Calls for Papers

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

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

Continue reading “CFP: ‘Mind, Matter(s), Spirit: Forms of Knowledge in Victorian Popular Fiction and Culture’”


CFA: Substance Use and Abuse in the Long Nineteenth Century

Editors: Dr Laura Eastlake and Dr Andrew McInnes (Edge Hill University)

 ‘The body (follow me closely here) lies at the mercy of the most omnipotent of all potentates—the Chemist.’

Wilkie Collins, The Woman in White (1859)

We invite proposals to form part of a new edited collection on Substance Use and Abuse in the Long Nineteenth Century. The volume will examine the changing roles of drugs and chemical substances in the history, literature, and medical discourses of a century which witnessed rapid medical and surgical innovation, the growing use of stimulants and sedatives, and narratives linking creativity, criminality and substance use. This collection encourages interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary approaches to the topic as well as literary and historical analyses.

Topics may include, but are not limited to:

  • Addiction and excess: Alcohol, tobacco, opiates, cocaine, ether, chloroform and other compounds
  • Psychoactive substances, hallucinogenics, pharmacology
  • New drug treatments, therapies, medical technologies, pain and pain management
  • Concepts of stimulation and sedation
  • Drugs and creativity or criminality
  • Substances and the media: celebrity culture, advertising,
  • Thomas de Quincey, Coleridge, Keats, Wilkie Collins, L. T. Meade, Conan Doyle
  • Novels, sensation fiction, and literature as addiction
  • Gendered representations of substance use
  • Aphrodisiacs, appetite and their suppressants
  • Global perspectives on nineteenth-century substance use
  • Substances and the military, empire, trade, war
  • Neo-Romantic or Neo-Victorian representations of substance use


Please send 500-word abstracts to  by Monday 11th February 2019. Submissions should also include a brief author bio and up to 5 keywords for your article.

This volume has received provisional interest from Manchester University Press and selected abstracts will form part of a full proposal to be submitted to the publisher in Spring 2019. Full chapter submissions will be c.7000 words in length and due August 2019.

Please see our website for more information.

CFP: Visuality and the Theatre in the Long Nineteenth Century

Conference at the University of Warwick, Thursday 27 – Saturday 29 June 2019

Nineteenth-Century theatre is known for the visual emphasis of its staging practices. Responding to audience demand, theatres used sophisticated, innovative technologies to create a range of spectacular effects, from convincing evocations of real places to visions of the fantastical and the supernatural. Theatre spectacle was part of a wider explosion of imagery in this period, which included not only ‘high’ art such as painting, but also new forms such as the illustrated press and optical entertainments like panoramas, dioramas, and magic lantern shows.

The range and popularity of these new forms attests to the centrality of visuality in this period. Indeed, scholars have argued that the nineteenth century witnessed a widespread transformation of conceptions of vision and subjectivity. Theatrical spectacle was at the centre of this new, commercial, trans-medial, popular visual culture; yet there has been no major work to address this area since Martin Meisel’s seminal study, Realizations: Narrative, Pictorial and Theatrical Arts in Nineteenth-Century England, of 1983.

We invite proposals for papers that consider new ways of thinking about stage spectacle, its meanings, its relationship to a wider visual culture, and its spectators. We aim to foster cross-disciplinary discussion of this topic and welcome submissions from scholars of disciplines including (but not limited to) theatre history, art history, visual culture, cultural geography, and history.

Papers may address (but are not confined to) the following questions/topics:

  • What was new and experimental about the popular stage spectacle of this period?
  • How far were increased connections between theatre and visual art in this period rooted in popular (as opposed to elite) culture?
  • How did the transformation of urban space and other aspects of modernity impact on theatrical spectacle and its reception?
  • How can theories of perception and visuality enable us to rethink the nature of theatrical spectacle in this period?
  • How did stage spectacle create or contribute to the embodied experience of being an audience member?
  • How did audiences understand and respond to stage spectacle? Might stage spectacle work independently of (or even against) the meanings of text?
  • Popular spectacle continues to be associated with the notion of ‘passive viewing’ and political What evidence is there for the agency of spectators in the active construction of meaning?
  • How did the visual culture of theatre travel transnationally?

Please send proposals of 200 words and biographies of 100 words to by Thursday 28 February 2019. Speakers will be asked to present papers of 20 minutes with questions and discussion at the end.

This conference is organized by Jim Davis, Kate Holmes, Kate Newey, and Patricia Smyth as part of a three-year AHRC-funded project, ‘Theatre and Visual Culture in the Long Nineteenth Century’, examining theatre spectacle and spectatorship in this period. The main focus is on Britain, but France provides a comparative study.

CFP: Fraud and Forgery

Submission due date: 15 January 2019

Victorian Review invites submissions for a special issue devoted to the topic of fraud and forgery in the long nineteenth century (1789-1914). This issue will consider representations of fraud and forgery in British literature and culture, ranging from thematic representations of these subjects in literature, their pervasiveness in economic cultures and discourses, to their entanglement with the processes of literary, artistic and cultural production.

Possible topics may include (but are not limited to):

  • The body: disguise; mistaken identity; the signature; impersonation; evidence of the senses; the body as text; misleading the senses; the body as evidence; sexual fraud and forgery; forged signatures
  • The child: illegitimate children; fraud and forgery in children’s literature; the child as forged ‘text’; children and trickery; child fraudsters
  • Love and marriage: bigamy; polygamy; fraudulent marriage contracts or vows; marital falsehoods; inheritance and the ‘marriage market’
  • Death: fraudulent deaths; death and authority; inheritance
  • Politics: political fraud and forgery; acts of censorship; mendacious politicians; political satire
  • Gender: cross-dressing; the gendering of fraud; gendered susceptibility to fraud and forgery
  • The spiritual and supernatural: spiritualism as fraud; the legitimacy of supernatural phenomena; spiritual means of divining ‘truth’; religion as moral economy; discursive overlap between religious ideas and the semantics of finance
  • Financial fraud and forgery: speculation; gambling; counterfeit money; relationship between financial writing and fiction; ideas of credit; paper money and the gold standard; financial bubbles and joint stock companies; trust formation and advertising
  • Counterfeit natures: Replacement food products; false medicine; fraudulent trade in livestock and animals
  • Genres and authorship: poetry and the poetics of monetary meaning; the authority of fiction; periodicals and authorship; financial narratives and ‘it-narratives’; pseudonyms
  • Paratexts: images and documents as evidence in literary narratives; maps; forged documents
  • Neo-Victorian and other anachronistic narratives: imitations of Victorian style and genre; adaptations or dramatisations of Victorian works.

Articles must be between 5000 and 8000 words and formatted according to MLA (8th edition) guidelines. Please submit manuscripts in Word-compatible format to the editors, Dr. Elly McCausland (University of Oslo, Norway) and Jakob Gaardbo Nielsen (Aarhus University, Denmark) by 15 January 2019 at

CFP: Maritime Spaces, Shows, and the Nineteenth-Century City

Friday 12 April 2019 | University College Cork | Call for Papers

Keynote Speakers: Graeme Milne, Senior Lecturer in Modern History, University of Liverpool, & Clare Pettitt, Professor of Nineteenth Century Literature and Culture, King’s College London

In recent decades, circum-Atlantic and global discourses have pushed us as scholars in the humanities to reappraise the place of the maritime, and its effects, in our conception of the nineteenth century. Writers, artists, and audiences were closer to the sea and shipping, both figuratively and literally, than we once thought, leading us to examine how this relationship shaped the thoughts, perceptions, and practices of port citizens across the Atlantic archipelago.

This interdisciplinary one-day conference, which will also feature a staged reading of selected scenes from a nautical melodrama, is envisaged as the first in a series of fora in future years that will provide a space for nineteenth-centuryists in Ireland researching a broad geographical range of literary contexts.

Please submit abstracts (max. 300 words) for standard twenty minute papers, with a brief biography, to by Friday 1 February 2019. Possible topics include, but are by no means limited to:

– Themes of (water-based) mobility

– Cities/literature/theatre and the maritime

– Migration and movement of people/goods

– Maritime identities (personal, local, civic)

– Perceptions of dockland spaces

– Social hierarchies of dockland labour

– Trade unionism and the docks

For more information please visit or contact one of the organisers,

CFP: Neo-Victorian Madness

Contributions are invited for an edited collection in the Neo-Victorian Series (Brill│Rodopi) on the theme of Neo-Victorian Madness. Sensational narratives of disturbed minds constitute a recurrent and prominent focus of neo-Victorian criticism, hearkening back to Jean Rhys’s 1966 publication of Wide Sargasso Sea and even earlier texts such as Marghanita Laski’s The Victorian Chaise-Longue (1953). Kate Mitchell has even referred to neo-Victorianism’s “compulsive reworking of nineteenth-century madness”, especially in relation to “criminality and deviance” (2015). Certainly, case studies, mad murderers, lunatic doctors, social dis/ease, asylums, and mentally disturbed individuals proliferate in neo-Victorian literature, drama and film. This volume will highlight the self-conscious re-visions, adaptations, and legacies of nineteenth-century discourses of madness and the latter’s continuing relevance to present-day concerns and socio-cultural debates about escalating mental health issues. Potential neo-Victorian novels for discussion may include Alias Grace (1996) by Margaret Atwood, A Great and Terrible Beauty (2003) by Libba Bray, The Alienist (1994) by Caleb Carr, The Meaning of Night (2006) by Michael Cox, The Crimson Petal and the White (2002) by Michael Faber, The Asylum (2013) by John Harwood, Mary Reilly (1990) by Valerie Martin, Fingersmith (2002) by Sarah Waters, and The Professor and the Madman (1998) by Sion Winchester, among others. This collection also welcomes contributions on transmedia and multi-media adaptations, including on graphic novels, such as From Hell (1999) by Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell, and on films and TV series, such as Stonehearst Asylum (2014), Penny Dreadful (2014-16), Alias Grace (2017) and The Alienist (2018).  Continue reading “CFP: Neo-Victorian Madness”

CFP: Aesthetic Time, Decadent Archives

Goldsmiths, University of London
18-19 July 2018


Aestheticism and Decadence are fundamentally preoccupied with time and archives, with medievalism, apocalypticism, fallen Classical civilizations, as well as with collections and connoisseurship. Aesthetes turn to the past as a locus of utopian renewal, and Decadents experience their historical moment in terms of exhaustion and decline. The Decadent literary tradition has come to be associated with a queer vision of temporality, an anti-progressive sensibility that rejects teleology and futurity, and scholarship on Aestheticism and Decadence has cast into question Modernist notions of literary history that stress novelty and rupture. Yet, even as Aesthetes and Decadents see themselves as living in a fin-du-monde/fin-du-globe moment, they are deeply preoccupied with history and with collecting and documenting. Indeed, Decadent literature often resembles archives or takes on a catalogue-like form. J.-K. Huymans’s novel À rebours, for example, functions as an extensive catalogue of outré tastes and serves as both inspiration and reference resource for subsequent Decadent authors. The ‘bibliophilic dandyism’ of Des Esseintes, as Octave Uzanne described it, was a metaphor for a relentless egoism that finds satisfaction only in the archive. In addition, scholars of Aestheticism and Decadence studies have for many years been deeply engaged with archival work, with the disinterring of hidden histories and figures, and the construction of digital archives that allow for a new vision of literary history. Continue reading “CFP: Aesthetic Time, Decadent Archives”

CFP: George Eliot 2019: An International Bi-Centenary Conference 

Date: 17–19 July 2019

Location: College Court, University of Leicester

Plenary Speakers: Professor Rosemary Ashton (UCL) and Professor Nancy Henry (University of Tennessee, Knoxville)

Deadline for proposals: 14 January 2019

Call for papers

This conference will examine the legacy of George Eliot alongside trends in contemporary critical work, bringing together scholars from around the world to mark the bicentenary of her birth. We invite proposals for papers and for 3-4 person panels on any subject relating to Eliot and her work, her influence on and relationships with her contemporaries, and the critical and cultural effects of her writing. Eliot’s own range of interests were encyclopaedic and global: the conference organisers welcome proposals reflecting this scope and depth. We invite proposals from researchers at all career stages from a variety of disciplinary backgrounds and welcome submissions from creative writers.

A guided tour of sites associated with the novelist and her works, including Griff House and the private estate of Arbury Hall, will be on offer as part of the conference, as will early career scholar networking and optional mentoring by senior academics.

Proposals for individual papers (300 words) and panels (1000 words) should be submitted to by 14 January 2019. Applicants should include a brief biographical note of up to 150 words. Continue reading “CFP: George Eliot 2019: An International Bi-Centenary Conference “

CFP: ‘Ailing Empires: Medicine, Science, and Imperialism’, Edinburgh

Date: 31st May 2019

Location: University of Edinburgh

Deadline for Proposals: 8th February 2019

Ailing Empires: Medicine, Science, and Imperialism: Interdisciplinary Symposium

Keynote speaker: Dr Samiksha Sehrawat (Newcastle)

Twitter: @AEconference

2018 has begun as a period of renewed public and academic debate over the history and legacies of colonialism. Among their many faults, detached inquiries regarding the supposed benefits of colonial endeavours, however, miss the significance of everyday experiences of empire as expressed in a range of historical, literary, and visual evidence.

‘Ailing Empires’ is a one-day symposium that seeks to explore the extent to which narratives of health, medicine and science are inextricably bound with experiences of empire and colonialism throughout the nineteenth and twentieth-centuries. Through focus on a range of colonial contexts, textualities and sources, this symposium hopes to address questions such as: How did different colonial empires instrumentalise medicine and science? What role did healthcare and/or science play within the respective colonial project? Is ‘medical imperialism’ a useful term across different colonial contexts? In what way(s) did exchanges between Western and non-Western medical knowledge function as contact zones? How can scholarship engage with legacies of colonial medicine in the postcolonial age?

In order to explore these questions, we invite papers and presentations from a variety of disciplinary and comparative perspectives from across the humanities, and particularly encourage submissions from postgraduate and early-career researchers.

Continue reading “CFP: ‘Ailing Empires: Medicine, Science, and Imperialism’, Edinburgh”

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