CFP: “Communities”, Cergy-Pontoise University, France (April 6, 2018)

Dear all,

The deadline for submission of proposals for the NNCN Day Conference on ‘Communities’ – Cergy-Pontoise University, France (April 6, 2018) – has been extended to December 15, 2017.

Hope you can make it!

Strand 1: History and Victorian Culture

In the long nineteenth century, the concept of community developed in opposition to the state. Influenced by Burke, reformers aspired to create a feeling of belonging. Other initiatives came from civil society, the social organism being considered an alternative to state power and other power centres such as local potentates like landlords and factory owners. Some community activities like charitable initiatives and church activities were deemed innocuous or even beneficial by those in power. However, they allowed communities to acquire the organising skills needed for political, social and even revolutionary activities.

In order to explore these trends in UK society in the nineteenth century we seek papers on different groups which attempted to organise collectively through, for instance, Friendly Societies, unions, cooperatives or churches. These groups are wide-ranging and could include class-consciousness, hobbies, organised sport and other means of community-forming and bonding. Papers could also explore the reasons why individuals and communities banded together through common interests, values or objectives such as political movements, religious movements, debating clubs and reading rooms.

Papers could also explore at a national or international level the social, economic, political or intellectual mutations that led to concepts of a national community, but which conversely also questioned it. Interactions between crises of faith and the organicist conception of society and between science, religion and politics, landlords and tenants, workers and employers will be a special focus of this conference so that the different implications of community and the factors that led to its formation in the nineteenth century can be explored.

Strand 2: Visual Arts

Communities are commonly premised upon shared values or concerns. Originating from the Latin communis, the word may refer to a group of people living near one another who interact socially or to individuals who have something in common, such as norms, religion, values or identity. In the academic, scientific and artistic fields, communities may refer to local, national and even international organisations ranging from defined and formalised professional societies to loose and even virtual groupings or connections. In all cases, the very notion of community implies both a sense of belonging and an ‘other’, sometimes an enemy against whom groups may ally.

A variety of artistic communities mapped out the Victorian landscape. From the bohemian colonies of Chelsea or Hamptead with their concentration of painters’ studios (like Whistler’s Tite Street house) to the larger group affiliations such as Aestheticism circulating across Europe, network-based associations thrived, generating exchange, diffusion, cohesiveness, but also limits and boundaries. In the context of the Gothic architectual revival initiated in the 1830s by the Oxford Movement, professionals sometimes felt the need to defend an occupation or a specific trend, resulting in the creation of Institutes or Societies such as the Royal Society of British Architects. In a century marked by movement and expansion, artistic communities could be shaped, constructed or deconstructed, generating both inclusion and exclusion.

In the Victorian illustrated press, the wood-engraved image, itself the result of a chain of producers – artists, engravers, editors, publishers – formed and addressed communities of readers and knowledge makers. Over the past decades, the so-called ‘digital turn’ has generated new networks in which discussion, communication and archiving are dematerialised. Online resources like The Database of Mid-Victorian Illustration largely address nineteenth-century arts, bringing about new developments in the nature and the status of the archive, and achieving wider circulation of visual material.
Topics may include, but are not limited to:

Spatial communities, artistic and bohemian colonies.
Movements and circulations
Shifting communities : notions of inclusion and exclusion, identity and otherness.
Limits and boundaries restricting communities.
Clubs, Institutes and Societies
Professional communities like newspapers, periodicals or magazines
Digital/virtual communities

Strand 3 Victorian Literature

The interest of the word “community” lies in its polysemy, while its interest as a literary motif ties in with its fuzziness. Whether named as such or transpiring as one, a community characteristically allows for ingrained connections and variable extensions, both inbound and outbound, both inclusive and exclusive (the Marshalsea in Dickens, Egdon Heath in Hardy). After all, wanting to become part of a community and failing to achieve to do so is at the heart of a great many Victorian plots. Communities often arise from the desire to belong to a part, against the whole.

By contrast with a well-ordered system of the pyramidal social type, a typical community is a looser, horizontal formation marked out by a sense of belonging and becoming, a kind of sprawling composition that may as smoothly decompose, like “an epergne or centre-piece of some kind […] so heavily overhung with cobwebs that its form [is] quite undistinguishable […] speckle-legged spiders with blotchy bodies running home to it, and running out from it, as if some circumstances of the greatest public importance had just transpired in the spider community.” (Charles Dickens, Great Expectations). A community might be seen as a “motif” of the crocheting-encroaching type. Whether a body belonging with (rather than “to”) organic unities, or a systemic unit founded on an organisation of some type (geographical, economic…), a community flourishes on “texture” of leavening substance.

The entity of the community functions either with acknowledged codes, or alleged and unsuspected ties. It can live defiantly out in the open, or favour secrecy (such as “The Brotherhood” in Wilkie Collins, or other secret societies mentioned elsewhere in Victorian fiction).

Can Raymond Williams’s idea, declaring that the term “community” “seems never to be used unfavourably, and never to be given any positive opposing or distinguishing term” (Raymond Williams, Keywords 1976), be challenged as far as Victorian literature is concerned? Having something in common may be reassuring and protective, but aren’t the contradictory forces at work within communities in Victorian fiction also of the destructive, repressive type, nurturing harsh conformism for example? … Or bad taste: “Philistinism was the note of the age and community in which he lived” (Oscar Wilde, De Profundis)? Victorian literary communities might even harbour improbable pockets of resistance to civilisation, the most civilised of Europeans occasionally “putting aside their normal personalities and sinking themselves in their community […] their power of putting two and two together […] annihilated.’ (E.M. Forster, A Passage to India).

With the advent of easily accessible, cheaper media, communities in the Victorian era also materialize around the book as object, through book clubs, or reading communities sharing a spreading enthusiasm for serialized fiction for example.

Finally, long after the 19th century, the idea of communities hinging on Victorian literature echoes throughout the centuries, judging by the popularity of neo-Victorian literature even today (Sarah Waters, Michael Cox…), and fiction based on, or recycling Victorian heroes or heroines (Jasper Fforde and Brontë’s Jane Eyre, James Wilson and Collins’s Marian Halcombe, Lloyd Jones and Dickens’s Pip) between tribute, pastiche and parody, not to mention “online communities” of fans of Victorian classics writing fanfiction, and a “Victoriana” even inspiring video game designers…

Topics may include, but are not limited to:
Community as a motif in Victorian literature,
Reading communities, communities forming around new literary and publishing practices,Communities of writers (the Pre-Raphaelites, Wilkie Collins and Charles Dickens, Swinburne and Hardy).
21st century communities rejuvenating Victorian literature (Neo-Victorianism)
Or through popular culture and diverse phenomena: communities of “tourist-readers”, fanfiction on the web, “Victorian Steampunk”, TV adaptations and series (Sherlock, Elementary, Jekyll, Jekyll and Hyde etc.), communities of gamers sharing an interest for Victoriana…

Conference papers will be twenty minutes in length. Expressions of interest in the form of a 300-word abstract should be sent by December 15, 2017, with a brief biographical paragraph to the panel convenors and the coordinator of the event.


Strand 1 History: Stéphane Guy ( and Frank Rynne ( or

Strand 2 Visual Arts: Françoise Baillet ( and Odile Boucher-Rivalain (

Strand 3 Literature: Peggy Blin-Cordon ( and François Ropert (

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Captivating Criminality 5

The Victorianist: BAVS Postgraduates

Crime Fiction: Insiders and Outsiders

28th – 30th June 2018
Corsham Court, Bath Spa University, UK
The Captivating Criminality Network is delighted to announce its fifth
UK conference. Building upon and developing ideas and themes from the
previous four successful conferences, Crime Fiction: Insiders and
Outsiders, will examine the ways in which Crime Fiction as a genre is
able to incorporate both traditional ideas and themes, as well as those
from outside mainstream and/or dominant ways of thinking.

Crime fiction narratives continue to gain in both popularity and
critical appreciation. This conference will consider the ways in which
writers who work within generic cultural and critical boundaries and
those who challenge those seeming restrictions, through both form and
content, have influenced each other. Crime fiction, in its widest sense,
has benefited from challenges from diverse ‘outsiders’ who in turn shift
and develop the genre. This was as true in the…

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Unravelling the Victorian Body

The Victorianist: BAVS Postgraduates

Evelien Lemmens is a doctoral candidate researching the relationship between digestive and emotional health in Britain between 1820 and 1914. She is part of the Wellcome Trust funded ‘Living with Feeling’ project at Queen Mary University of London’s Centre for the History of Emotions. She’s on Twitter @Ev_Lemmens

In her recent post ‘Looking at the Victorian Face’, Katie Carpenter reflects on the different nineteenth-century faces that cropped up during BAVS 2017. She highlights the role (or limitation) of technology – the “long exposure time required of early photography” – to explain the stern and stiff facial expressions so enduring in the popular image of the Victorians. Through clues like pets and objects captured in photographs, as well as the vivid emotional expressions depicted in Victorian illustrations, we are reminded – as Carpenter puts it – “that the Victorians were, of course, three-dimensional humans that experienced intense emotion and…

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The Victorianist: BAVS Postgraduates


Centre for Modern Studies, University of York

Date: 17 February 2018, timings TBC

Venue: Treehouse, Berrick Saul Building, University of York

Keynote speaker: Jenny Uglow

In recent years Edward Lear has gained in prominence as a focus for study among Victorianists and scholars of poetry. Edward Lear and the Play of Poetry, ed. by James Williams and Matthew Bevis (OUP, 2016), The Natural History of Edward Lear by Robert McCracken Peck (David Godine/ACC, 2016), and Mr Lear: A Life of Art and Nonsense by Jenny Uglow (Faber, 2017) are among the most obvious recent signs of a reconsideration of Lear’s writing among scholars in literature and in the visual arts.

This one-day seminar gives emerging scholars an opportunity to present and discuss new work on Edward Lear. Papers are sought from graduate students and early career researchers on any aspect of Lear’s life and work, including (but, as usual, not…

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Autumn programme for the London Nineteenth-Century Studies Seminar

The Victorianist: BAVS Postgraduates

The Autumn programme for the London Nineteenth-Century Studies Seminar can be found at this link:

3rd November: Dr Brian H Murray (KCL) and Prof. Rosemary Mitchell (Leeds Trinity) discuss historical fiction

8th December: Prof. Julia Thomas (Cardiff), Dr. Luisa Calè (Birkbeck) and Dr. Mary Shannon (Roehampton) discuss nineteenth-century illustration

Please forward to anyone who might be interested. Booking now open and hope to see you there!

Convenors Matthew Ingleby (QMUL) and Victoria Mills (Birkbeck)


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The Victorianist: BAVS Postgraduates

Andrea Selleri is a tutor at the University of Warwick, working on the history of the concept of the author in Victorian literary culture. His work can be found at

In the journey of a research idea from first conception, to research, to writing and dissemination, a conference paper is typically an intermediate step. To be sure, many conference papers are based on pieces of written work, and many researchers take the conference as an appendix to the dissemination of an article, chapter etc. that they have already published. Nonetheless, delivery of a conference paper normally precedes the definitive, final-word-on-the-subject publication of the same. As is well known, in the humanities the most prestigious form of dissemination is publication in written and peer-reviewed form, either as a journal article or as part of a book. In career terms, a paper that hasn’t turned into a written output is one…

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CFP: Contemporary Victoriana: Victorian literature and Popular and Material cultures One-day conference, Friday, March 16th, 2018, University of Reims

Contemporary Victoriana: Victorian literature and Popular and Material cultures
One-day conference, Friday, March 16th, 2018, University of Reims (Centre universitaire de Troyes), CIRLEP (EA4299)
Convenors: Yannick Bellenger-Morvan and Xavier Giudicelli.

“For most of us, the odour of defunct Victoriana is so unpleasant […] that we are content to leave the past where we find it.” (Ezra Pound, 1918).

“It is not that what is past casts its light on what is present, or what is present its light on what is past; rather, image is that wherein what has been comes together in a flash with the now to form a constellation.” (Walter Benjamin).

The aim of this one-day conference is to examine the persistence of Victorian culture and literature in our contemporary society. We shall obviously focus on the reinterpretation of Victorian works now deemed “canonical” in popular culture, in such media as comics and graphic novels, fan fictions, films, TV series, video games, and pop music. But our objective is also to work on the recycling of Victorian cultural practices and artefacts in our society: the success of the serial form, a contemporary adaptation—or recreation—of Victorian serialised narratives, also the influence of Victorian culture on today’s fashion industry, on alternative cultures, architecture, and interior decoration.
This one-day conference will encourage interdisciplinary approaches. It is part of the on-going research conducted in the “popular cultures” seminar (hosted by Sylvie Mikowski and Yann Philippe) of the Interdisciplinary Research Centre on Thought and Language (University of Reims). It will enable us to discuss the notion of “canon,” and to work on topics which, until recently, were of little interest in French academia. We hope to shed light on the notion of “epistemological rupture,” as well as to contribute to a redefinition of academic “discursive practices.”
Beyond the idea of a taste for retro, that of a paralysing backward-looking glance—the binary opposition between nostalgia and critical engagement—, our purpose is to show what the persistence of things Victorian tells us about us, about our contemporary society and ethos, and to highlight the complexity of our relationship to the Victorian past.

Possible topics:
Graphic novels and comics (for example, Alan Moore’s From Hell and League of Extraordinary Gentlemen…)
TV series and films (for example, Penny Dreadful, Ripper Street…)
Video games
Pop music, musical ( Sweeney Todd, for example)
Fan fiction
Steampunk fantasy
Goths, alternative cultures
Fashion, tattoos, body art
Furniture, interior decoration
Arts and crafts

Languages: French and English

Submission for papers including an abstract (300 words maximum) and a short biographical notice should be sent to both Yannick Bellenger-Morvan ( and Xavier Giudicelli, (

Extended deadline : October 20th, 2017.
La journée d’étude “Victoriana contemporaines” aura lieu au Centre Universitaire de Troyes  (antenne de l’Université de Reims Champagne Ardenne) le vendredi 16 mars 2018. Vous pouvez encore envoyer vos propositions jusqu’au 20 octobre 2017.
Bien cordialement,
Yannick Bellenger et Xavier Giudicelli
Maîtres de conférences à l’université de Reims Champagne-Ardenne

Victoriana contemporaines : littérature victorienne, cultures populaires et cultures matérielles : journée d’études, vendredi 16 mars 2018, Université de Reims Champagne-Ardenne (Centre universitaire de Troyes), CIRLEP (EA4299)
Co-organisée par Yannick Bellenger-Morvan et Xavier Giudicelli

“For most of us, the odour of defunct Victoriana is so unpleasant […] that we are content to leave the past where we find it.” (Ezra Pound, 1918).

« Il ne faut pas dire que le passé éclaire le présent ou le présent éclaire le passé. Une image, au contraire, est ce en quoi l’Autrefois rencontre le Maintenant dans un éclair pour former une constellation. » (Walter Benjamin)

L’objet de cette journée d’études est d’analyser la persistance de la culture et de la littérature victoriennes dans nos sociétés contemporaines. On s’intéressera, bien sûr, à la réinterprétation de textes victoriens maintenant dits « canoniques » dans des médias associés à la culture populaire, tels que la bande dessinée ou le roman graphique, les fan fictions, les films, les séries télévisées, les jeux vidéos, ou les musiques populaires. Mais il s’agira également de travailler sur le recyclage ou la réinscription de pratiques culturelles et d’objets victoriens dans notre société : la fortune de la forme sérielle, avatar du roman-feuilleton victorien, mais également le retour du Victorien dans la mode, les cultures alternatives, l’architecture, ou encore la décoration d’intérieur.
Cette manifestation, résolument interdisciplinaire, se place dans le sillage de la réflexion déjà engagée dans le cadre du séminaire « Cultures populaires » (animé par Sylvie Mikowski et Yann Philippe) du Centre interdisciplinaire sur les langues et la pensée (CIRLEP, EA 4299). Elle permettra d’interroger la notion de canon, de se pencher sur des objets d’étude exclus jusqu’à une date récente de l’Université et, ce faisant, d’éclairer la notion de rupture épistémologique et de redéfinir les « pratiques discursives » universitaires.
Au-delà des idées de nostalgie paralysante, de goût pour le « rétro », ou de celle de la dichotomie nostalgie/engagement critique, il s’agira de montrer ce que cette rémanence du victorien nous dit de nous, de notre ethos contemporain et de mettre en évidence la complexité du rapport au victorien à notre époque.

Pistes d’étude possibles (liste non exhaustive) :
Roman graphique et bande dessinée (par exemple, les ouvrages d’Alan Moore, From Hell, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen…)
Séries télévisées, films (par exemple, Penny Dreadful, Ripper Street…)
Jeux vidéo
Musique populaire, comédies musicales (par exemple Sweeney Todd).
Fan fiction
Steampunk fantasy
Goths, alternative cultures
Mode, vêtements, tatouage, body art
Mobilier, décoration d’intérieur
Arts décoratifs

Langues de travail : français et anglais.

Merci de faire parvenir vos propositions de communication (300 mots maximum) accompagnées d’une courte notice bio-bibliographique à Yannick Bellenger-Morvan ( et Xavier Giudicelli (

Nouvelle date limite d’envoi des propositions : 20 octobre 2017.

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