Victorian Hay Fever Remedies (Don’t try these at home!)

If you’re currently experiencing the sneezy, snotty, itchy, watery-eyed misery of hay fever season, you can take some small comfort in knowing that, even though you feel rotten now, at least you won’t be subjected to some of the bizarre and dangerous ‘remedies’ that were inflicted on Victorian hay fever sufferers.

Causes and Class Bias Continue reading “Victorian Hay Fever Remedies (Don’t try these at home!)”

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: ‘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”

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 


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