Calls for Papers

CFP: ‘Lewis Carroll and George MacDonald: An Influential Friendship’

Saturday, 1 September 2018 

The Sussex Centre for Folklore, Fairy Tales and Fantasy, University of Chichester.

Call for Papers – deadline Friday 30 March 2018

“While Dodgson, the … mathematician who hated inaccuracy, loved to question the very multiplication table’s veracity, my father, the poet, who hated any touch of irreverence, could laugh till tears ran at his friend’s ridicule of smug formalism and copy-book maxims.”

Greville MacDonald, George MacDonald and his Wife, 1924.

The works of the Scottish author, poet and minister George MacDonald and the English polymath Charles Dodgson (Lewis Carroll) have been among the strongest of influences on writers of fantasy for the past 150 years. The relationship between these two Victorians is both deep and fascinating and a close examination of that friendship reveals the significant influence they had on each other’s work.

Continue reading “CFP: ‘Lewis Carroll and George MacDonald: An Influential Friendship’”


CFP: Decadence, Magic(k) and the Occult

Another fantastic Decadence conference for 2018. Submit your papers now!  

CFP: “A Sudden Swift Impression”: Re-Examining the Victorian Short Story


A Victorian Popular Fiction Association – Short Story Network Study Day
Hosted by the University of Brighton
Saturday 27th January 2018
Keynote Speaker: Dr Emma Liggins (Manchester Metropolitan University)
on ‘Victorian Women’s Ghost Stories and the Haunted Space: From Elizabeth Gaskell to Margaret Oliphant’
The Victorian Popular Fiction Association and the Short Story Network invite you to submit proposals for this Study Day on the short fiction of the long 19th century.
Scholarship is increasingly recognising the short story as a form that, far from being the inferior relation of the novel, has its own distinctive aesthetic and discursive possibilities. This Study Day will explore the contention that precisely the qualities that led to the short story’s marginal status – its brevity, immediacy, and possible ephemerality – provided writers scope for formal narrative experimentation and for exploring different ways of representing social reality. The conference organisers welcome proposals for 20 minute papers. Topics include, but are not limited to, the following:
  • The ghost story and Gothic fiction
  • The short story, crime and detection
  • The short story and humour
  • The short story and romance
  • Imperial short stories
  • Short fiction and the periodicals market
  • The short story and women writers
  • The New Woman
  • Children’s literature / juvenile story papers
  • The short story and sensation
  • The serial short story
  • The short story and science fiction
  • Medicine and the short story
The Study Day will also include a Reading Group (story to be circulated in advance) and the first AGM of the Short Story Network (
Please submit a 300 word proposal and a 50 word biography to Dr Lucy Andrew and Dr Vicky Margree at by Monday 2nd October, 2017.

CFP: Victorian Popular Fiction Association’s 10th Annual Conference ‘War and Peace’

3-7 July 2018, Institute of English Studies, Senate House, London
Keynote: Mariaconcetta Costantini, G. d’Annunzio University of Chieti-Pescara
Keynote: Carolyn Oulton, Canterbury Christ Church University
Keynote: Cathy Waters, University of Kent
Round Table on the State of the Field:
Juliet John, Andrew King, Julia Kuehn, Kate Newey, Catherine Pope
Exhibition: ‘How Novel Was the Novelette? Fiction, Gender and Popular Nineteenth-Century Periodicals’, curated by John Spiers
Reading Group: ‘Invasion Fiction’, hosted by Andrew King and Beth Gaskell
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. Our annual conference is now in its tenth year and aims to celebrate with a five day extravaganza! Alongside the usual keynotes, special panels, reading group and exhibition, there will be trips out to different events around London.
The organisers invite a broad, imaginative and interdisciplinary interpretation on the topic of ‘War and Peace’ and its relation to any aspect of Victorian popular literature and culture which might address literal or metaphorical representations of the theme.
We welcome proposals for 20 minute papers, panels of three papers affiliated with an organisation or a group of scholars and non-traditional papers/panels, on topics which can include, but are not limited to:

  • War: colonial wars, war heroes, battles, war poetry, staged battles, invasion and conflict, violent death, war reportage and illustration/photography, war painting, medicine, infirmaries, surgery
  • Material culture of war
  • Britain vs the Continent: conflicts of views, customs, civilizations
  • Us versus Them: Empire and colonialism, ‘otherness’, abject, uncanny
  • Wars of ideas
  • Class war: Chartism, war on poverty, socialism
  • War between the sexes: The New Woman, women as workers and consumers
  •  Science and technology: Darwinism, technological advances, train travel
  • Religious controversies and crises of faith: Darwin, religion vs science, Higher Criticism
  • War is personal: personal rivalries, the threat of crowds and mobs, anarchism, nihilism, terrorism, assassination plots
  • War of mind and body: disease, nervousness, phobias, anxieties
  • Violence: crime and punishment, domestic and sexual abuse, child abuse
  • News and print culture: professional rivalries, periodical debates, book sales, the best seller
  •  Genre wars: realism, sensationalism, Gothic, detective, science fiction
  • Travel writing/writing travel in times of war and conflict
  • Conflict as a narrative force
  • Exclusion of popular fiction from the canon/struggle for recognition in the academy
  •  Domestic harmony: love, romance and sex
  • Childhood innocence: the ‘romantic child’ and the Golden Age of children’s literature
  • Anniversaries: birthdays, weddings, christenings, deaths
  • Peace of mind/finding peace: religious movements, beliefs, spirituality/Spiritualism
  • Peace of body: rest cures, convalescing, R.I.P.
  • Social reform: global treaties, armistices, resolution, utopian communities, Pax Britannica, Britain as a guardian of the peace
  • Enforcing the peace: police, legislation, army, suppressing rebellion
  • Design reform movements: Arts and Crafts, the Victorian home, collections and collecting
  • Peace with our neighbours: the Great Exhibition, the grand tour, cosmopolitanism,  relations between countries, food, animals
  • Material culture of peace
  •  News and print culture: literary networks, co-operations, collaborations, authors, publishers and printers, image and text, the development of the book market: triple decker, single volume, yellowback, French novels
  • Narrative and poetic harmony: plot vs. character, poetry vs. prose, the art of the novel
  • Harmony and discord: music in popular fiction
  • Victorian values and nostalgia/costume drama
  • Republication of popular fiction/increasing recognition in the academy
Special topic panels: following our successful formula, we are continuing the special panels which will be hosted by guest experts; therefore we especially welcome papers about the following topics:
Topic 1: ‘Class War, Conflict and Reconciliation’ hosted by Tara Macdonald
Topic 2: ‘Religious Controversy and Reconciliation’ hosted by Naomi Heatherington
Topic 3: ‘The First War of Indian Independence’ hosted by Éadaoin Agnew
Please send proposals of no more than 300 words and a 50 word biography in Word format to Drs Janine Hatter, Helena Ifill and Jane Jordan at:
Deadline for proposals: Friday 2nd March 2018


CFP: Special issue of Victorian Periodicals Review: The Strand Magazine

Described by Reginald Pound as a ‘national institution’, the Strand Magazine (1891–1950) was the foremost British New Journalistic fiction paper of the 1890s. This heavily illustrated monthly promised its readers ‘cheap, healthful literature’, including short and serial fiction, factual articles, human-interest features and celebrity items, by some of the best-known authors of the time. Yet, in spite of its popularity, the Strand has attracted limited scholarly attention and is often dismissed as a prime example of the Victorian middlebrow. This special issue of Victorian Periodicals Review seeks to elicit original essays assessing the nature, role and significance of the Strand in the period 1891–1918. Possible contributions might address, but are not limited to, topics such as: Continue reading “CFP: Special issue of Victorian Periodicals Review: The Strand Magazine”

Call for Submissions: Gothic Animals: Uncanny Otherness and the Animal With-Out

‘The boundary between the animal and the human has long been unstable, especially since the Victorian period. Where the boundary is drawn between human and animal is itself an expression of political power and dominance, and the “animal” can at once express the deepest fears and greatest aspirations of a society’ (Victorian Animal Dreams, 4).

‘The animal, like the ghost or good or evil spirit with which it is often associated, has been a manifestation of the uncanny’ (Timothy Clark, 185).

In the mid nineteenth-century Charles Darwin published his theories of evolution. And as Deborah Denenholz Morse and Martin A. Danahay suggest, ‘The effect of Darwin’s ideas was both to make the human more animal and the animal more human, destabilizing boundaries in both directions’ (Victorian Animal Dreams, 2). Nineteenth-century fiction quickly picked up on the idea of the ‘animal within’ with texts like R.L. Stevenson’s Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray and H.G. Wells’s The Island of Doctor Moreau. In these novels the fear explored was of an unruly, defiant, degenerate and entirely amoral animality lying (mostly) dormant within all of us. This was our animal-other associated with the id: passions, appetites and capable of a complete disregard for all taboos and any restraint. As Cyndy Hendershot states, this ‘animal within’ ‘threatened to usurp masculine rationality and return man to a state of irrational chaos’ (The Animal Within, 97). This however, relates the animal to the human in a very specific, anthropocentric way. Non-humans and humans have other sorts of encounters too, and even before Darwin humans have often had an uneasy relationship with animals. Rats, horses, dogs, cats, birds and other beasts have, as Donna Haraway puts it, a way of ‘looking back’ at us (When Species Meet,19).  Continue reading “Call for Submissions: Gothic Animals: Uncanny Otherness and the Animal With-Out”

CFP: Punch Conference: Women in Punch 1841 – 1920

Thursday 2 November 2017, Senate House

Punch: or the London Charivari first appeared in 1841, published as a weekly magazine with a strong political agenda. Although some work has been done on the social reform agenda of Punch, very little is known about women in the magazine. Were there any women contributors? What representations of women appeared in the magazine, both in images and text? Women were certainly a subject for humour and caricature in Punch, but what were the political implications of those comic illustrations? What was the role played by verse in the depiction of women? Did the representation of women change significantly between 1841 and 1910, and if so, how and why? How do the caricatures and/or depictions of women in Punch differ or resemble those in other illustrated papers, such as the Comic Almanack (1835-1853), The Illustrated London News (1842-1989), the Man in the Moon (1847-1849), and Fun (1861-1901)? Queen Victoria subscribed to Punch; did it have many women subscribers and/or readers? How was the ‘New Women’ reported in the pages of the magazine? Was Punch interested in female education or the entry of women into the professions? Continue reading “CFP: Punch Conference: Women in Punch 1841 – 1920”

CFP: ‘War of the Worlds: Transnational Fears of Invasion and Conflict 1870-1933’

One-day international workshop organised by the Invasion Network at Lancaster University, 8th September 2017.

Call for Papers Deadline: 31st July 2017 

Key-note speaker: Professor Emeritus David Glover

Confirmed speakers include: Michael Hughes, Michael Matin and Antony Taylor

Continue reading “CFP: ‘War of the Worlds: Transnational Fears of Invasion and Conflict 1870-1933’”

CFP: Gothic gardens and the ecocritical uncanny, 1850-1920.

Gardens and their contexts were continually reassessed throughout the nineteenth century in form, content and significance as ownership, technologies and affective aesthetics shifted throughout the period. If, as Heather Sullivan posits, ‘place’ should be considered in the light of ‘material processes … continually occurring all around, through, and in us,’ the garden-place is a concentrated site of material processes, of patterns, of bodily interactions and of sensory perception. Gardens occupy spaces where neither industry nor absence are fully realised, and the construction of a garden requires human and non-human negotiation; they are ‘porous’, to quote Catherine Alexander on the permanently transitory nature of gardens. However, the intimacy provided by controlling the space ‘also works as an unsettling reminder of human entanglement with other bodies: plants, animals, microorganisms’, as Niamh Downing reminds us. Favourite spots for hauntings, gardens are already haunted by aspects of what they were, their revelations and their persistence in spite of humankind. Victorian gardens, in the UK and in countries where English-style gardening was popular generate a particularly resonant interaction between matter and the immaterial, between stringent control and its opposite; disintegration, and even violence. Victorian ‘sensation’ fiction provides unnerving images of what might be underground, feeding Sergeant Cuff’s roses, for example, in The Moonstone, or concealing Lady Audley’s secret. Gardens can be cages, mazes of bewilderment, full of shades where sunlight never penetrates. Toru Dutt, away from her beloved Calcutta childhood garden, sees her favourite ‘casuarina tree’ appear like a wished-for ghost, hears it mourn her absence ‘in eerie speech.’ In particular, Victorian literature and art focuses on the relationship between exterior and interior, in bodily materiality, whether real or imagined, in sentient or non-sentient beings. Stacy Alaimo’s concept of ‘trans-corporeality’ has the potential for literal flourishing in gardens. Downing adds that ‘nature’ ‘is always and already uncanny, strange and excessive, especially when we get up close and intimate’. Perhaps there is nothing more intimate, more controlled, than the apparently safe order of flower beds and greenhouses. John Ruskin’s appreciation of Gothic disorder in architecture praised ‘the glory and the ruin of nature’, rather than the ‘inhuman completeness of mastery’; disorder, though, is a creeping thing as well as a glorious expression of freedom.

The essay collection will be published by Manchester University Press, as part of the International Gothic Series.

Papers are invited (6000-8000 words max.) on possible topics with an emphasis in material ecocriticism and ecogothic, which may include but are not limited to:

·         Animal presences in gardens, dead or alive, pets, undomesticated creatures, insects and others; birds, as messengers or harbingers.

·         Children in gardens, or their absence.

·         Trees, their spiritual significance, use as menacing presences, representations of order in otherwise disordered landscapes, their destruction and their potential to destroy or to influence events.

·         Types of plants in Gothic settings; ivy, evergreens, absence or presence of colour, plants that don’t thrive in particular places, significant flowers (e.g. roses, lilies).

·         Water in gardens; wells, ponds, fountains, streams; as uncanny presence, as disposal sites, as lures for the unwary.

·         The material presence of light and dark, sound and silence.

·         Garden buildings, sheds, outhouses and greenhouses, ruined or in working order.

·         Technology and its impact across the 19th century, in gardens and in the subsequent effects on literature; for example, the increasing use of poisons, and machines.

·         ‘Absent’ gardens; ‘secret’, ‘forsaken’, or ‘unloved’ gardens (or portions of gardens) and their representations as natural/unnatural voids or uncanny and persistent presences, or sites of transformation aided by non-human nature.

·         Gardeners, human, non-human and more than human.

·         Public gardens.

·         Garden design as a means of ‘unnatural’ control; materials (and people) used to enforce design schemes and their consequences.

·         ‘Non-native’ species in garden ecologies.


Please send draft or outline submissions, including the paper title, abstract (300 words) and c.v. to Sue Edney by 31st July 2017.

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