinking about literary inheritance. We considered how Hartley Coleridge is regarded as the quintessential ‘Romantic child’, brought up in the Lake Poets’s coterie at Keswick, and featuring in several of his father’s poems. However, Hartley struggled to live within this shadow of greatness. Whilst Hartley grew up during the Romantic period, Charlotte and Branwell Brontë were introduced to Romantic values retrospectively. We considered how Branwell sought to remake Romanticism in the 1840s, rather than embrace the Victorian innovations that characterised the novels of Charlotte, Emily and Anne. Although we were amused by Branwell’s self-projection as a Byronic hero in his letter to Wordsworth, we also thought about what this said about how Romanticism was construed in the Victoria era. Branwell’s tone is less egotistical in his letter to Hartley, and we wondered if he had learned anything from Wordsworth’s silence about how the Romantic legacy related to a different social context. This led to thoughts about how the period between the death of Byron in 1824 and the passing of the Reform Act in 1832 is often considered a literary ‘no man’s land’.

Secondly, we examined Southey’s letter to Charlotte, with its statement that literature is ‘not a career for a woman’. Nevertheless, we agreed that this is sympathetic to Charlotte’s aspirations, with Southey referring to personal experience on the difficulties of being a writer, and his memories of a radical youth. Southey was experienced in the role of a literary mentor, having dispensed similar advice to a young Shelley in 1811. This led to a discussion of how writers perceived themselves, given that terms like ‘Romantic’ and ‘the Lake Poets’, were coined retrospectively. Particularly interesting were parallels between Charlotte’s and Southey’s portrayal of ‘dosing’ unfortunate victims with Wordsworthian verse in the 1830s, and Byron’s complaint that Shelley had ‘dosed him with Wordsworth physic until sick’, when composing the Third Canto of Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage in 1816.

Finally, we thought about how these writers presented each other in poetry and prose. Hartley Coleridge’s pastiche of Wordsworth was revealing, especially in terms of highlighting the decline of the latter’s brilliance. We also considered Charlotte’s mischievous portrayal of Branwell’s poetic persona. This reflected her bitterness that it was acceptable for a man to write and not so for a woman. An interesting point was made about Charlotte’s identification with the eighteenth-century tradition, and her subversion of gender when comparing herself to Charles Grandison’s writing on ‘perfect manliness’. We concluded by thinking about what this correspondence said about patronage, celebrity and the act of sending and receiving letters. We considered it refreshing that young writers felt able to engage intellectually with their predecessors, and what this reveals about nineteenth-century literary culture. Overall, the session was very interesting, and drew attention to themes that linked our various research interests.

By Leanne Stokoe, Newcastle University.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Funding opportunity: Stephen Copley Postgraduate Research Awards

The British Association for Romantic Studies (BARS) invites postgraduates working in the area of Romantic Studies to apply for a Stephen Copley Postgraduate Research Award. The BARS Executive Committee has established the awards in order to support postgraduate research. They are intended to help fund expenses incurred through travel to libraries and archives necessary to the student's research, up to a maximum of £300. Application for the awards is competitive, and cannot be made retrospectively. Applicants must be members of BARS (to join visit the website). The names of recipients will be announced in the BARS Bulletin and Review, and successful applicants will be asked to submit a short report to the BARS Executive Committee and to acknowledge BARS in their thesis and/or any publication arising from the research trip.

Please send the following information in support of your application:

1.  Your name and institutional affiliation.
2.  The title and a short abstract or summary of your PhD project.
3.  Details of the research to be undertaken for which you need
     support, and its relation to your PhD project.
4.  Detailed costing of proposed research trip.
5.  Details of current or recent funding (AHRC award, etc.).
6.  Details of any other financial support for which you have
     applied/will apply in support of the trip.
7.  Name of supervisor/referee (with email address) to whom application
     can be made for a supporting reference on your behalf.

Applications and questions should be directed to the bursaries officer, Dr. Daniel Cook, University of Wisconsin-Madison ( The current deadline is 30 April 2012 (further details and reminders will be disseminated via the BARS mailbase).

Monday, 21 November 2011

Calls for papers: a weekly roundup

“G. B. Shaw: Back in Town”: a Shaw Conference, 20 May - 1 June 2012

“G. B. Shaw: Back in Town,” a Shaw Conference at University College Dublin in Dublin, Ireland is  co-sponsored by University College Dublin & the International Shaw Society.
This conference is focused on Shaw’s return to Dublin, so to speak, to revisit his Irish identity, and papers discussing his Irish qualities, interrelationships with other Irish, and contributions to Ireland would be welcomed, along with testimony to his stature in and influence on world drama, and other topics as well.

Papers (maximum of twenty minutes per talk) may be written from any critical perspective. Abstracts of approximately 300 words should be submitted to for consideration, along with a c.v and brief letter of introduction, by 27 January 2012.

To apply for travel grant applications and for more information about the conference, please see the Shaw Society website here.

VISAWUS 2012 - Victorian Transnationalism: The Atlantic Legacy in the Long 19th Century, 11-13 October 2012

The Victorian Interdisciplinary Studies Association of the Western United States (VISAWUS) announces its 17th annual conference to be held 11-13 October 2012  on the campus of SUNY Plattsburgh in Plattsburgh, NY.

The focus of this year's conference is Victorian Transnationalism, with particular emphasis on the Atlantic legacy in the long 19th century.  As the site of a decisive American victory in the War of 1812, Plattsburgh is a testament to the fraught history of the “special relationships” between Britain and her neighbors across the pond. The town is home to an annual re-enactment of the Battle of Plattsburgh as well as historical sites relevant for scholars of the nineteenth century. We encourage papers across all disciplines exploring various aspects of the relations among and between the UK, Canada, the US, and other nations and regions across the Americas.

Email 300-word abstracts and a 1-page CV (name on BOTH) to Genie Babb at by 5 March 2012. For further information on the conference, visit the VISAWUS website here.

“The Ends of History,” Special Issue of Victorian Studies

In the 1980s and 1990s, literary critics and historians occupied a relatively integrated conceptual space through the rise of cultural studies and the “new historicism.” If this interdisciplinary framework was never seamless, “historicization” nonetheless represented a critical project equally palpable to history and literary criticism. The last decade or so, however, has found many critics seeking the revival of form as a key axis for literary study as against a perceived overemphasis on (or reduction to) historical context or ideological content. An early catalyst, MLQ’s 2000 special issue on the topic found Susan Wolfson attempting to “rehabilitate formalist criticism” without simply “cross-dressing it as a version of historicist criticism.” More recently, Sharon Marcus and Stephen Best’s 2010 special issue in Representations questioned the Jamesonian “political unconscious” while opposing the reading of “surfaces” to that of “symptoms,” thus inviting a rigorous rethinking of the mandate to “always historicize.” In a more polemical vein, Rita Felski’s essay “After Suspicion” and her lecture “Context Stinks!” appear to equate historicism with suspicious reading and to find both irreconcilable with the need to “respect . . . what is in plain view.” Still other critics urge “distant reading”: methods like Franco Moretti’s turn to graphs, maps, trees, and (more recently) network theory; or Heather Love’s Latour-inspired “descriptive turn.” Latour’s critiques of “suspicious” reading and “context” have exercised enormous influence across the fields of social-scientific and historical studies (for example, Tim Mitchell, Rule of Experts, and Tom Bender and Igancio Farias, eds., Urban Assemblages). This “descriptive turn” has its own advocates in the historical social sciences which may also provoke questions about what kind of historical analysis befits the formalist exploration of texts (literary and otherwise) and vice versa.

While defenders of suspicion have already come forward (for example, John Kucich, “Unfinished”), this special issue invites essays that take a somewhat different tack. Rather than positions for or against neoformalist, “surface,” and “descriptive” critical practices, the essays we seek will ask what these discussions portend for Victorianist historicism. We ask: Need the turn toward form be a turn away from history and, if so, what does it mean to pursue “Victorian” studies ahistorically or posthistorically? What is the legacy of the “new historicism” and is it incompatible with “what is in plain view”? Do historical writings embed their own hermeneutic instructions independently of critics’ distinctions between depth and surface, close and distant reading? What does history tell us about formalism and what does form tell us about history and historicism? In what new relation to each other are literary studies and history to stand in the wake of a formalist turn?

The deadline for submissions is September 15, 2012. Essays of not more than 8,000 words (including endnotes) should be prepared in MLA Style. We encourage submissions not only from literary scholars and historians, but from those in any field (including, for instance, the history of art or of science) whose work engages with relevant questions and issues. Submissions and inquiries should be sent directly to both of the issue’s guest editors by email attachment.
Lauren M. E. Goodlad, University of Illinois,
Andrew Sartori, New York University,

CFP: Romantic Connections: Networks of Influence, c.1760-1835

NENC research group members may be particularly interested in the following call for papers for the BARS Early Careers and Postgraduate Conference. Hosted by Newcastle University, our very own Helen Stark is one of the organisers. The conference theme is particularly germane to many of our members' research interests, and the conference itself will provide a great opportunity to meet postgrads and early researchers working on the long nineteenth century from across Britain.
The Early Careers and Postgraduate Conference for The British Association for Romantic Studies (BARS)
Friday 1st June 2012, Newcastle University
Keynote Speaker: Professor Jon Mee (Warwick) 
“Sometimes when I think of them I seem
Two consciousnesses – conscious of myself,
And of some other being.” (William Wordsworth, The Two Part Prelude, II, 29-31)

“Let us live in as small a circle as we will, we are either debtors or creditors before we have had time to look round.” (Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Elective Affinities, Book II, Chapter 4)

“If I listened to the words of my mouth, I might say that someone else was speaking out of my mouth.” (Ludwig Wittgenstein, Philosophic Investigations)

The BARS Early Careers and Postgraduate Conference for 2012 invites submissions for 20-minute papers on the theme “Romantic Connections,” which is to be understood broadly as covering literary, personal, and social interactions both within the Romantic period and between the period and its legacies. In particular, this conference seeks to counterpoint the myth of the solitary genius by inviting delegates to locate the writers of the period in the contexts of the networks, ideologies, correspondences and communities with which they were engaged.  Webs of influence, literary and sociable, entangle all writers and writing, and this conference seeks to explicitly engage with these connections and with the recent advances in scholarship and technology that have rendered their importance increasingly apparent.

Topics might include, but are not limited to:

• Echoes, allusions, and intertextuality
• Social versus poetic influence
• Writing partnerships, communes and communities
• Urban versus rural writing
• Groupings such as the Hunt Circle, the Bluestockings and the Lakers
• Satire and literary squabbling
• The role of ‘minor’ writers
• Modes of dissemination for literary works
• Magazine culture and periodical networks
• Notions of original and solitary genius
• Personal and poetic interactions
• Celebrity culture
• Benevolence versus egoism
• Conversation and sociability
• Connections between genres and forms
• The influence of the theatrical world
• Popular culture and the market-place
• Challenges faced by and opportunities accorded to female and working-class writers
• Competition and anxiety
• Literature’s links with other fields, such as politics, philosophy, art, science and music
• Passions, and / or romantic attachments
• Correspondences
• Local, national and international networks
• Biography and life-writing
• Canon formation
• Textual revisions and reversions

Along with panel sessions and the keynote address the conference will also feature a roundtable on collaborative works, the aim of which will be to offer practical advice on how to work in partnership in the field of Romanticism. In light of current changes in the Arts and Humanities, we hope to speak to this uncertain moment by offering positive ways in which early career academics and PhD students might collaborate with individuals and organizations and open up a dialogue with the public as well as their academic peers.  Speakers taking part in this roundtable will include Kerri Andrews (Strathclyde), Matthew Grenby (Newcastle), and Gary Kelly (University of Alberta).

Each panel paper will last 20 minutes. Please send abstracts of up to 250 words to by 30 January 2012. We aim to notify successful speakers by the beginning of March 2012.

Organizers: Matthew Sangster (Royal Holloway), Helen Stark (Newcastle University), and Matthew Ward (University of St Andrews).

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Calls for papers: a weekly round up

Extended deadline: Violent women in nineteenth century England 15 December 2011

Abstracts are sought for an essay collection considering the figure of the violent female criminal in nineteenth century England. Entries to this collection will be in the range of 7,000-9,000 words and due in early June 2012. Submission details and suggested topics can be found here.

Victorian Thresholds: Between Literature and Anthropology 28 April 2012

The Victorian Studies Association of Ontario invites 
abstracts of 20-minute papers papers to be presented at the 45th annual conference, hosted by York University.  The theme will be "Victorian Thresholds: Between Literature and Anthropology".Please send electronic copies of proposals (300-500 words) and a brief biographical statement to Matthew Rowlinson ( by 28 January 2012. Alternatively, hard copies can be sent by mail to Matthew Rowlinson, Department of English , University of Western Ontario, London, ON, Canada  N6A 3K7.
More information about the Association and the conference can be found here.

Situating and Interpreting States of Mind 1700 - 2000: An Interdisciplinary Conference 14 - 16 June 2012

Northumbria University's 'States of Mind' research group invites abstracts for this cross-period and interdisciplinary conference by 31 January 2012Abstracts of 300 words for 20-minute papers should be submitted to the conference organisers: or

The conference seeks to situate and interpret states of mind from the eighteenth century to the twenty-first, questioning how the space, place and historical context in which mental states are experienced shaped the narratives produced by individuals. Interweaving perspectives from across such disciplines as literature, history, philosophy, art history, creative writing, psychology and sociology, the conference will explore accounts of states of mind including mental illness, dreams, sleep-walking, imaginative states and self-awareness. The conference seeks to assess how these varying states of consciousness are expressed and how such narratives are influenced by historical change, continuity or the reconfiguration of these forms of expression. 

For more information on the conference, including a list of key themes, see here.

Sentiment and Sensation in Victorian Periodicals 14-15 September 2012

The Research Society for Victorian Periodicals (RSVP) will hold its annual conference at the University of Texas at Austin, September 14-15, 2012. While papers addressing any aspect of Victorian periodicals will be considered, RSVP particularly welcomes proposals for papers on the discourse of sentiment and sensation in the newspaper and periodical press that variously promoted or targeted readerships, established journalistic networks or brands, and shaped, responded to, and/or addressed cultural and ideological concerns.

Please e-mail two-page (maximum) proposals for individual presentations or panels of three to  Please include a one-page C.V. with relevant publications, teaching, and/or coursework. The deadline for submission of proposals is 1 February 2012More information on the conference, including details about travel grants for graduate students, can be found here.

NAVSA 2012: Victorian Networks 27 - 30 September 2012

The North American Victorian Studies Association Conference for 2012, in Madison, Wisconsin, September 27-30, invites papers on the theme of networks. NAVSA itself is a network, a hub of activity that fosters connections among scholars, among disciplines, and among institutions. We invite conferees to attend a networking lunch, where they can cross paths with others interested in shared themes, such as transatlanticism, visual culture, or serialization; and we aim to provide ample and rich opportunities for contact across specializations and new approaches including digital networks.

Proposals for individual papers or panels should be submitted electronically by March 1, 2012. More information, including instructions for online submission and suggestions for conference threads, can be found here

Monday, 7 November 2011

Calls for papers: a weekly round up

Crabbe's Tales

12-13 July 2012, Newcastle University

Reviewing Tales (1812) Francis Jeffrey claimed that George Crabbe was ‘upon the whole, the most original writer who has ever come before us’. In marking the bicentenary of its publication, this conference will focus on the telling of stories and the imagining of communities in Crabbe’s nineteenth-century oeuvre including Poems (1807), The Borough (1810), Tales and Tales of the Hall (1819). Its aim is to test Jerome McGann’s claim (in an essay published in 1981) that Crabbe is ‘a writer whose true historical period has yet to arrive.’

Abstracts should be submitted by 13 January 2012 to or More information on the conference can be found here.

Sensualising Deformity: Communication and Construction of Monstrous Embodiment

June 15-16 2012, Edinburgh University

This two  day disciplinary conference aims to bring back the senses and the sensuous back to the monstrous or deformed body, and to explore the questions, anxieties and denials which surround deformity when it is located within a continuum of sense.

Abstracts should be submitted by 31 January 2012 to More information about the conference as well as a frequently updated blog of interesting and relevant material can be found here.

Joan Leach Memorial Interdisciplinary Essay Prize 2011/2012

The Gaskell Journal is pleased to inaugurate its Graduate Student Essay Prize in honour of Joan Leach MBE, founder and president of the Gaskell Society.

The essay competition is open to all graduate students currently registered for an MA or PhD in Victorian Studies. Preference will be shown to essays with a clear interdisciplinary focus, i.e. those that consider Elizabeth Gaskell within contemporary Victorian cultural, aesthetic and scientific debates, or else, through recent critical theory.
The winning essay will be published in the 2012 edition of the Gaskell Journal and its author will receive £200 from the Gaskell Society, as well as a year’s free subscription to the journal. The closing date for the essay prize is April 30, 2012.

Please see the Gaskell Journal website for further submission details.

Friday, 4 November 2011

Reading Group Report: A Hallowe'en Consideration of the Nineteenth-Century Ghost Tale

'Fashions Born in Dead Brains': A Reading Group for Hallowe'en
Led by Hellen Giblin-Jowett (Newcastle) and Nicole Bush (Northumbria)

2pm, Wednesday 2 November

Texts: Walter Scott ‘The Tapestried Chamber’ (1829)
E Nesbit ‘Man-Size in Marble’ (1893)
H. G. Wells' ‘The Red Room’ (1896)

Roger Lockhurst, ‘Introduction’, Late Victorian Gothic Tales (2009)
Srdjan Smajić, excerpts from Ghost-seers, Detectives and Spiritualists:
Theories of Vision in Victorian Literature and Science (2010)

This session was not only pleasing in terms of introducing new members to the reading group from Durham, Northumbria and Newcastle Universities, but it also inspired a wide scope of research questions through reading the texts provided by Hellen and Nicole. We began by examining the nature of the ghost story. We drew upon the secondary readings by Smajic and Luckhurst and considered its historical context in relation to spiritualism and science in the Victorian period. We then thought about how these aspects of the nineteenth century related to our individual research interests, drawing parallels with Darwinism, the Enlightenment, and socio-political issues. We were especially interested in the ways that candle imagery was used to great effect in each of the stories. Whilst the extinguished flames in Walter Scott’s ‘The Tapestried Chamber’ (1829) inspire fear, the candles lit by the doomed Laura in E. Nesbit’s ‘Man-Size in Marble’ (1893) attempt to dispel fear.

This discussion of the social and political contexts of the ghost story led us into wider questions on gender. We considered how the stories relate to the conventional theme of the confident male narrator, who is often scientifically-inclined, and how the ghost story narrative operates to slowly destabilise such security. An interesting point made in relation to Nesbit’s story was that it is Laura, rather than the narrator, who becomes the subject of ghostly happenings, and how the author employs a male and female protagonist in order to question Victorian notions of gender. This was then extended out to the group’s wider thoughts on this issue. The examples of Charlotte Brontë and Jane Austen were discussed in order to illustrate how the female protagonist features in Gothic tales. Similarly, authors like Vernon Lee and Ann Radcliffe were discussed in relation to the female writer of the ghost story.

The scientific reading of the ghost story was something we were particularly interested in. We considered how the lone scientist, from Victor Frankenstein to Dr. Moreau, is distrusted when isolated from a social sphere. We found this particularly relevant to H. G. Wells’s ‘The Red Room’ (1896), with its basis in fin de siècle literature. Finally, we thought about the seasonal context of the ghost story, finding it interesting that they were primarily Christmas stories in the Victorian period. This led into a discussion of how writers from Radcliffe and Mary Shelley, to Matthew Lewis and James Hogg set their tales in the darkness of winter. Overall, this session was both valuable and informative, not only for the interesting context of the ghost story, but also as an introduction to the group’s wider research interests. We encourage members, whether they attended Wednesday’s session or not, to add their own comments and continue the discussion below.

By Leanne Stokoe, Newcastle University.

Monday, 31 October 2011

Calls for papers: a weekly round up

Victorian Hesitations: Indeterminacy in Language, Art, and Politics 28-31 May 2012

Victorian Studies Association of Ontario/ Assoc. of Canadian College and University Teachers of English - Joint Panel 

This conference will consider the  traces of equivocation, vacillation, and indecision that lie behind all the evidence of Victorian vim and vigour. It invites papers that explore suspended moments in Victorian culture – moments when a delay, however long, was of real consequence. How did the Victorians understand hesitation? How did they weigh the ethics of equivocation against the virtues of candor? How did their moments of uncertainty manifest themselves in movement? How was the difference between deliberation and doubt calibrated in this age of enterprise?

The deadline for submission is 15 November 2011. Abstracts should be sent to Constance Crompton at
. For further information, including submission details, see the NAVSA blog.

Orality and Literacy (London C19 Studies Seminar, Birkbeck University) 17 March 2012

The theme for the London Nineteenth-Century Studies Seminar in the Spring term 2012 will be Orality and Literacy, marking the thirtieth anniversary of the appearance of Walter Ong's influential book. Over three days in January, February, and March, speakers will explore a range of issues relating to the interactions between voice and text in the Anglo-American long nineteenth century: philology and acoustic nostalgia, melody and poetic form, laughter, and more.

We are soliciting 20-minute papers on the seminar theme to form a panel discussion on the extended final day of the seminar programme, Saturday 17 March 2012.

Please send 300-word proposals to the convenors, James Emmott (Birkbeck ( and Tom F. Wright (UEA) ( by 2 December 2011. 

More information about the London Nineteenth-Century Studies Seminar can be found here

Childe Harold's Pilgrimage at DePaul University 30 April 2012

DePaul Humanities Center Call for Papers:
Marking the 200th Anniversary of the Publication of Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage Cantos 1 and 2
Monda, April 30, 2012
DePaul University, Chicago, IL

Interdisciplinary papers are especially welcome from graduate and post-graduate scholars on Byron and Berlioz or Byron and Turner. Submit abstract to the Humanities Center by January 15, 2012 at this address:
For more information visit the Humanities Centre website:

Fourth International Postgraduate Symposium on Thomas Hardy  18-26 August 2012

Proposals are invited for papers on any aspect of the life, work and thought of Thomas Hardy for the fourth International Postgraduate Symposium on Thomas Hardy which will take place in Dorchester, 18-26 August 2012, as part of the 20th International Thomas Hardy Conference & Festival.

This is a unique opportunity to share and debate ideas on Hardy with other new and established scholars. A selection of these papers will be published in the peer-reviewed Thomas Hardy Journal. All attending postgraduates will be expected to join the Thomas Hardy Society at a reduced subscription rate. A small bursary will be offered to successful applicants to assist with the cost of attending the conference, and conference fees will be waived. Reduced rates will be offered to postgraduates wishing to attend the conference but not giving papers. 

Decisions will be made by the Symposium Convenors Professor Roger Ebbatson, Lancaster University, and Dr Angelique Richardson, University of Exeter. Proposals of 250 words (max) for papers of 15-minute duration should be sent to by 31 March 2012.