June 2018

Creative Competition: Substance Use and Abuse in the Long Nineteenth Century

Calling all creative-types, artists, academics, 19thC researchers and Sherlock Holmes fans!

The organizers of the ‘Substance Use and Abuse in the Long Nineteenth Century’ conference (Edge Hill University, September 13th-14th 2018) are inviting submissions of creative works which explore any aspect of nineteenth-century substance use and abuse in one image:

  • Photography, painting, digital art, mixed media, posters?
  • Still lives of drug paraphernalia?
  • Microscopic images of chemical compounds
  • Mapping nineteenth-century drug use?
  • A sculpture featuring Sherlock Holmes’s 243 types of tobacco ash?!

The ‘Substance Use and Abuse in the Long Nineteenth Century’ conference will bring together international, interdisciplinary researchers from Medical Humanities, the History of Medicine, and Romantic/Victorian literature to examine the changing roles of substances for therapy, medication, and recreation in the nineteenth century.

This competition is open to undergraduate and postgraduate students, lecturers and researchers, and members of the public.

Winners will be announced and prizes awarded at the conference, 13th – 14thSeptember 2018 at Edge Hill University.

First prize: £100.

Head Judge: Stephen Whittle. Principle Manager, The Atkinson Southport.

Deadline for entries: 17th August 2018.

For full terms and conditions and to enter, download entry form here and send it, along with your submission, to 



Some Great (and some not so great) Fathers from Victorian Fiction

It’s Father’s Day and I thought I’d compile a list of some of the best dads from my favourite Victorian novels. But oh boy, it turns out that I was wandering blithely into a wilderness and that nice, stable father figures don’t make for very compelling fiction. Drat!

Fear not, I have hunted high and low and found some of the good’uns (even if one of them is a wolf) to go alongside the wrong’uns. And so, without further ado:

*SPOILER WARNINGS for novels mentioned*

1. Good’un: Bob Cratchit, A Christmas Carol

You all know this one, I’m sure. Bob Cratchit is the epitome of the kind of hard-working, domestic masculinity that Dickens idolises time and again in his novels. Though Bob earns ‘but fifteen “Bob” a-week himself’ his modest home, stuffed with children and a goose, is the kind of Christmassy Victorian idyll that needs to be slapped on a tin of shortbread or, better yet, a Muppets Movie.

Muppets Christmas

2. Good’un: Akela, The Jungle Books

Though not technically Mowgli’s father in either a biological or adoptive sense, Akela leads the Seeonee wolf pack (though it should be mentioned that he, like all the wolves remain just a little bit terrified of Mowgli’s mother Raksha ‘The Demon’, who is way more badass than the original Disney animation would have us believe).

Continue reading “Some Great (and some not so great) Fathers from Victorian Fiction”

CFP: Science and Spiritualism, 1750-1930

The Leeds Centre for Victorian Studies is pleased to announce a two-day conference, to take place at Leeds Trinity University on 30 and 31 May 2019. We are delighted to have Professor Christine Ferguson (University of Stirling), and Professor Roger Luckhurst (Birkbeck, University of London) as our keynote speakers.

D.D. Home levitates himself in front of witnesses in the home of Ward Cheney in South Manchester, Connecticut on 8 August 1852. From Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository.

Since the emergence of modern mediumship in the middle of the nineteenth century, science and spiritualism have been interwoven. Sceptics and believers alike have investigated spirit and psychic phenomena to determine its legitimacy. This two-day interdisciplinary conference will explore the history of the intersection of science and spiritualism during the long nineteenth century. Continue reading “CFP: Science and Spiritualism, 1750-1930”

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