The present-day globalization of Victorian writing can be traced back to the extraordinary plasticity of its textual and visual forms, as it travelled from place to place and media to media. Such temporal, geographical, cultural and intermedial persistence is the subject of this seminar which considers the different modes of resistance of Victorian aesthetics, ideology and technology within the nineteenth-century as well as survival and rebirth in later times and digital form. The idea of the seminar is to allow speakers to discuss their area of research with others through a study of texts and chosen images, and thus open out their subject to other corpora, centuries, disciplines. A respondent is chosen for each session to allow a dialectical approach which might enrich and develop the project of the speaker. Texts and images are chosen for each session and made available on our blog beforehand.

This seminar takes place at the Université Paris Diderot and is supervised by Professor Sara Thornton as part of the LARCA research centre (UMR 8225 du CNRS).

For further information, contact Clémence Folléa (clemence.follea@gmail.com), Estelle Murail (estelle_murail@yahoo.fr) or Róisín Quinn-Lautrefin (roisinql@hotmail.fr).

The seminar takes place once a month at 5.30 pm at the following address:

Bâtiment “Olympe-de-Gouges”, salle 347, 8 place Paul-Ricoeur, 75013, métro/RER Bibliothèque François-Mitterrand.

All are welcome!



Session 47 of our seminar will take place on Wednesday 29 November 2017 at the Université Paris Diderot-Paris 7 (Bâtiment Olympes de Gouges, salle 347, 17h30-19h30).

Dunlaith Bird (Université Paris 13) will give a paper entitled “‘Nevertheless, she persisted’: Recidivist Vagabondes in Ninteenth-Century Anglophone Legislation and Literature.” Her respondent will be Estelle Murail  (ICP / Université Paris Diderot)

Abstract: “Nevertheless, she persisted”: Recidivist Vagabondes in Nineteenth-Century Anglophone Legislation and Literature

In nineteenth-century legislation and literature, the harshest punishments, judicial and moral, are regularly reserved for the female vagabond. The recidivist vagabonde is treated even more violently: shaved, whipped, incarcerated indefinitely, or medicated heavily, the penalties increasing with each successive offence.

This paper will explore both the reasons for such excessive vagabondage and for the ensuing violence: what motivates these women to move? Given the almost universal effacement of any first-person narrative, what reading can we give of their actions? Can the legal, medical, and literary backlash these figures endure be read as a reaction against the vagabonde‘s overflowing sexual appetites, as Wagniart suggests? Or as part of a wider social rejection of female mobility in the nineteenth century, with the Angel in the home, and the vagabonde in the asylum? This paper will offer close readings of contemporary journalism and legislation, as well as medical and literary texts, in order to elucidate the motivations and mistreatments of the persistent vagabonde.

We will work with extracts from the following texts:
– Freya Stark, Baghdad Sketches (Illinois: Marlboro Press, 1996 [1933])
– Freya Stark, The Southern Gates of Arabia (1936)

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