Deadline: November 15, 2013
Dates: May 24-27, 2014
Location: Brock University, St. Catherine’s, Ontario, Canada
In the relatively new field of Neo-Victorian studies the status of history is the focus of much debate. Is the recourse to the Victorian period necessarily nostalgic? Can the Victorian period be used to critique racism, violence and homophobia? And what of imaginative reconstructions of the Victorian period in genres such as Steampunk: are novels that reconfigure the Victorian period with contemporary technology and issues “historical” or do they call into question totalizing historical narratives?
What were the uses of history in the Victorian period? The period saw the publication of numerous historical novels following the success of Sir Walter Scott’s “Waverley.” Many novelists, including Charles Dickens, Charles Reade, William Makepiece Thackery, Charles Kingsley, George Eliot and Robert Louis Stevenson all addressed history in their novels. The French Revolution figured largely as a historical warning against revolution in the minds of many Victorian sages, while the Fall of Rome could be used to warn against overweening pride in the Empire. History could figure as nightmare in Gothic novels. Inspired by Ruskin and Morris, many looked back to the Medieval period as a source of values and an alternative to industrialized Britain. This call for papers invites proposals for individual or collaborative papers on the theme of “Victorian Uses and Abuses of History.”
Send 250 word proposals or completed papers for 15-20-minute talks to Martin Danahay.