War and Peace: Victorian Popular Fiction Association’s 10th Annual Conference
Institute of English Studies, Senate House, London, UK, 3-7 July 2018
Deadline for proposls: 2 March 2018
- Mariaconcetta Costantini, G. d’Annunzio University of Chieti-Pescara
- Carolyn Oulton, Canterbury Christ Church University
- 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
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: email@example.com
Deadline for proposals: Friday 2nd March 2018
(posted 4 October 2017)
Keynote speaker: Professor Margaret Stetz
(University of Delaware)
This one-day conference will investigate the relationships between women and parody in the British Isles. It is organized by the research team CORPUS (EA 4295) at the University of Picardy and will be held at the Logis du Roy (Amiens, France) on Friday 6th July 2018.
Parody, a simultaneous act of revival and revision, is double-coded. Imitating the original work implies familiarity with the original work and includes reactivation and renewal. The parodic ethos is partly “respectful or deferential” (Linda Hutcheon) and imitation has a large part to play in literary apprenticeship, yet repetition with an element of transformation can also have comical, satirical and distancing effects. The historical distance between the parodist and the imitated text takes on a reflexive and critical form when the work is revisited with a view to question or comment. In “claiming and appropriating” other texts (Julia Kristeva), the parodist situates himself or herself in relation to the original author. The purpose of this conference is to investigate the part played by gender in this positioning.
Women scholars are well-represented among theorists and analysts of parody, but the engagement of women authors with parody has been neglected. However, the British literary tradition includes many highly respected – and parodiable – female authors while, for many women, writing has meant “revision (…) an act of survival” (Adrienne Rich). Women’s writing has indeed often been judged secondary in intention, scope and even literary value. So, how can women’s engagement with parody be read? Does the under-representation of women writers in anthologies of parody, both as parodied authors and as parodists, reflect the masculine domination and appreciation of the Western literary canon? Do cases of conscious cross-gender parody work to denounce clichés of femininity and masculinity, thus destabilizing gender (Judith Butler)? What is at stake in women’s parodies of each other? An anxiety of influence? Rivalry? Differing perceptions of what femininity is? Can the question of female parodies be historicized?
Please send proposals (300 words) for 20-minute papers with a title and a short bio-bibliographic note to firstname.lastname@example.org by December 17th.
We will consider papers on parodies that are both literary and visual: fiction, poetry, drama, graphic novels as well as other media and the history of publishing.
Possible topics include but are not limited to:
- Women parodying men
- Women parodying women
- Parodies of femininity and écriture féminine
- Female literary models and their imitators
- Gendered revisions of canonical texts
- Women in anthologies of parody
- Women during the Victorian “golden age of parody”
- The politics of parodic humour
- Uncertain authorship and literary hoaxes
(posted 19 July 2017)
Romantic E-Scapes: Popular Romance in the Digital Age
University of the Balearic Islands, Spain, 9-11 July 2018
Deadline for proposal: 28 February 2018
This conference is organized in the context of the research project “The politics, aesthetics and marketing of literary formulae in popular women’s fiction: History, Exoticism and Romance” (HER) and aims to discuss recent developments in the production, distribution and consumption of popular romance that account for its escalating popularity and its increasing complexity. How comes that the genre’s traditional formulae are thriving in the murky waters of cultural industries in the global marketplace, particularly in light of the new ways and challenges of the Digital Age?
Evidence has it that the scope, production and range of popular romance has continued to diversify throughout the late 20th and early 21st century, reaching an astonishing variety of imprints, categories and subgenre combinations. As an example, Ken Gelder lists the different “brand portfolios” (2004: 46) from the most popular romance publishing houses with series categories that identify subgenres of romance: Modern, Tender, Sensual, Medical, Historical and Blaze (Mills and Boon); or Desire, Sensation, and Intrigue (Silhouette). Beyond these, the list goes on to include other developments or subgenre combinations from the more classical, gothic, thriller or fantasy romance to the more reader oriented Chick Lit, Black (or African-American) romance and the, arguably, more radically modern Lesbian or Gay romance, etc. High in our agenda is then to interrogate the roots and consequences of this diversification of generic traits and target readers within the more general framework of Global Postmillennial cultural developments. Likewise we also aim to examine the political reasons that inspire and transpire from the industry’s imaginative and aggressive commercial and authorial strategies.
Departing from dismissive academic analyses and conventional understandings of popular romance as lowbrow, superficial and escapist, conference participants are asked to unpack the multiple practices and strategies behind the notion of “Romantic Escapes”. A critical or political reengagement with the recreation of these temporal or spatial settings, whether idyllic and exotic locations, specific historical contexts or alternative futuristic scenarios, can help rethink popular romance beyond the mere act of evasive reading or the unreflective consumption of literary romantic experiences, resituating the genre as a useful tool for sociocultural discussion (Radway 1984; Illouz 1997). In this sense, contributions may engage with the multiple ways which the escapist romantic experience can be put to use in more “serious” formats (e.g. Neo-Victorian, historical fiction and historiographic metafiction) and thus with the implications of adapting well-known romantic patterns, formulae or conventions to more culturally “prestigious” genres.
Moving on from these contested acts of escapism, and expanding on Appadurai’s well-known formulation of “scapes” as the multiple “dimensions of global cultural flow” (1996: 33), conference participants are also encouraged to explore the multivalent meanings of these “Romancescapes”, that is “the multiple worlds which are constituted by the historically situated imaginations of persons and groups spread around the globe” (1996: 33) articulated in ever increasing complex and diverse literary formulations of the romantic experience. What are the effects of the global flows of symbolic and cultural capital on the genre? To what extent are romantic narratives determined by specific local conditions and “situated knowledges” (Haraway 1988)?
The impact of these glocal forces is evident in the writing, teaching, translation, production, reception and marketing of romance as mediated by the global “E-scapes” (Rayner 2002) of the digital age. The ever-changing demands of the glocal literary marketplace have also altered the conventional roles of writers, readers, and publishers, now blurred in practices such as self-publishing, specific subgenres like fan fiction, or increasingly influential spaces of literary discussion like virtual book clubs. Participants who may want to venture off the beaten tracks of the conventional romance industry are also welcome to explore and chart these new E-scapes of popular romance.
We invite scholarly submissions that address these and other related topics in relation to any of the multiple sub-genres of popular romance as well as the multifarious “romancescapes” in other popular narrative media. Contributors may address these topics from different critical perspectives and disciplines: cultural studies, gender studies, postcolonial studies, neo-Victorian studies, comparative literature, and digital humanities, among others.
Please submit a 200-word abstract and a short biographical note for a twenty-minute paper by 28 February 2018. Submissions of thematic panels are also welcome.
Submissions should be sent to Dr. Paloma Fresno-Calleja (University of the Balearic Islands) (email@example.com)
For more information visit http://her.uib.es/romantic-e-scapes/
(posted 19 September 2017)
Alliance, Antagonism, Authorship: Eleventh International Scott Conference
Université Paris-Sorbonne, France, 10-13 July 2018
Deadline for proposals: 30 September 2017
“Children know, / Instictive taught, the friend and foe” (The Lady of the Lake)
Walter Scott’s ties with France were personal as well as intellectual and artistic. His wife was of French birth and his interest in France was manifested both in his non-fiction (with his Life of Napoleon and the final Series of Tales of a Grand-father) and in his novels, since he chose 15th-century France as the location of his first novel set on the European continent. While Quentin Durward took some time in achieving success in Britain, its French translation, Quentin Durward, ou l’Écossais à la cour de Louis XI was immediately popular and inspired French writers and artists. Victor Hugo, for instance, wrote a laudatory review of the novel in La Muse française, the chief organ of the French Romantic movement, and partly conceived his own Notre-Dame de Paris as a response to it. Eugène Delacroix, one of the foremost French Romantic artists, drew several sketches based on scenes from Scott’s novel and painted L’Assassinat de l’évêque de Liège (The Murder of the Bishop of Liège, 1829, musée du Louvre).
Given that the eleventh international Scott conference will take place in Paris, the Auld Alliance seemed an obvious choice for the general theme of the conference. As the French poet and political writer Alain Chartier declared in 1428, sixty years before the events described in Quentin Durward, ‘this alliance was not written on a sheepskin parchment but engraved in man’s live flesh, written not with ink but with blood’. While these words underline the depth of the relation uniting France and Scotland they also ominously hint at the violent wartime context in which the treaty was concluded for the first time.
The typical pattern of Scott’s plots is one in which the main protagonist is caught in a conflict between two opposite forces embodying different stages in the evolution of society. As a result, antagonism is one aspect of his work that has been the focus of much critical study, especially from a Marxist angle, following Georg Luckács’s seminal work on the historical novel. It might however still be possible to engage in this field by resorting, for instance, to contemporary debates on the values of agonistic rhetorics – which some critics see as a means to justify domination while others, on the contrary, stress “the affirmative dimension of contestation” (Bonnie Honig, Political Theory and the Displacements of Politics, 1993: 15). The polyphonic – sometimes even verging on the carnivalesque – quality of Scott’s works has, in the past few decades, been emphasized to qualify earlier critical suggestions that the Waverley Novels were a teleological tale of Union.
Acknowledging the agonistic structure of Scott’s texts and being aware that early analyses of Scott’s works as straightforward, unequivocal unionist propaganda are now perceived as an over-simplification, should not, however, lead us to reject the notion of alliance as a potentially meaningful trope to analyse his texts, especially if we choose to define this notion of alliance not simply in terms of its political dimension, but, more broadly, as a bond or connection, an affinity. Speakers are therefore invited to consider such issues as national or international cultural dialogue, within Scott’s own body of works as well as between his work and that of other artists. Indeed, on the back of A.-J.-B. Defauconpret’s immensely influential French translations, the international success of the Waverley novels was such that they influenced many of his contemporaries – as well as subsequent generations of authors – at home and abroad. Works such as Louis Maigron’s Le Roman historique à l’époque romantique : Essai sur l’influence de Walter Scott (1898) or, more recently, Ian Duncan’s Scott’s Shadow : The Novel in Romantic Edinburgh (2007), The Reception of Sir Walter Scott in Europe, ed. Murray Pittock (2007), Richard Maxwell’s The Historical Novel in Europe 1650-1950 (2009) or Ann Rigney’s The Afterlives of Walter Scott: Memory on the Move (2012) have demonstrated that studying Scott’s works from a comparative literature or inter-textual perspective – or even within a broader cultural and social framework – can be most illuminating. In the wake of the ‘Reworking Walter Scott’ Conference (Dundee, April 2017), we will not only welcome papers analysing the influence of Scott on other writers – or the latters’ resistance to his ascendancy – but also papers that study the dialogue between Scott’s works and all forms of adaptation or secondary authorship.
Scott’s historical works and his involvement in contemporary politics will clearly offer opportunities to discuss his conception of the importance and value of alliances between countries – including Scotland’s complex position, torn between Anglophile and Francophile parties. It might also be interesting to compare the views he expresses in his fiction with the ones he expresses in his non-fictional works to determine whether they coincide or follow different logics. Finally, studying his work as a ballad collector and his social or epistolary connexions with most of the other great writers and the great publishing houses of the period will make it possible to see whether he saw writing as a collaborative or competitive activity.
These are of course only a few lines along which the theme of alliance can be interpreted and potential speakers should feel free to offer other interpretations of or variations on this theme.
Please note that the deadline for this conference is unusually early. Unfortunately, the French academic calendar implies that we should be able to finalise the programme by mid-October 2017 in order to book rooms for the conference and apply for funding.
Speakers are therefore invited to send a 300 word proposal to the following address by September 30th 2017: firstname.lastname@example.org
(posted 1 June 2017)