“Re-Reading the Fin de Siècle: Richard Marsh, Popular Fiction and Literary Culture, 1890-1915”

Abstract Deadline: February 29, 2016

If chosen, draft deadline: May 31, 2016

From VICTORIA Listserv

Re-Reading the Fin de Siècle: Richard Marsh, Popular Fiction and Literary Culture, 1890-1915
Edited by Victoria Margree, Daniel Orrells and Minna Vuohelainen
We are seeking to secure two additional 7000-word chapters for an essay collection that has at this stage been reviewed and welcomed by a highly reputable UK-based university press. We welcome submissions from both early-career and established scholars.
We like to think we know about the Victorian fin de siècle. We live today with an image of Victorian Britain constantly reproduced in film, television, fiction and fashion. Academic studies ask us to look to the fin de siècle as a mirror upon our own society; as a period in which were established many of the dominant facets of the culture we confront in the early twenty-first century. This collection of essays seeks to question the security of our assumptions about the fin de siècle by exploring the life and works of one of the major creators of this world who has nonetheless been written out of its history. Richard Marsh (1857-1915) published the most popular supernatural thriller of 1897, his novel The Beetle outselling Bram Stoker’s Dracula both then and for several decades to come. A major contributor to the literary and journalistic culture of his time, Marsh helped to shape the genres of fiction with which we are familiar today. Indeed, it is difficult to think of a contemporary author of similar stature who possessed his versatility and longevity. For over twenty-five years he entranced late-Victorian and Edwardian readers with many enormously popular tales of horror, humour, romance and crime; stories across which feature shape-shifting monsters, daring (if sometimes morally dubious) heroes, a lip-reading female detective, and an assortment of objects that come to life. These fictions reflect contemporary themes and anxieties while often offering unexpected or even subversive takes on dominant narratives. This book seeks to understand what Marsh’s success tells us about the culture of a turn-of-the-century Britain that seems at once so different from, and so similar to, our own.

We invite submissions that engage with the following themes and texts:
  • Marsh’s long gothic fiction beyond The Beetle: The Goddess, The Joss, The House of Mystery, A Spoiler of Men
  • Marsh’s ‘weird’ and/ or supernatural short fiction in The Seen and the Unseen, Between the Dark and the Daylight, Marvels and Mysteries
  • Postcolonial readings of Marsh’s fiction
  • Marsh, medicine and science
  • Marsh and fin-de-siècle print culture/ ‘New Grub Street’
  • Marsh and generic hybridity
Submissions should:
  • Provide original scholarship on Marsh’s fiction, extending the scope of Marsh studies beyond The Beetle.
  • Place Marsh in relation to contemporary Victorian and Edwardian writers (popular and/ or highbrow).
  • Explore how Marsh can help us to reinterpret the culture of the fin de siècle by examining his significance in terms of the publishing industry, the periodical press and canonicity, and/ or contemporary discourses concerning, for example, Empire, gender and sexuality, medicine, science and economics.
  • Offer innovative critical readings of Marsh’s work in the context of the fin de siècle period in order to examine how the study of Marsh can productively extend and unsettle common scholarly interpretations of the period.
Submissions guidelines and timeframe
  • By 29 February, 2016: send a 500-word abstract and a 100-word biographical paragraph to minna.vuohelainen@edgehill.ac.uk
  • By 13 March, 2016: we will notify applicants of the outcome.
  • By 31 May, 2016: First drafts of 7000-word essays, inclusive of notes and bibliography, are due. Editing over the summer.

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