Calls for Papers

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.

Event: Victorian Impacts

22-23 June 2017

A two-day event at the Universities of Glasgow and Strathclyde. Organised under the aegis of the Scottish Centre for Victorian and Neo Victorian Studies (

Continue reading “Event: Victorian Impacts”

Call for Submissions: Making Masculinity: Craft, Gender, and Material Production in the Long Nineteenth-Century

Guest Editors:  Dr Katie Faulkner (The Courtauld Institute of Art and Arcadia University) Dr Freya Gowrley (University of Edinburgh)

This special issue of Nineteenth-Century Gender Studies will use ‘craft’ as a framework for understanding how various forms of masculinity were constructed and expressed during the long nineteenth-century (1789-1914) in Britain and internationally.

Deadline for completed manuscripts 30th October 2017 Continue reading “Call for Submissions: Making Masculinity: Craft, Gender, and Material Production in the Long Nineteenth-Century”



OCTOBER 13-14, 2017


“The reaction of joy was as passionate as his grief had been, and he hugged his recovered gems to his bosom.” The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, “The Adventure of the Beryl Coronet”
“…Suffering has been stronger than all other teaching, and has taught me to understand what your heart used to be. I have been bent and broken, but – I hope – into a better shape.” Great Expectations

Continue reading “CFP: VICTORIAN RECOVERY”

CFP: H. G. Wells and Bernard Shaw: Socialism and the Irrational

H. G. Wells and Bernard Shaw: Socialism and the Irrational
London School of Economics and Political Science, London WC2

23 September 2017

Close friends and – at times – bitter rivals, H. G. Wells and Bernard Shaw stood in the public mind for the belief that men and women could be persuaded by rational argument to support Fabian socialism, scientific and industrial development, and world citizenship. They took up controversial and often conflicting positions on internationalism and revolution (especially the Russian revolution), war, feminism, democracy, human rights and much else. But there are limits to rationalism in both writers’ thought. Continue reading “CFP: H. G. Wells and Bernard Shaw: Socialism and the Irrational”


Tuesday 5 September 2017, Leeds Beckett University
The simultaneous awareness of past and present evident in historical crime fiction seems to offer a means of gaining a new perspective on the present through the past.” – John Scaggs (2005: 134)
Confirmed Keynote: Dr Heather Shore (Leeds Beckett University)
Confirmed Keynote: Frances Brody (Author)


CFP: ‘Mobilising Militant Pasts: Histories of Protest, Unrest and Insurrection in Politics and Culture’

King’s College London
31 August – 1 September 2017
Call for Papers
The extent of retrospection in culture and politics is a topic oft-commented upon and lamented. Public engagements with history and heritage are frequently lumpenly categorised as ‘nostalgia’: sanitised, selective, reassuring. Yet this obscures the sheer diversity of militant pasts in the present, and of the contexts and processes that facilitate their re-manifestation. Che Guevara’s face adorns posters and t-shirts worldwide, while Garibaldi gets dunked in tea. Historic campaigns for racial and gender equality have been regularly dramatized, including in the recent films Selma (2014) and Suffragette (2015). Internecine violence is frequently documented, and its martyrs commemorated, in the fabric of the physical environments where it occurred, as the murals of Belfast and Derry testify. Such remembering and half-remembering of histories of divided societies, of protest, unrest and insurrection, is far from inherently safe, nor easily categorised.

Continue reading “CFP: ‘Mobilising Militant Pasts: Histories of Protest, Unrest and Insurrection in Politics and Culture’”

CFP: Picturing the Reader: Reading and Representation in the Long Nineteenth Century

Picturing the Reader: Reading and Representation in the Long Nineteenth Century
A one-day interdisciplinary conference 
Liverpool Hope University, UK,
7 September 2017
Keynote speaker: Professor Mary Hammond, University of Southampton

Continue reading “CFP: Picturing the Reader: Reading and Representation in the Long Nineteenth Century”

CFP: Medicine and Mystery: The Dark Side of Science in Victorian Fiction

A Victorian Popular Fiction Association – NUI Galway Study Day

8th June 2017 National University of Ireland, Galway

Key-note speakers

Ms Sarah Wise, Author

Mr Alexander Black, NUI Galway – The Early Years of Anatomy in Galway

Exhibition – “Medicine and Mystery in C19th Galway”, Curated by Anna Gasperini and Paul Rooney

Conference website:

Twitter: @meds_myst19

Continue reading “CFP: Medicine and Mystery: The Dark Side of Science in Victorian Fiction”

Blog at

Up ↑