Monday, 29 October 2012

Calls for papers: a weekly round up

At the edge of perception: Victorian conceptions of the unseen universe
A joint session for ACCUTE/NAVSA 2013, Victoria, British Columbia, 1-4 June 2013

We invite papers that engage with the congress theme “@ the edge,” especially as related to the Victorian conceptions of the unseen. We suggest papers related (but not limited to) the following themes:

-Victorians and ghosts, seers, spirits, the occult
-Victorians and ether, magnetism, energy
-Victorians and the edge of the “real,”
-Victorians and the limits of human perception
-Victorians and faith, agnosticism, atheism, unbelief
-Victorians and space
-Victorians and mapping/seeking the unknown

Please send proposals of 300-500 words, along with 100-word abstracts and 50-word bios, to Lisa Surridge. Materials must be received by 1 November 2012.

Victorian Poetry: Forms and Fashions
A Conference in Celebration of the 50th Anniversary of Victorian Poetry
19-20 April 2013, West Virginia University

Papers on any aspect of Victorian poetry and poetics are invited, especially those devoted to: the reconsideration of poetic forms and formal innovations; fashions, trends, and modes in poetry; the publication and commerce of poetry; poetry book history; and Victorian prosody and stanzaic forms. Papers devoted to the "fashions" of scholarship on Victorian poetry for the last fifty years are also invited.

Please send 300-500 word proposals for papers and a 1-page c.v. via email to: by 15 November 2012.

Transatlantic Literary & Cultural Relations: the 9th Biennial Symbiosis 2013 Conference
Brunel University, London, UK, 27th June to  30th June, 2013

Keynote Speakers:

Prof. Paul Gilroy (King’s College, London); Prof. Peter Robinson (University of Reading); Prof. Robert Weisbuch (University of Michigan); Dr. Kathleen Wheeler (Darwin College, Cambridge)

Guest speaker: novelist Will Self on ‘My American Self’

‘My visit to this city has been exceedingly gratifying, on account of the freedom I have enjoyed in visiting such places of instruction and amusement as those from which I have been carefully excluded by the inveterate prejudice against color in the United States. Botanic and Zoological gardens, Museums and Panoramas, Halls of Statuary and Galleries of Paintings, are as free to the black as the white man in London.’
Frederick Douglass, to William Lloyd Garrison, May 23, 1846.

‘Of all the British painters, surely Hogarth was the only realist and the only man who knew his London. Lower London is exactly what it was when he studied it and hated it.’
—[1902] Willa Cather, Willa Cather in Europe.

The editors of Symbiosis, the Conference Directors, and members of the Brunel Centre for Contemporary Writing (BCCW) and the Brunel Gender, Sexuality Research Centre (BGSRC) and the University of Reading Modern Studies Research Group invite proposals for panels and individual papers of twenty minute length, which engage a wide variety of transatlantic and/or transnational topics in the literatures and cultural histories of the Atlantic world. The conference is certainly not limited to any local concerns, although papers that treat London (and particularly its suburbs) as a site of Atlantic cultural exchange and interrelationships are especially welcome, as are those examining the first twelve years of transatlantic literary and cultural responses to 9/11, from 2001–2013, and the significance of the hundredth anniversary of the publication of Pollyanna. Additionally as ever submissions are actively encouraged from all scholars and students of literary and cultural history and representation from every period from the earliest settlement right through to the present. Activities will include a literary event at the Keats House in Hampstead, London, which will incorporate a poetry reading and tour of significant cultural sites.

Submit 200 – 300 word abstract with details of your academic affiliation and contact details in Microsoft Word attachments by 31st January 2013 to the Conference Directors, Prof. Philip Tew (Brunel) and Dr. Matthew Scott (Reading). Add ‘Symbiosis 2013 Proposal’ to the subject line of your message, an essential detail since they will be sorted automatically using this search term.

Postgraduate bursaries: Creative Communities, 1750-1830

NENC members may be interested in the following funded training opportunity:

Creative Communities, 1750-1830 is an AHRC-funded Research Network based in the School of English at the University of Leeds, in partnership with the University of Southampton and University College London. Dr David Higgins is the Principal Investigator and Professor John Whale is the Co-Investigator. We are pleased to offer two bursaries of £300 to enable postgraduate students to participate in the network.

Recent scholarly work has begun to question the individualistic approach to cultural production by considering how social structures and relationships have encouraged creativity. Creative Communities seeks to advance our understanding of the relationship between creativity and community by focusing on key historical case studies. It will examine how connections between members of a community, and between different communities, can enhance creativity. At the same time, it will subject those key terms to rigorous historical investigation. The network will bring together established and early career researchers, as well as non-academic stakeholders, from a range of institutions, to debate a number of key questions about the relationship between creativity and community. How can a 'creative economy' enhance communal well-being? What is the balance of local and national in a successful creative community? How did communities of the past creatively interact? Above all, what lessons may be learned from understanding these past examples? What kinds of creative generosity can grow from this communal emphasis?

5-6 April 2013: Faith Communities (Leeds)This workshop, in association with the Priestley Society and the Thoresby Society, will seek to understand the significance of Dissenting communities in fostering creativity, and will also examine the under-explored creativity of other faith communities in the period, such as Anglicans, Catholics, and Jews.
20-21 September 2013: London’s Creative Institutions, 1750-1830 (UCL)We will investigate the connected communities generated by London’s cultural institutions and ask how did different stakeholders within them interacted in creative ways? To what extent did this lead to the production of a distinctive metropolitan identity? The workshop will also reflect on the continuing influence of these institutions in the twenty-first century city.
24-25 January 2014: Regional Networks of Creativity (Southampton/Chawton)How did regional networks – comprised of individuals such as publishers and patrons, or institutions such as periodicals and friendship groups – support creative endeavour? How far did the provinces offer a parallel culture or one running counter to the dominance of the metropolis? The workshop will reassess the nature of creativity in a context of contested civic and regional identities in order to learn from the example of late Georgian England.

We envisage that the bursaries will enable postgraduate students to participate in one or more of the workshops. Applicants must be registered for a PhD at a HEI in the United Kingdom. To apply, please send a two-page CV, and a covering email (500 words max) explaining how being part of the network would help your research, to the Network Administrator,
Cassie Ulph.

For enquiries about the project and/or applying for a bursary, please
email David Higgins.

The deadline for applications is 4pm on Monday 26 November 2012.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Colloquium: Writing Materials

Writing Materials: Women of Letters from Enlightenment to Modernity

Thursday, 29 November 2012, King’s College, London, and Friday November 30 2012, Hochhauser Auditorium, Sackler Centre, V&A

 Presented by The Elizabeth Montague Letters Project (an AHRC-funded research network), in association with King's College London and the University of Swansea, this interdisciplinary colloquium will explore the tools and environments of women’s writing in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. It aims to create new connections between texts and material objects, linking intellectual history with its material medium – paper, quills, desks, letter-cases, ink and inkwells.

Speakers and participants include:

Pamela Clemit (University of Durham)
Dena Goodman (University of Michigan)
Peter Stallybrass (University of Pennsylvania)
Karen Harvey (University of Sheffield)
Clare Brant (King’s College London)

The first day at King’s College, London is free and open to all. To reigister for this day please email The full day at the V&A costs £20 for adults or £10 for full-time students; please register here.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Reading Group Report: Fallen Women, Devotion and the Queer Salvific in the Work of Victorian Women Poets

Special session led by Caroline Baylis-Green (Manchester Metropolitan University), 18 October 2012

For the opening October meeting of the academic year, NENC were delighted to welcome our first guest speaker from outside the region, as well as several new members. We heard a paper by Caroline Baylis-Green on the subject of religion and sexuality in Victorian women’s literature, followed by a wider discussion amongst members.

Caroline began by providing us with a brief overview of her thesis and her research interests to date. These focus primarily upon a desire to extend and develop contemporary concepts of ‘queer theory’ by exploring the ways in which nineteenth-century women writers raised questions in their work relating to how sexuality is contained, confronted and subverted along gender lines. Authors of particular note include Christina Rossetti, Michael Field, Anne Lister and Adelaide Anne Procter, whose poem ‘A Legend of Provence’ (1864) was the focus of this session. Caroline read this work in conjunction with Rossetti’s poem ‘Goblin Market’ (1862) in order to explore the subjugation of female sexuality, the dichotomy between the ‘angel’ and ‘whore’ in Victorian society, and the possibility of alternative kin structures to the idea of ‘sisterhood’ favoured by religious readings of these poems.

A major theme in these discussions was the ways in which women poets of this era both faced prejudice by their male counterparts and society, and sought to overcome this in their writing and their preoccupations. In a patriarchal Victorian hierarchy, poetry was not seen as an appropriate vocation for a woman, and so female writers were forced to contend with social hostility, as well as respond to forms and metres that had been constructed by an exclusively male canon, a famous example being Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s Aurora Leigh (1856), which narrated the rise of a female poet and her place in society. Caroline suggested that Rossetti and Procter reacted against the popular concept of the ‘fallen woman’ in Victorian society. By volunteering in refuges for former prostitutes as a result of their involvement with the Oxford High Church Movement, both writers gained an insight not only into how women could ‘fall’ from grace and society, but also how they could be redeemed.

Both Rossetti and Procter came from artistic backgrounds, and their writing can thus be viewed as indebted to, and seeking to subvert, male literary legacies.  Rossetti was overshadowed in her lifetime by her brothers Dante Gabriel and William Michael, who were prominent members of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood.  Similarly, as the daughter of Bryan Waller ‘Barry Cornwall’ Procter, Adelaide Anne’s writing was associated with a poet whose verse was regarded as derivative ‘doggerel’ by his contemporaries Byron and Shelley. We considered how these connections to more famous male writers impacted upon Rossetti and Procter, particularly that the idea of a ‘brotherhood’ of artists could be equally applicable to a more subversive ‘sisterhood’.

Notwithstanding the obstacles brought about by this undeniably ‘male’ literary legacy, we discussed the ways in which Rossetti and Procter incorporated Romantic and Pre-Raphaelite imagery into their work. For example, the themes of fallen maidenhood and religious salvation in ‘Goblin Market’ can be seen as indebted to Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s poetry and art, in particular the blurred boundaries between sexuality and redemption. It was suggested that the protagonist Lizzie’s name and her character are reminiscent of the ill-fated Pre-Raphaelite model Elizabeth ‘Lizzie’ Siddal, who committed suicide following her marriage to Dante Gabriel and his many infidelities. Furthermore, the character of Jeanie, Christina's symbol of the irredeemable fallen woman, draws parallels with Dante Gabriel’s recurring prostitute figure - Jenny - in his poetry. Similar undertones are to be observed in Procter’s ‘A Legend of Provence’, which with its dream-like imagery and depictions of sexuality, are reminiscent of Keatsian poems like The Eve of St. Agnes (1820) and ‘La belle dame sans merci' (1819). An interesting point was made about Procter’s description of Angela’s vision of herself before her fall as being one of ‘sudden light’. This not only supported Caroline’s redemptive reading of the poem, but may also be seen as a direct allusion to Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s short verse ‘Sudden Light’ (1863), which reflected on Lizzie Siddal’s death.

The latter half of Caroline’s paper focussed upon close-readings of ‘Goblin Market’ and ‘A Legend of Provence’. Whilst both poems debated the popular Victorian theme of sexual desire versus spiritual downfall, it was suggested that the erotic undertones and imagery of light and dark in both poems complicated readings of a secular or religious sisterhood as a platonic means for redemption. ‘Goblin Market’ in particular has its moments of fall and salvation taking place at twilight, the realm between day and night and between good and evil. This led us to consider whether the concept of a redemptive sisterhood, particularly Rossetti’s assertion that ‘there is no friend like a sister’, is quite as clear-cut and pure as it initially appears. We noted that there are no maternal figures in either poem, and that without this procreative function, could female sexuality be seen as straying into the erotic? Attention was drawn to the use of lilies as symbols of purity in each poem, but as Caroline pointed out, this was also a popular metaphor for female genitalia during the nineteenth century. We considered whether both poets were concerned, not only with the social liberation of women, but also with extending such emancipation into areas of sexual freedom and sexual choice beyond the heteronormative. Nevertheless, we recognised the dangers in trying to impose anachronistic gender perspectives upon Rossetti and Procter, and acknowledged that this is an interesting area worthy of further study.

A final point was made about the controversial use of the Virgin Mary in ‘A Legend of Provence’. The epitome of womanhood and motherhood, she appears to the fallen woman Angela, rather than the nuns in the poem, in order to raise questions about the ‘mystery’ of salvation. We wondered what Procter meant by this term at a time when Anglican ideas of redemption and devout behaviour were very rigidly defined. This led us to consider to what extent Procter intended to be subversive in a religious sense, and whether this was connected to her wider social aims. Is it really salvation itself she presents as a mystery, or the ways in which it is distorted by an unenlightened, prejudiced and patriarchal society? 

All of these questions inspired some fascinating discussion and extended the literary premise of Caroline’s paper into wider debates about nineteenth-century society, art and the relationship between Romantic and Victorian outlooks. The NENC Organising Committee would like to thank Caroline for her informative, rich and thought-provoking paper, and for introducing the research group to Procter’s work. 

Leanne Stokoe, Newcastle University.

Monday, 22 October 2012

Calls for papers: a weekly round up

'Affect and Environmentalism in the Nineteenth Century': Tenth Biennial Conference, Association for the Study of Literature and the Environment (ASLE)
28 May - 1 June 2013, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS

Love plays a central role in the British Romantics' nascent environmentalism, from Erasmus Darwin's loves of the plants to William Wordsworth's love of nature (leading to love of humanity) to Percy Shelley's love of and secret correspondence with the natural world. But what exactly is the relationship between love, affect, and environmentalism during the Romantic period and throughout the nineteenth century? What shape do these relationships take in literature, theory, and experience? What can love and environmentalism in the nineteenth century tell us about current conceptions of environmentalism and ecology? Please email 250-500 word abstracts examining these issues in relation to nineteenth-century literature (British and/or American) to Seth Reno ( Please include your email address and institutional affiliation. The deadline for submissions is 31 October 2012. More information on the conference can be found here.

“We Are Not Amused”: Victorian Comedy and Humour

Victorian Studies Association of Ontario's ACCUTE (Association of Canadian College and University Teachers of English) member-organized panel: “We Are Not Amused”: Victorian Comedy and Humour
1-4 June 2013, University of Victoria, BC

Comedy is under-explored in Victorian literary criticism, but it is pervasive in the texts of the era, from brief moments—Dickens’ caricatures and Thackeray’s asides—to more extended treatments, in Lear’s nonsense verse and Jerome K. Jerome’s widely popular Three Men in a Boat.

This panel invites papers that explore comedy, humour and laughter in Victorian literature and cultural productions. What functions did comedy serve in Victorian texts? When is its humour riotous and anarchic, and when does it reinforce norms? How comfortably did comedy sit alongside the period’s idealization of moral and artistic solemnity? What effect does laughing at, or laughing with, texts and characters have upon our understanding of them? Why are the comic features of a scene or moment important?

Papers may consider such topics as:

-Parody, burlesque, farce and satire
-Ditties, jokes, word-play, wit and puns
-Black humour and the grotesque
-Clowning, the circus, and comic performance
-“Serious cheerfulness” and the mixing of wit and gravity
-Savoy Operas and the music hall
-Eminent Victorians and depictions of Victorian earnestness
-Failed humour or humourlessness
-Caricatures and stereotypes
-Comedy as social critique or subversive force
-Sentimental humour
-The science and philosophy of Victorian laughter

The date for submissions is 1 November 2012. Information on submission guidelines can be found here. The email address for submissions is

AVSA 2013: "The Victorian Environment"

Australasian Victorian Studies Association Conference: 'The Victorian Environment'
6-8 February  2013, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia

With the pressures of industrialism and the clustering of workers in urban centres, the Victorians were acutely aware that their environment was changing. Torn between nostalgia for a countryside that was in jeopardy and exhilaration at the rapidity with which their surroundings altered, Victorian literature and culture reflects a world undergoing radical change. Colonization and assisted emigration schemes expanded the scope of the environment still further, pushing the boundaries of the home environment on an unprecedented scale. These untamed physical environments enabled new freedoms, but also posed hostile challenges that invited attempts to control the natural world.

We seek papers of no more than twenty minutes in length, which consider any aspect of how the Victorians engaged with or sought to retreat from their environment. Note that submission of an abstract signals an intention to attend the conference and that absentee papers will not be permitted.

Topics might include:

-Landscape/cultivation of the land
-Natural disasters and responses to them
-Pollution, industrialism and place
-The weather/climate
-The country versus the city
-The natural world
-Sanitation, health, and disease
-The colonial environment
-Science and the classification of nature
-Exploration and mapping
-Visualizing the Victorian environment
-Soundscapes and noise pollution
-Excavation and archaeology
-The environment of Victorian studies in the present
-Nostalgia/the sense of an elsewhere

Please email abstracts of 200 words maximum and a brief biographical note to by no later than 30 November 2012.

Further information about the conference can be found here.

Alternative Enlightenments: An interdisciplinary conference in the humanities
26-28 April 2013, Ankara (Turkey)

From Kant’s seminal essay “What is Enlightenment?” through the manifold critical responses of the twentieth century, the ambiguity of a term designating both a paradigmatic approach to human thought or autonomy, and a specific historical period, remains. How distinct is the concept of Enlightenment from the era of European history long taken to have discovered or invented it? This symposium proposes an examination of Enlightenments in the plural, welcoming both revisionary accounts of the Age of Enlightenment and explorations of Enlightenment in other times and places.

With an eye to translating the idea of Enlightenment, scholars have traced its many national and regional varieties. Discussions of an Ionian or an Athenian Enlightenment, of movements of Enlightenment in the medieval caliphate or the Ottoman Empire, share the contemporary intellectual landscape with debates on the continuing relevance of the eighteenth-century Enlightenment to the current global order. We are interested in the way the term has been borrowed and translated, creating a constellation of “Enlightenments” bound together by family resemblances. Is there still a singular project of Enlightenment (i.e. the critique of received ideas and inherited values, in particular religious ones; the promotion of rational or empirical methods; the creation of cosmopolitan and secular spaces), or has the term broken out of its historical mold to designate a more fluid set of cultural projects and practices?

Where do we stand today with regard to the Enlightenment? After all, the continuation of a politics and practice of Enlightenment may depend on the spatial and temporal translations we propose to explore. Such displacements give new life to the idea of Enlightenment, even as the term is contested, criticized and transformed.

Topics of interest include:

-Ionian / Athenian Enlightenment
-Secularism, materialism, the immanent frame
-Literatures of Worldliness in East and West: Renaissance, Tanzimat, Arab and
-Near Eastern Enlightenments
-Orientalism and Occidentalism
-Diplomacy, correspondence, the figure of the court philosopher
-What is Enlightenment: Kant, Foucault and beyond
-(The) Enlightenment in the Americas
-The public and the private: cross-cultural studies of an Enlightenment distinction
-Travel literature, satire, and utopian fiction
-Nineteenth century national Enlightenments, nationalism vs. internationalism
-Enlightenment and Empire
-The rhetoric of Enlightenment in geopolitics, the claims of the West
-Material culture, exchange, circulation, accumulation, dispersal
-Enlightenment and its others: mysticism, hermeticism and the arcane
-The metaphorics of Enlightenment: illumination, dawn, twilight and dusk
-Where do we stand today with regard to (the) Enlightenment? Critical theory / social and political practice

Please submit an abstract of no more than 300 words to by 1 December, 2012.

A seminar at the Gothic Technologies/Gothic Techniques: Biennial Conference of the International Gothic Association, 5-8 August  2013, University of Surrey, United Kingdom:
“If Walls Could Scream: Gothic Houses Across Media”

As famously put by Roderick Usher in Poe’s masterpiece short story, Gothic houses have an influence on their dwellers, shaping their bodies and destinies to the point that not only the physique but also the life stories of the house and its inhabitants merge and intertwine. From “The House and the Brain” to The Cabin in the Wood, along an architectural route winding by castles, birthing houses, caves, and dens, attics and cellars, panic rooms and haunted apartments, via Bedlam Heights and the Overlook Hotel, dwellings are ubiquitous signifiers of Gothic across media. The convenors of the Seminar welcome proposals addressing the forms, significance and the multiple transmediations of Gothic houses and dwellings, from the Early Modern period to contemporaneity. Proposals systematizing the topic from transdisciplinary and theoretical standpoints are particularly welcome.

Please address proposals (max. 300 words) to both Francesca Saggini and Anna Enrichetta Soccio enclosing current position, affiliation, a brief bio-blurb, and a working email address. Proposals should indicate clearly texts discussed and the main argument pursued. Deadline for submission is 31 December 2012. Acceptance communicated in line with the 2013 IGA Conference schedule. For further information on the IGA Conference please see here.

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

CFP: The Victorian Tactile Imagination

CFP: The Victorian Tactile Imagination

Keynote speakers: Professor Gillian Beer (University of Cambridge); Professor William Cohen (University of Maryland); Professor Hilary Fraser (Birkbeck, University of London)
 Birkbeck, University of London, 19-20 July 2013

"You people who can see attach such an absurd importance to your eyes! I set my touch, my dear, against your eyes, as much the most trustworthy, and much the most intelligent sense of the two". (Wilkie Collins, Poor Miss Finch, 1872)

This conference will explore the various ways in which the Victorians conceptualised, represented, experienced, performed and problematized touch. What does touch signal in nineteenth-century art and literature, and how is it variously coded? How are hands and skin - tactile appendages and surfaces - imagined in the period? By investigating the Victorian imaginary of touch, the conference will address and reappraise some of the key concepts and debates which have shaped Victorian studies in the past twenty years - in particular the emphasis on visuality as the dominant mode via which subjectivities and power were effected in the period: not least Jonathan Crary's influential thesis that the nineteenth century witnessed a pervasive 'separation of the senses'. The conference aims to investigate instead the workings of a more textured vision and reanimate the interoperability of sight and touch in nineteenth century culture.

The conference will also extend and build upon recent critical studies that have begun to explore nineteenth-century tactility in relation to material culture, bodies, and the emotions.By focusing closely on touch and tactility, it aims to establish whether and in what terms we might talk about a Victorian 'aesthetics of touch', and to explore how touch constructs and disrupts, for example, class and gender identities. It will also consider the historical trajectories of touch, asking, for example, in what ways does touch mark or blur the divide between Victorianism and Modernism?

Proposals of up to 400 words should be sent to Heather Tilley at by 10 January 2013. Please also attach a brief biographical note. Proposals for panels of three papers are also welcome, and should be accompanied by a brief (one-page) panel justification.

Possible topics might include:

·         Tactile/haptic aesthetics (representations of hands and touching; art historical writing on the senses; perspectival theory; nineteenth century sculpture; arts and crafts)

·         Rethinking "visual" media and technologies (photography; stereoscopy; cinema)

·         Touch in the Museum (handling/viewing objects; curating; museum policy)

 ·         Readers and writers (material cultures of the book; embodied readers and writers; the writer's hand)

 ·         Social history (domestic violence; hands and work; the gloved hand)

·         Travel and place (the imperial touch; haptic geographies)

·         The hand, skin and dermal structures in design theory and evolutionary science

·         Medicine (blindness; physiology of touch; the medical touch; nerve theory and motor function; pain)

·         Theories of mind and body (psychophysiology; cognitive psychology; phenomenology; psychoanalysis)

·         The gender and sexual politics of touch, the queer touch (lesbianism, tender masculinities)

·         Histories of touch (inheriting and disrupting eighteenth century models of touch; anticipating Modernist touch).

The conference is organised by Birkbeck, University of London's Centre for Nineteenth-Century Studies, with support from the Newcastle Institute for the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities.

Monday, 15 October 2012

Calls for papers: a weekly round up

Gothic: Culture, Subculture, Counterculture – A Two-Day Conference
Strawberry Hill House, 8-9 March 2013

Location / Hosted by: St Mary’s University College, Twickenham and Strawberry Hill House
Confirmed Speakers:
• Michael Snodin (The Victoria and Albert Museum)
Prof John Bowen (University of York)
Prof Avril Horner (Kingston University)
Prof Allan Simmons (St Mary's University College, London)
This conference, held in the Gothic mansion at Strawberry Hill, west London, will interrogate the many and varied cultures of the Gothic that were largely set in train by the owner of this mansion, Horace Walpole, in the mid-eighteenth century. As Walpole’s projects well exemplify – an aesthetic rebellion against a classical orthodoxy, which nonetheless looked implicitly to the restoration of some former social order – Gothic’s cultural poetics have always been difficult to place politically.
To what degree have Gothic tendencies in Literature, Art, Architecture and Screen Media been participants in, adjuncts to, contesters of, or alternatives to cultural and political mainstreams, and how might such relationships be assessed by historians and critics? If Gothic was the Enlightenment’s naughty, child, to what extent is its rebelliousness mental or political, and is it ultimately co-opted by the order that it appears to resist?

This is a multi-disciplinary conference, and proposals for papers are invited in response to such questions in the fields, amongst others, of literature, screen media, art, architecture and popular culture. Participants will be offered the chance to see Horace Walpole’s Gothic mansion, now resplendent in its recently-renovated state, and to dine there during the conference. Preference will be given to papers that are suitable for an enthusiastic amateur audience, as well as specialists in the appropriate field.
A bursary will be offered to cover conference fees for the best proposal by a postgraduate student.

200-word proposals for papers of 20-25 minutes, should be sent, by 30 October 2012 to:
Ms Jessica Jeske
St Mary’s University College
Waldegrave Road
Strawberry Hill
More information can be found here.

'Nature': College English Association's Division of Nineteenth-Century British Literature 44th annual conference
4-6 April 2013,  Savannah, Georgia


In earlier centuries, “Nature” set the parameters, as Philip Round states, “of conversations about everything from church doctrine to village order.” Often discussions of gender, character, authorship, and even civil discourse turned to questions of “customary precedent and natural law.” By the twentieth century “nature” was used to delineate the new literary study of “nature writing,” while also used in broader terms to question the changing nature of our society with the onset of the digital age,
postmodernism, new views of gender and race construction, and even changes within academia. What is the “nature” of the academia today? How has the “nature” of publishing and authorship changed with the digital age? How has the “nature” of our profession changed? In what ways does “nature” define us? Or do we define “nature?” For our 2013 meeting, CEA invites papers and panels that explore the literary, the pedagogical, and the professional “nature” of our field.

General Call for Papers

CEA also welcomes proposals for presentations in any of the areas English departments typically encompass, including literature criticism and scholarship, creative writing, composition, technical communication, linguistics, and film. We also welcome papers on areas that influence our work
as academics, including student demographics, student/instructor accountability and assessment, student advising, academic leadership in departments and programs, and the place of the English department in the university. Submission Dates: August 31-November 1, 2012.Submit your proposal here. For inquiries about CEA's Division of Nineteenth Century British Literature please direct your correspondence to Robin Hammerman. For more information about how to submit, please see the full CFP here.

Home and Nation: Re-imagining the Domestic, 1750-1850
A three-day conference at the University of Leeds, 22-24 March 2013

The domestic is an expansive concept. Denoting both the home and the nation, it exerts a powerful organisational force upon the formation of gendered, national, and racial identities. Under the influence of J├╝rgen Habermas, literary critics and historians have explored the role that the domestic plays in constructing – and deconstructing – the opposition between the public and the private spheres. Similarly, feminist investigations of this category have complicated the enduring notion of the ‘domestic woman’, bringing more complex and mobile forms of gender identity into clearer definition. Recognising the way in which the domestic mediates between the home and the nation has also had implications for critical work on national identity: as a process, domestication entails the regulation and assimilation of the alien and the other.

This three-day conference aims to take stock of recent critical approaches to this topic, and to explore the various ways in which the domestic interacts with ideas of privacy, publicity, the home and the nation. We invite proposals for papers (of 20 minutes) that address these issues with reference to the literature and culture of the period 1750-1850. We welcome papers that take an interdisciplinary approach to the subject. Possible topics might include (but are not limited to):

• The relationship between the home and the nation
• The boundaries of the home
• The representation of domestic space
• The relationship between domesticity and gender identity
• The domestication of the other / the alien
• The relationship between domestic and professional labour
• Consumerism, commerce, and the home
• Theorisations of the public and the private

Confirmed plenary speakers: Karen Harvey (University of Sheffield) and Harriet Guest (University of York)

Proposals (of approximately 250 words) are welcome from established scholars and postgraduate students. Please email your proposal to Richard De Ritter by Monday, 7th January 2013.

“For Instance . . . : Eighteenth Century Exemplarity, Its Practice and Limits”
12th Bloomington Eighteenth-Century Workshop, Indiana University, 8-10 May 2013

The Center for Eighteenth-Century Studies at Indiana University is pleased to announce the twelfth Bloomington Eighteenth-Century Workshop, to be held on May 8-10 2013. The workshop is part of a series of annual interdisciplinary events that has been running since 2002, with 12-15 scholars presenting and discussing papers on a broad topic in a congenial setting.

Our topic for 2013 is “For Instance. . . : Eighteenth-Century Exemplarity, Its Practice and Limits.” In the seventeenth century, cultural authority could often be established through the skillful negotiation of examples past and present. Through this process, men and women could aspire to exemplary status, as the present instance in a long tradition of examples. One could “stand in” for others. This relationship of “standing-in-for,” or exemplarity, played a central role for institutions of learning, knowledge, and morals; for the political and religious order; and for individuals’ understanding of history and art. In this workshop, we want to explore what happens to these cultures of exemplarity, modeling, and emulation in the long eighteenth century

Exemplarity is not a simple relationship. On the one hand, as in the case of absolutism, the king aimed to become an exemplary “one” who encompassed all others for whom he could, in turn, become an ideal model. On the other hand, exemplarity could also invoke a radical equality, that of the “sample,” where everyone can be an example for everyone else. In the light of such complexity, we ask what happens to the culture of the example in the eighteenth-century as new ways of understanding the correlation of the “one case” and “all the others” gain prominence, as discourses of individuality, probability, experience, experiment, representation, radical democracy, and revolution hold sway. If the past stops serving as an example for the present, if the one no longer stands for all others, what alternative modes of thought serve? What happens when examples become unruly? Or should we think instead of transmutations and reinventions in some broader culture of exemplarity?

The focus of the workshop will be an age when presumably exemplarity was under pressure and examples became unruly. We want to examine the practices and limits of exemplarity in different areas, such as politics, religion, fiction, and the so-called experimental sciences. Papers may explore (but are not limited to) the following questions:

- How does “standing in for something” shift in meaning throughout the eighteenth century?
- To what extent did eighteenth-century men and women think that the experiences of one person could apply to others? How does the language of experience change through the long eighteenth century? How does the discourse of probability inflect that of experience and/or example?
- To what extent do political actors stop modeling their acts on past examples? If they do, what replaces the rhetoric of exemplarity in political discourse?
- Can Christ and the martyrs still be “examples” in an era when exemplarity is only one of many modes of teaching?
- In the worlds of design and technology, how do constructed models or patterns – of buildings, terrain, or ships; fabric, furniture, or china – alter or expand the concept of the example?
- Amazons, Hottentots, wild children, mad women, sea monsters, and extraordinary beasts of all sorts: what can one make of these unruly examples?
- In what ways do eighteenth-century narratives –fiction or history – engage the work of exemplarity? To what extent do characters and storylines provide readers with good/bad examples?
- How does the logic of exemplarity, rooted in tradition, relate to categories such as novelty, modernity, or innovation? Does exemplarity foster, justify, or contest innovation?

The workshop format will consist of focused discussion of four to six papers a day, amid socializing and refreshment. The workshop will draw both on the wide community of eighteenth-century scholars and on those working in this field at Indiana University-Bloomington. The workshop will cover most expenses of those scholars chosen to present their work: accommodations, travel (up to a certain limit), and most meals.

The dealine for application is 7 January 2013. The application consists of a two-page description of the proposed paper as well as a current brief CV (no longer than three pages). Please email or send your application to Dr. Barbara Truesdell, Weatherly Hall North, room 122, Bloomington, IN 47405, email Further information can be found here or you can find us on Facebook.

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Ford Madox Brown & the Victorian Imagination Workshop

Ford Madox Brown & the Victorian Imagination Workshop

Northumbria University, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Friday 9 November 2012
Venue: Squires Building, Rm 210; 12.30 am – 5.15 pm

Is Ford Madox Brown the most misunderstood and under-appreciated of all the great Victorian artists? During the artist’s lifetime his works were defined by critics as chaotic, confusing, disturbing, lacking unity or unsophistication. Ruskin reckoned that Brown’s obsessive vision explained an art that drained life from the things it represented. This ‘traditional’ view dominated until the 1980s when many ‘new’ art historians began to use key works by Brown to address Victorian attitudes to social topics. This workshop brings together fresh research on Brown’s critical aspirations and artistic achievements underpinned by an appreciation for Brown’s romantic critique of academic culture and subscription to a belief in art’s depiction or embodiment of the full richness and particularity of human experience.


12.30  Introduction & Welcome

12.40  Paul Barlow (Northumbria) 'Brown’s Hogarth'

13.10  Colin Trodd (Manchester) 'Ford Madox Brown and the William Blake Brotherhood'

13.40 Colin Cruise (Aberystwyth) 'Composing meanings: space and invention in Ford Madox Brown’s paintings, 1843-55'
14.10 Break

14.30  Elizabeth Prettejohn (York) 'Ford Madox Brown and History Painting'

15.00  Nicholas Tromans (Kingston) 'Drawing Teeth: Reflections on Brown’s Mouths'

15.30  Matthew Potter (Northumbria) 'Ford Madox Brown as Art Teacher'

16.00  Roundtable Discussion: Manchester Art Gallery Exhibition: 'Ford Madox Brown: Pre-Raphaelite Pioneer'

16:45 Open Session

17.15 End

There is no registration fee but spaces at the workshop are limited so please email to reserve a place.