Material Transgressions: Romantic Bodies, Affects, Genders

Abstract Deadline: October 31, 2016

Proposed Collection CFP from VICTORIA Listserv

Eds. Kate Singer, Mount Holyoke College; Suzanne L. Barnett, Francis Marion
University; Ashley J. Cross, Manhattan College

Current theoretical debates about subjects and objects, bodies and minds,
and genre and gender have explored in detail women’s status as objects and
done much to theorize their efforts to become speaking subjects. But these
discussions can be more transgressive in order to explore the ways in which
Romantic writers in particular challenged the foundational ideas of
materiality that they were given and on which we continue to rely when we
read them in the twenty-first century. For the proposed collection, *Material
Transgressions: Romantic Bodies, Affects, Genders*, we are soliciting
essays that think outside of Romantic ideologies of gender that reiterate
notions of sexed bodies, embodied subjectivity, or stable texts. Instead,
we are interested in essays that examine how Romantic writers rethink the
subject-object relationship not solely to become speaking subjects but also to
challenge the tenets of Enlightenment and Sensibility that defined women
and men at the mercy of biologically sexed bodies, discrete texts, or
mind/body binaries. The writers addressed by this collection engage with
major concerns of British Romanticism—including genres, nature, things,
texts, and performances—in order to challenge the ways representations
limited (literally and in terms of our own interpretations) their writing,
agency, knowledge, and even being. Continue reading


“Fashion and Material Culture in Victorian Fiction and Periodicals”

Abstract Deadline: July 31, 2016

If accepted, Full Essay (5000 words) Due: January 27, 2017

CFP from VICTORIA Listserv

Elizabeth Wilson, in Adorned in Dreams: Fashion and Modernity (2013), speaks of clothes being simultaneously objects and images (ix). Clothes can neither eschew their intimacy with the human body, nor how they map out a personal life course. As a result, their materiality and the performance of dress is a significant pleasure of fiction. As Wilson continues to note, fashion is an aesthetic medium “for the expression of ideas, desires & beliefs circulating in society [and] its function is to resolve formally, at the imaginary level, social contradictions which cannot be resolved” (9). These issues are played out in the fashion plate, cartoon, advert and satirical or sartorial article, as well as the novel.

Fashion’s role within these intertwined narratives is indicative of gender, class, age, mental state, race and nationality, empire, disability, marital status, transgression and moral worth. Not only were characters made recognisable through their dress, but readers of serial fiction encountered them in between adverts, print and patterns. Thus, how dress is depicted in fiction responds to its material paratext. Victorian periodicals observed the fashion seasons, changes in feminine and masculine status, and distinctions between generations, as well as perpetuated the rituals of dress for christening, coming of age, weddings, funerals and mourning. In all, they acknowledged the production, advertising and consuming of clothing. Continue reading

“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.

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The Female Fantastic, 1860-1930: On the Gendered Supernatural in Texts by Women

Abstract Deadline: February 15, 2016

Upon acceptance, full paper due: July 15, 2016

CFP from NCSA Facebook page

Where realism was the signature feature of earlier Victorian fiction, mid-to-late nineteenth-century and early twentieth-century writers increasingly embraced fantastic modes. Rosemary Jackson, in her 1981 Fantasy: The Literature of Subversion, inaugurated the now-ubiquitous truism of literary studies that late Victorian fantastic narratives frequently hold strong – and often covertly revolutionary – metaphorical relations to social concerns. Supernatural and symbolic texts are ideal sites for encryption of radical queries and pervasive anxieties related to gender, sexuality, religion, medicine, science, ethnicity, substance abuse and colonialism (to name a few).

This is an especially persistent trait – one manifested and developed in many directions in the Edwardian and early Modernist fantastic. In supernatural thrillers, ghost stories, science fictions, and amorphous fantasias, counter-cultural angsts find substitutive satisfactions and conflated expression. The uncanny effects of fantastic literature enable this; indirection, obscuration and innuendo are ideal mediums for saying-not-saying things. Indeed, whatever energies crescendo in fantastic literature are exactly those that realism – by default – tends to eclipse, reduce, or normalize. Experiments in form and language, from aestheticism to Modernism, only add to the covert power of fantasy.

Given the substantial scholarship dedicated to non-realist representations written by male writers, this book project will specifically explore women-identified writers’ uses of the fantastic from 1860-1930. Writers like Ouida, Vernon Lee, Virginia Woolf, Rebecca West, Mary Butts, Elizabeth Bowen, and Sylvia Townsend Warner used narratively polymorphous fantastic sub-genres to dramatize their particularly activist arguments and ideas. This provided the flexibility to explore not only the darkest corners of the external world, but also the deepest subterranean secrets of the mind. For not only did women-identified writers wield these forms’ easy strategic cover to subvert the status quo, but they also used them to explore the gendered psyche’s links to imagination, pathology and creative, personal and erotic agency. In addition to providing dynamic presentations of female and gender-queer subjectivity, these texts also illuminate intriguing and complex relationships to key moments in gender(ed) history.

This collection will be submitted to an already-enthusiastic selective academic press. Continue reading

“Strata,” Edited Collection

Deadline: September 30, 2015

CFP Link

The editors invite proposals for essays on the theme of ‘strata’ across English literature in the period 1860-1930. This period saw landmarks in archaeological discovery including the ancient city of Troy in 1868 through to the tomb of Tutankhamen in 1922. In the early twentieth century, the radiometric dating of strata revolutionised geology, while psychology moved into a laboratory setting, and pioneers such as Sigmund Freud developed ground-breaking techniques to penetrate the unconscious. Thus the era was one in which varieties of depths – both literal and figurative – were explored, their treasures exposed, and their secrets made to impact upon the ways in which both the external world and the internal self were perceived.

The editors are particularly interested in essays which marry the two threads of physical (geological / archaeological) and psychological strata.

Essay abstracts (approx. 500 words) and a short biography (up to 100 words) including your name, position and affiliation, should be sent to by 30 September 2015. Longer outlines or drafts are also welcome at this time. The editors aim to notify selected authors by mid-October, and completed essays should be submitted by January 2016. Queries are welcome concerning submission topics.

CFP: Biographies on Early Feminists

Abstract Deadline: December 1, 2015

Chapter Deadline: May 1, 2016 (Draft) & July 1, 2016 (Final)

CFP from VICTORIA Listserv

Proposed manuscript title: A Hall of Mirrors: Multi-biographical Transfigurations of Pre-Twentieth Century British Women Writers

This manuscript will investigate the biases, contradictions, errors, ambiguities, gaps, and historical contexts in biographies of twelve controversial feminist British women who published prior to the twentieth century. Such discrepancies have run rampant, many of them incomprehensively left unchecked and perpetuated from publication to publication. A Hall of Mirrors analyzes the agenda, problems, and strengths of biographies, highlighting the flaws, deficiencies, and influences that have distorted scholars’ understanding of the following women: Margery Kempe, Aphra Behn, Mary Astell, Margaret Cavendish, Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, Mary Wollstonecraft (assigned), Mary Hays, and Catharine Macaulay, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Christina Rossetti, Sarah Grand, and George Eliot, a chapter devoted to each. Others will be considered as well. Besides exposing warped portrayals of these particular provocateurs, this study seeks to demonstrate that biographies often reveal more about the biographer than about the biographee and often reflects the time in which the biography was written instead of the time in which the biographee lived.

Interested authors are invited to submit a 500-word abstract and a list of prior publications to by Dec. 1, 2015. First drafts of full chapters (no more than 7,000 words each) are due by May 1, 2016, and final versions by July 1, 2016. Please do not submit abstracts for previously published works.

Dr. Brenda Ayres

Liberty University
Professor of English and Assistant Director of LU Honors

A Feel for the Text: Affect Theory and Literary Critical Practice

Deadline: October 1, 2015

CFP from NASSR Listserv

Ever since Massumi posited the autonomy of affect and Sedgwick called for us to pay more attention to the felt “texture” of experience, there has been a surge of interest across the humanities and social sciences in how we are affected by and affect our environments.  Affect theorists share an interest in the contingencies of being and in a model of becoming, offering an ontology that accounts for the complexities of lived experience and that promises a space for freedom resistant to the prisonhouse of discourse, to normative ideology, to state thinking.

So far little work has emerged that applies the insights of affect theory to literary analysis or that appraises the usefulness of affect theory to the literary critic.  Aiming to address this gap, this collection seeks essays that consider the explanatory power affect theory might offer us.  What are the contours of affective experience captured in literary texts, the intensities of embodied being that often escape the attention of the critic?  What are the limits of representation, especially as regards fictional characters by definition removed from the quickenings of affect that impinge on physical bodies?  What are the sensual resonances, the aesthetic engagements, the affective investments of readers and writers?  What identities, what affective assemblages-queer, hybrid, transnational-take shape in the spaces opened by heightened emotion?  How might accounting for the circulation of affective energies deepen-or even move us beyond-the insights of cultural materialist, feminist, or postcolonial readings?  If in the past decades criticism has been driven by a hermeneutics of suspicion, how might attending to affect open a way to a more hopeful critique?  Finally, to what extent could or should a turn to affect supplant the turn to discourse, and what are the implications for political critique of calls to embrace a more reparative project by theorists who tend to conceive of affect as pre-personal, as non-representational, and thus as resistant to analysis?

Contributors are encouraged to consider the relevance of any strain of theory to literary analysis, to textual production, to print culture.  History of emotions approaches in dialogue with affect theory (its current lights, its foundational figures) are most welcome, especially those that in historicizing earlier representations of impassioned bodies in literary texts offer perspective on conceptions of affect in circulation today.

Palgrave Macmillan has expressed initial interest in publishing this project as part of the new series “Studies in Affect Theory and Literary Criticism.”  Please email a 500 word abstract and brief cv as attachments to<> by 1 October 2015.

Stephen Ahern
Professor of English
Acadia University

The Occult Imagination in Britain, 1875-1947

Abstract Deadline: June 1, 2015

Article Deadline: August 2016

CFP from Victoria Listserv

The Occult Imagination in Britain, 1875-1947 (Edited Collection)


We seek proposals for an essay collection entitled The Occult Imagination in Britain, 1875-1947, to be proposed to Ashgate’s new Among the Victorians and the Modernists series. Focusing on the development, popular diffusion, and international networks of British occulture between 1875-1947, the interdisciplinary volume will capitalize on the recent surge of scholarly interest in the late Victorian occult revival by tracing the development of its central and residual manifestations through the fin de siècle and two world wars. We aim to challenge the polarization of Victorian and modernist occult art and practice into discrete expressions of either a nostalgic reaction to the crisis of faith or a radical desire for the new. The collection will also map the affinities between popular and elite varieties of occultism in this period, recognizing the degree to which esoteric activities and texts relied on and borrowed from the exoteric sphere.


At the heart of this volume is a flexible understanding of ‘occulture’, which the editors use to signal an understanding of the occult as a system of cultural networks or webs of associations and influences rather than as a monolithic set of beliefs or practices. The collections takes as its historical parameters the 1875 founding of the Theosophical Society by H.P. Blavatsky and H.S. Olcott and the 1947 death of countercultural occultist and notorious “Great Beast” Aleister Crowley. While we welcome proposals on major occult figures, cultural texts, organizations, and phenomena in this period, we are also particularly keen to receive proposals on lesser-known examples of the period’s occult engagement. Possible topics might include, but are by no means limited to:

Continue reading

CFP for George Eliot Volume by Salem Press

Abstract Deadline: February 20, 2015

Article Deadline: July 15, 2015

CFP from VICTORIA Listserv

This call is for abstracts for a collection of new essays on George Eliot and her work. This volume is part of the Critical Insights series published by Salem Press, and the intended readers include undergraduate students and their teachers.

Interested individuals should submit an abstract of approximately 300-400 words to Katie Peel ( for an unpublished essay that takes the approach described in any one of the following areas: Continue reading

“Regional Gothic” Call for Abstracts

Deadline for abstracts: December 1, 2014

Completed Essays due by September 2015

CFP from VICTORIA listserv

Regional Gothic, edited by William Hughes and Ruth Heholt

With the referendum for Scottish Independence scheduled for September 2014 and the Cornish having recently been granted minority status, questions about the dis-unity of the ‘United’ Kingdom are prominent in the contemporary debate regarding nationalism and regional identity. Regional Gothic will explore these fractures and the darker imaginings that come from the regions of Britain.

The British regions, ‘imagined communities’ with fragile and threatened identities and boundaries, carry their own dark sides and repressions. The Gothic preoccupation with borders, invasion, contamination and degeneration imbricates quite naturally with the different and shifting meanings that arise from writings from – and about – the scattered margins of British identity. Locality affects the Gothic and Regional Gothic seeks to explore these specificities. Gothic fictions of the regions may originate from within those territories or be imagined from elsewhere. Yet, whether coming from the inside or the outside, conceptions of the regional can powerfully inform ideas of identity and belonging. And, as Ian Duncan has pointed out, whilst this may sometimes be a positive thing, regionalism can also ‘register a wholesale disintegration of the categories of home, origin, community, belonging’. Continue reading

The Victorian Period in 21st-Century Children’s Literature

Deadline for abstracts/CV/working bibliography: August 1, 2014

5000-7000 word essays due by March 1, 2014

CFP from VICTORIA Listserv:

The Victorian Period in Twenty-First Century Children’s Literature: Representations and Revisions, Adaptations and Appropriations

A significant aim of contemporary literature for young people is to provide a window into a variety of historical periods and cultural milieus. Such representations of the past have educational, creative, and political resonances, reflecting both on historical periods and contemporary values. However, since the turn of the twenty-first century, we seem to have reached a critical mass of works for children that engage the Victorian period in particular.

Perhaps the most visible form that this trend has taken is Neo-Victorianism, a literary and cultural phenomenon that has shaped contemporary fiction for children and young adults through the general prevalence and popularity of Neo-Victorian series such as the Enola Holmes novels and the Gemma Doyle trilogy. A recent special issue on the child in Neo-Victorian Studies also indicates that the critical discussion inspired by this genre has specific implications for studies of youth culture. Continue reading

Sensationalism and the Genealogy of Modernism

Deadline: March 1, 2014

CFP for an Edited Collection: Sensationalism and the Genealogy of Modernism

A vast tradition of literary and theoretical reflections has mapped modernity in the fragmented, synaesthetic experience that characterizes urban life. From the paratactic verses of Wordswoth’s Prelude describing the city of London, to the discussion of the ‘shock’ effect and the hyper-stimultion of the urban sensorium in the works of Walter Benjamin, George Simmel, and, most recently, Ben Singer, the bombardment of ever changing stimuli targeting the perception of the urban flâneur has been set against a tradition of aesthetic and epistemological concern valuing the intuited principle of unity that granted access to truth.
The publishing industry has contributed to this new experience of modernity by transforming the production and dissemination of narrative units through periodical forms that mechanically reproduced the same episodic impressions, often by capitalizing on the shock factor in many genres of popular entertainment. The sensational potential of the plots of both popular fiction, drama, and early cinema have challenged and transformed the discourses of class, gender and national identity that structured the dominant culture. Continue reading

Nineteenth Century Energies

Proposals due: November 15, 2013

Dates: March 27-30, 2014

Location: University of Houston

Entire CFP Link

“We do not exactly know what energy is, but we recognize it,” wrote engineer William Carpenter in 1883. For INCS 2014 (Interdisciplinary Nineteenth Century Studies), the committee solicits proposals that recognize nineteenth-century energies in all their multiple, mutable forms. What made the nineteenth century move, tick, and turn? How were its energies instigated, exchanged, conceived, and converted? Who was most animated, and who sought lethargy? What shapes—literal, figurative, material, textual, painted, embodied—did its energies assume? And how were nineteenth-century energies contained?

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The Male Body in Victorian Literature and Culture

Proposals due: August 31, 2013

Editors: Nadine Muller and Joanne Parsons

Entire CFP Link

The representations of and discourses surrounding the physicality of her male counterpart have begun to be examined only recently. Critics such as Andrew Dowling have questioned whether it is anachronistic to discuss masculinity in the nineteenth century because ‘the topic did not exist in the way we conceive it today’ (Manliness and the Male Novelist, 2001, p.1). He concludes that, while it was not a topic of contemporary debate, the idea of what constituted manliness was deeply embedded within Victorian culture, not least through images of male deviance in the literature of the period. Despite the work completed by Dowling and others (such as John Tosh, James E. Adams and Sander L. Gilman, for example), the breadth and depth of scholarship on Victorian men and masculinities leaves much to be explored.

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Edited Collection Poetry in Painting

Abstract Deadline: December 1, 2013 (if accepted, chapter deadline: May 30, 2014)

Entire CFP Link

Poetry in Painting:  The Lyrical Voice of Pre-Raphaelite Paintings

An Edited Collection
Sophia Andres
This interdisciplinary collection of essays seeks to offer new insights into Victorian culture and society through Pre-Raphaelite perspectives captured in the relationship between Pre-Raphaelite paintings and the poems which inspired them.   Authors are invited to choose paintings by Pre-Raphaelite artists and their associates that have been inspired by poems, or poems inspired by Pre-Raphaelite paintings, and discuss the means by which the textual is transfigured into the visual or the visual into the textual.   The goal of this work is primarily, but not exclusively, twofold: (1) to explore the interpretive perspectives on paintings which poems disclose; (2) to examine the Victorian or modern, cultural or sociopolitical, concerns that inform visual and textual relations inspired by Pre-Raphaelite art.