CFP: The Threatened Child in 19th-Century Popular Fiction and Culture

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Victorian Popular Fiction Association Study Day:

The Threatened Child in Nineteenth-Century Popular Fiction and Culture

Friday, 20th September 2019

Humanities Institute, University College Dublin

Keynote Speaker: Professor Kathryn Hughes (University of East Anglia)

Walking Tour: Victorian Gothic Dublin, followed by dinner

VPFJ Special Issue: Following the Study Day, we will be inviting delegates to submit journal articles based on their respective papers for publication in a special issue of the VPFA journal, Victorian Popular Fictions.

www.victorianchildren.home.blog   @VPFA1    #VPFAChildren

Call for Papers:

Owing to rapid population growth coupled with high mortality rates, nineteenth-century Britain was a young society, with those under fourteen constituting from between a third to forty percent of the population. While the romantic conception of childhood as an ideal, innocent state gained widespread acceptance during the nineteenth century, at the same time the realities of child neglect, exploitation, physical and sexual abuse were well known. Across the century, legislation was enacted to address child maltreatment – improving working conditions, ensuring primary education, raising the age of consent for girls, and producing the Prevention of Cruelty to Children Act in 1889. But the lived reality for many children remained grim and the resulting social issues were frequently taken up in the era’s popular fiction and culture. Continue reading

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CFP: Women’s Spaces, Pleasure, and Desire in the Belle Époque

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3-4 June, 2019. St Hilda’s College, Oxford.

Convenors: Sasha Rasmussen (St Hilda’s), Rhiannon Easterbrook (Women in the Humanities Post-doctoral Writing Fellow) and Mara Gold (St Hilda’s).

Even as women asserted their presence in universities and the new department stores that proliferated to cater to their desires, at the turn of the century many still imagined feminine space in traditional archetypes: the tranquillity of the home, or the exoticism of the harem. To speak of women’s spaces during the Belle Epoque, then, calls forth a host of simultaneous possibilities, ranging from the archaic to the shockingly modern, from the sensual to the cerebral. In public or in private, this conference seeks to examine the relationships between women, space, pleasure, and desire. We invite submissions that explore how different forms of women’s space competed and co-existed around the world at the end of the nineteenth and beginning of the twentieth centuries, and how these represented, structured or suppressed women’s experiences of desire and pleasure.

Topics could include, but are naturally not limited to:

Continue reading

CFP: Mind, Matter(s), Spirit: Forms of Knowledge in Victorian Popular Fiction and Culture

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Victorian Popular Fiction Association’s 11th Annual Conference

‘Mind, Matter(s), Spirit: Forms of Knowledge in Victorian Popular Fiction and Culture’

8-10 July 2019, Institute of English Studies, Senate House, London

Keynote: Chris Louttit, ‘Capturing the Spirit of Bohemia: The Life of the Artist in 1860s Popular Fiction’

Keynote: Beth Palmer, ‘Sensation Fiction and the Theatre: Braddon, Boucicault and Matters of Adaptation’

Keynote: Christopher Pittard, ‘Vanishing Points: Sidney Paget, Arthur Conan Doyle, and Sherlock Holmes’

Exhibition: ‘Late-Victorian & Edwardian Paperback Fiction’, curated by John Spiers

Reading Group: ‘Altered States of Mind and Body’, hosted by James Green and Henry Bartholomew

 

Call for Papers

The Victorian Popular Fiction Association is dedicated to fostering interest in understudied popular writers, literary genres and other cultural forms, and to facilitating the production of publishable research and academic collaborations amongst scholars of the popular. Continue reading

Rebellious Writing: Marginalised Edwardians and the Struggle for Symbolic Power (Call for Chapters)

Rebellious Writing

CALL FOR CHAPTERS FOR EDITED VOLUME

Rebellious Writing:
Marginalised Edwardians and the Struggle for Symbolic Power

Edited by Lauren O’ Hagan, Cardiff University

This volume will explore ‘ordinary writing’ – that is, ‘writing that is typically unseen or ignored and is primarily defined by its status as discardable’[1] – as an important new way in which to approach the power and identity of marginalised groups in Edwardian Britain (1901-1914). The Edwardian era is often described as a period of intense social conflict and upheaval marked by a heightened awareness of class consciousness, inequality and poverty. Vast social, political and economic changes led to an increasing mobilisation of the lower classes and women, while also bringing about a rise in the number of anarchists and revolutionaries. Many of these changes, in turn, created an increasing distrust of and hostility towards the ‘other’: foreigners, Catholics, Jews, gypsies, homosexuals and the poor were all the target of widespread discrimination. Despite their internal differences, all of these groups had one thing in common: they used writing in a bid to voice resistance and obtain symbolic forms of power.

The editor invites chapter proposals involving high quality research drawing on diverse methodologies that advance the study of ordinary writing as a rebellious act of power in Edwardian Britain. In particular, research related to any of the following groups or inscriptive acts are welcomed:

  • The working classes; Irish nationalists; suffragettes; children; prisoners; socialists/communists; workhouse poor; Catholics; Jews; foreigners, particularly Germans and Eastern Europeans; gypsies; homosexuals; black people
  • Postcards; coins; schoolbooks; graffiti; marching banners; political posters; diaries; autograph books; calling cards; visitors’ books; scrapbooks; embroidery

Continue reading

The Edwardian Royal Academy

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To mark two-hundred and fifty years of the Royal Academy, the Paul Mellon Centre and the RA have just launched a major online project, The Royal Academy Summer Exhibition: A Chronicle 1769-2018. The website not only contains links to all the summer exhibition catalogues, but includes short essays exploring every single year of the show. This is obviously exciting news for anyone interested in art in Britain, and also for scholars of Edwardian culture. Explore the Edwardian Royal Academy here.

Transitions: Bridging the Victorian-Modernist Divide

Gilman, Harold, 1876-1919; Canal Bridge, Flekkefjord

Harold Gilman, Canal Bridge, Flekkefjord, c.1913

Edwardian scholars – including not one, not two, not three, but four of the contributors to our recent book – will be out in force at Transitions: Bridging the Victorian-Modernist Divide, a two-day international and interdisciplinary conference held at the University of Birmingham on the 9th and 10th of April. We will be hosting a panel in the afternoon of the first day called ‘Locating Edwardian Culture’, and enjoying all the other panels on what promises to be a really stimulating event. Read more about the conference here. There are only two days left to register, so if you are thinking of attending (only £10 a day), do so sooner rather than later!

Review: Literature of the 1900s by Jonathan Wild

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Review of Jonathan Wild, Literature of the 1900s: The Great Edwardian Emporium (Edinburgh University Press, 224 pp., £75)

Shopping, like much else, became recognisably modern in the first decade of the twentieth century. One of its principal modernisers was the American entrepreneur Harry Gordon Selfridge, the ‘Earl of Oxford Street’, whose flagship London store, opened in 1909, aimed to turn shopping from a necessity into a leisure activity. Selfridge’s offered immersive and material pleasures: its departments were arranged over many floors; its spaces were designed particularly to appeal to women; customers could see and handle the wares, assisted by 1,400 well-trained staff.

Jonathan Wild’s impressive Literature of the 1900s, volume one in The Edinburgh History of Twentieth-Century Literature in Britain, takes the department store as a metaphor for the decade’s literary field. The book’s chapters are figured as a store’s departments – departments for war and external affairs, administration, children, decadence, and internal affairs. The conceit is more than a clever way to organise his wide-ranging and potentially disparate material: it focuses the reader on the consumption of literature, which is his book’s central theme. Wild argues, convincingly, that readers and reading changed on or around January 1900, as literature, and fiction in particular, became Britain’s major leisure activity, and readers, or consumers, demanded more literature, and more kinds of literature.

Writers and writing changed too, in response to consumer demand but also reflecting the profound social changes of the last decades of the nineteenth century. Continue reading