CFP: Wounded Bodies, Tortured Souls: Narratives of Victorian and Neo-Victorian Trauma

Wounded Bodies, Tortured Souls: Narratives of Victorian and Neo-Victorian Trauma
Postgraduate Conference, University of Portsmouth, 14th June 2012
Keynote Speaker: Dr Marie-Luise Kohlke, University of Swansea
In recent years the study of trauma has become central to contemporary conceptualisations of personal and collective narratives of pain and loss. Often identified as a ‘modern’ phenomenon, a product of industrialisation and modernisation, trauma emerged as a distinct pathology alongside the rise of a middle-class readership, and accounts of physical and psychological wounds abound in Victorian fiction. In turn, Victorian tropes of trauma have been appropriated by the neo-Victorian novel, often in ways which offer a self-conscious or critical engagement with past representations.
This conference seeks to examine the intersection between the physical and psychical representation of trauma in both Victorian and Neo-Victorian literature. It aims to explore the importance of the relationship between the mind and the body, as well as the relationship between Victorian literary representations and neo-Victorian appropriations. We welcome papers examining representations of trauma in Victorian and neo-Victorian fiction, as well as contributions from the fields of literary theory, cultural studies, and the visual arts.
Possible areas of interest include, but are not limited to:
  • Victorian trauma narratives
  • Pain in Victorian art, literature and culture
  • Neo-Victorian traumatic appropriations
  • ‘Wound Culture’
  • Traumatic performances (race/gender/sexuality, etc.)
  • Imperial trauma
Please send abstracts of no more than 300 words for papers lasting 20 minutes, and a brief biographical note (100 words), to Emily Hunt ( or Alex Messem ( by 16 March 2012.
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