Call for Bloggers

The Victorianist: BAVS Postgraduates

Strand2-063-ICarefullyExaminedTheWritingAre you interested in expanding your CV, gaining exposure for your research, and creating a professional online presence? Come blog for BAVS!

Our two blogging platforms are aimed at bringing together BAVS postgraduates and ECRs from across the humanities focusing on the Victorian period.

Researcher Blog: We want to celebrate the diverse and groundbreaking research undertaken by our postgraduate and ECR members, introducing wider audiences to a new generation of writers and scholars. We invite academic, research-informed blog posts, with the aim of promoting communication and community within the BAVS network. We also welcome group posts, which will not only encourage collaborations between small communities of like-minded researchers, but will also promote interdisciplinary and cross-century projects.

Please send a brief outline of your research topic to Briony Wickes ( Researcher posts are approximately 800-1,500 words in length, and should include properly cited references and images (if applicable).

Neo-Victorian Reviews

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CFP: History and Text Analysis : International Conference, Paris (2019 Jan 17-19)

Dear colleagues,

On January 17-19 2019, the Pireh (Pôle informatique de Recherche et d’Enseignement en Histoire – Université Paris 1) is organizing at the Sorbonne a conference on the relationships between History, language and text analysis.

The goal of this conference is to explore the present uses of statistical and computational analysis of texts in history. Recent intellectual and technical developments invite us to rethink and redefine the way these tools can be used by historians, whether for combining history and linguistics, exploring or mining massive textual sources, or for enriching more traditional historical methods.

We hope the conference will lead to fruitful discussions between historians of all periods, and more broadly between the disciplines interested in text analysis (linguistics, sociology, literary studies, mathematics, computer sciences, etc.).

Conference website :
Octave Julien, Stéphane Lamassé, Léo Dumont



Computational methods of text analysis (lexicometry, computational linguistics, text mining, distant reading…) are undergoing important developments in many scientific fields and in society as a whole. Such methods can help and interest many different sectors (private companies, public governance, intelligence, data-journalism, etc.). They are also assuming growing importance in the humanities, especially among researchers of the digital humanities. This has led to a number of conferences and regular scientific events, such as the French JADT (Journées d’Analyse des Données textuelles), and to several recent synthesis books (Léon & Loiseau 2016, Jenset & McGillivray 2017).

In this movement, the position of historians appears to be paradoxical. Their work is largely based on texts used as sources and, following the evolutions of modern historiography, they showed a growing interest in the discourses and representations of societies and individuals of the past. In this regard, the methodologies of text analysis in history enjoyed a fair success and prominence in France as soon as the 1970s, especially at the Centre de lexicologie politique of the ENS Fontenay/Saint-Cloud. However, despite the influence of the linguistic turn and the development of more powerful and more accessible software, the use of text analysis in history have been less frequent lately, even though such methods continue to prove useful (Genet, 2011). The limited presence of historians at the JADT is symptomatic of that.

Nowadays, text analysis is regaining momentum thanks to text mining, which can help with sorting the massive amounts of textual data produced by the digitalization of sources (such as the project Corpus of the Bibliothèque nationale de France – Moiraghi 2018).

The aim of this conference is to understand the current uses of computational and statistical text analysis in history, at a time where the intellectual, social and technical context is changing. Several questions can be raised to better assess their use and their contribution to history.

1. The historiography of text analysis
For a long time, historians have thought about the way they can associate history, linguistics and statistics (Robin 1973 ; Guilhaumou, Maldidier, Robin 1994 ; Genet 2011 ; Léon 2015 ; Léon & Loiseau 2016), and this historiographical current is not closed. One can go back to the fruitful moments of this collaboration, such as the works of the center of political lexicology of the ENS Fontenay/Saint-Cloud, or those of the laboratory of statistical linguistics of the University of Nice. But it is worth asking why some scientific and intellectual enterprises that appeared promising at first did not eventually reach the same success, for example the works by Michel Pêcheux and Denise Maldidier. One can also consider the intellectual career of historians like Jacques Guilhaumou and Régine Robin, who began their research using lexical statistics before they turned their attention to methodologies closer to a more traditional conceptual history.

2. New methods for new corpora
2.1. The new sources and objects of text analysis

In France, text analysis was originally used to analyze political and trade unions texts. While this field of study is still active (Mayaffre 2010) and can even reach a general audience (Alduy 2017 ; Souchard, Wanich & Cuminal 1998), it is worth considering which other types of sources can be analyzed in this way. Some languages have strong idiosyncrasies: the writing of charters, diplomatic cables, or legal texts, for example. Others are characterized by their specific context of production (orality, private or intimate writings, literary texts, etc.). Which questions and approaches are relevant for this kind of material?

A language can also be treated as an historical object by itself, especially when it is a tool of empowerment or domination. This is what Serge Lusignan highlighted with a qualitative approach in his essays of sociolinguistic history (Lusignan 2004 and 2012). Similarly, the linguistic aspects of domination are central in gender history or in postcolonial studies. In this respect, what can text analysis offer? How can such methods assist in grasping those discursive phenomenons?

At the same time, a number of fields in history were deeply influenced by the archival turn (Clanchy 1979, and Chastang 2008 for example for the medieval history, or Guyotjeannin 1995). In this approach, sources are considered as an object per se, and a greater attention is given to their mode of production and their conditions of conservation, in order to better understand what they say. Then, is text analysis less relevant, or can it help us shed a new light on the document itself, its formal or material aspects, its genesis and its evolutions?

2.2. Text analysis, big data, and the historian

With the statistical approach of textual analysis, a representative and fairly large corpus is needed in order to produce significant results. The ideal size of such a corpus is an open question, but one can wonder how it is possible to study textual materials with different levels of magnification and complementary methods (data mining on big corpora vs. focused analysis of a specific lexicon, for example). Historians must reflect on this shift, now that the corpora of digitalized and born-digital sources (such as websites) are rapidly growing. How can they make those new materials their own, and what can they say, armed with their critical knowledge of sources, about their constitution and their use? Recent publications show this transformation can benefit historians of all periods (Perreaux 2014 in medieval history, for example) and that it redefines the geography of historical research (Putnam 2016).

3. The development of the statistical toolkit of text analysis
3.1. Temporality

Corpora with a diachronic structure raise specific issues. The problem of anachronism has long been tackled by historians working on such material (Prost 1988), while more recent works have focused on the visualization of temporality (Ratinaud & Marchand 2014). In textual analysis, words can speak for themselves and reveal a useful periodization for the historian’s work. Some statistical methods (Factorial analysis, topic modeling) can show the evolution of a lexicon, by highlighting words coming in and out of a corpus, but the changes in their meaning itself still are difficult to grasp. What are the means to perceive those semantic transformations? Also, how can we make use of discontinuous series of texts on a large timeframe? Such questions are important to the historian, who works on temporality by definition, but they are also especially relevant when one considers digital writings, in so far as they are frequently organized chronologically (such as Facebook or Twitter posts).

3.2. Innovative algorithms for text analysis

Since the seminal book by Lebart and Salem (Lebart & Salem 1994), a common set of statistical concepts and tools has been used by researchers and implemented in free softwares, but new methodologies offer innovative ways to analyze a corpus. In addition to topic models, a tool like Linkage uses written exchanges to build a classification of a social network, while some deep learning algorithms relying on word vectors (Embedding Layer, Word2Vec, GloVe) can provide a summary and a comparison of documents very quickly (Levy & Goldberg, 2014 or Barron et alii 2018). How can those new methods be used by historians?

3.2. Qualitative and quantitative approaches
The computer tools available to social scientists for linguistic investigations are not necessarily based on statistics. Softwares like Nooj make a precise formalization of natural languages possible, thus enriching the comprehension of a language in a given state and through time.

On a broader level, one must also acknowledge the role of qualitative approaches. Their association with quantitative methods is a fruitful one (Paveau 2012) and they must be taken into account to fully address the possible relationships between languages and history. Contributions illustrating and discussing the benefits of those different methods in history will be most welcome.


Participants can submit an abstract for two types of presentation, in French or in English:

  • a 20 mn presentation (5000 characters abstract)
  • an A1-sized poster (2500 characters abstract)

To submit a proposal for a presentation, please upload an abstract on by June 22, 2018. Accepted papers will be notified on July 13. A detailed draft will be asked to speakers by October 15, 2018. The papers will be considered for publication in a volume of essays.

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Session 52: “Shakespearean Persistence: Gordon Craig’s reception of the Renaissance masque.”

The 52nd session of our seminar will take place on Wednesday 30th May 2018 at the Université Paris Diderot-Paris 7 (Bâtiment Olympes de Gouges, salle 347, 17h30-19h30).

The Mask, 1,2 April, 1908, _The Uber-Marionette_-page-001

Lynn Sermin Meskill (Université Paris Diderot) will give a paper entitled “Shakespearean Persistence: Gordon Craig’s reception of the Renaissance masque.”

Her respondent will be Ronan Ludot Vlazak (Université de Lille).

We will work with extracts from Edward Gordon Craig’s journal, The Mask: A Journal of the Art of the Theatre, After the Practice the Theory, 1908-1929. (NB. All issues of the journal may be found at the BNF, Richelieu).
1. The Mask, Vol. 1, N°1, March 1908, “A Note on Masks” by John Balance, pp. 10-13, esp. p. 10 “The Marionette”.
2. The Mask, Vol 1, N°2, April 1908, “The Actor and the Über-Marionette” by Edward Gordon Craig, pp. 9-23, esp. p. 19, “The Marionette”.
3. The Mask, Vol. 1, N°5, July 1908, “Inigo Jones and His Masques” by J. Paul Cooper, pp. 15-18.
 Uber Marionnette
All are welcome!
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Session 51: “Droll Dogs and Agreeable Rattlers: Writing and Telling Jokes in Victorian Britain”

Session 51 of our seminar took place on Wednesday 23rd May 2018 at the Université Paris Diderot bâtiment Olympe de Gouges, salle 347, 17h30-19h30)

Dr. Bob Nicholson (University of Edgehill, UK) gave a paper entitled “Droll Dogs & Agreeable Rattlers: Writing and Telling Jokes in Victorian Britain.”

His respondents were Clémence Folléa and Stéphanie Prévost (Université Paris Diderot).


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CFP: Special Issue of Nineteenth-Century Studies: Patchwork, Cut-and-Paste, Reassembly

Special Issue of Nineteenth-Century Studies: Patchwork, Cut-and-Paste, Reassembly

This special issue will focus on ideas of reuse and recombination. How were bits and scraps of materials, textual and otherwise, reassembled into new forms in the nineteenth century? To what ends? Essays might consider these issues in relation to images, fabrics, texts, and more. Possible topics could include scrapbooks, patchwork, quotation, citation, illustration, and any and all forms of recombination. Approaches from all disciplines, including literature, art history, history, music, and the history of science and the social sciences, are welcome, as are submissions that cross national boundaries and/or range across the nineteenth century. One particularly exciting feature of Nineteenth-Century Studies is that the journal encourages authors to enhance their contributions with pertinent artwork.


Please submit manuscripts of 8,000-12,000 words, following NCS’s submission guidelines ( to guest editor Casie LeGette at Early expressions of interest and proposals of topics are also welcome. The initial deadline for submissions of full manuscripts is September 3, 2018, but review will begin June 1, 2018 and earlier submissions are encouraged.


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Book: Making Oscar Wilde by Michèle Mendelssohn

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CFP: Colloque international “SENS ET SENTEURS”

Colloque interdisciplinaire et international en SHS

 Université de Lille, le 5 & 6 octobre 2018

L’odorat est certes moins développé chez l’homme que la vue ou l’audition qui nous permettent de nous orienter dans l’espace. C’est pourquoi les sciences humaines ont plus facilement étudié les autres sens. Il est de fait plus difficile de verbaliser une émotion à partir d’une odeur (Dubois, 2009), mais l’homme est en capacité d’en sentir des milliers et de les intérioriser avec une forte coloration affective (Le Guérer, 2002), sachant que le « discours olfactif » permet aussi à l’homme d’exprimer son rapport  au monde – adaptation ou aliénation – selon sa situation de communication. Étant donné le lien étroit entre l’odorat et le cerveau, ce discours influe puissamment sur le comportement humain (qu’il s’agisse de l’alimentation, de la sexualité, du commerce etc.). Les odeurs, bonnes ou mauvaises, génèrent des émotions fortes et jouent un rôle primordial dans la construction de la mémoire, particulièrement dans le cas du souvenir à l’instar de la madeleine de Proust (dans Du côté de chez Swann), l’odeur — comme la saveur — est un média de la réminiscence.
Le laboratoire ALITHILA en langue et littérature française, le laboratoire CECILLE en langue et littératures étrangères, le laboratoire GERiiCO en sciences de l’information et communication, tous les trois de l’Université Lille, s’associent avec le laboratoire CIMEOS en sciences de l’information et communication de l’Université de Bourgogne, pour investir ce nouveau domaine de recherche en SHS. Ils appellent d’autres chercheurs à partager leur intérêt pour la signification sensorielle et la symbolique des postures communicatives liées à l’odeur. La communauté de chercheurs en SHS est donc invitée à s’exprimer sur l’expérience olfactive en distinguant le sensoriel (l’esthésie), du sensible réfléchi (l’esthétique), pour enfin mener une réflexion sur le sens et le symbolisme de cette expérience (une possible « éthique olfactive »), en référence à la « trinité du sensible » (Boutaud, 2007 ; Parizot, 2015). L’enjeu interdisciplinaire, à la croisée des approches littéraire et info-communicationnelle, est bien de décrypter une « rhétorique de senteurs » (Perrouty, 2006).
Les odeurs structurent non seulement notre relation au temps et à l’espace mais figent également nos représentations sociales et suscitent le partage d’émotions. L’argument de ce colloque est de montrer que le sens olfactif, oublié par la tradition philosophique  ̶  si on excepte Condillac et Nietzsche, Jaquet, 2010  ̶  est fondamental dans notre construction du sens, et de montrer que l’odeur est un marqueur social inévitable. Dès lors se posent des problèmes d’expression : comment exprimer l’indicible odeur ? Quels sont les mots et les expressions linguistiques caractéristiques de l’olfaction ? Dans quelle mesure l’odeur structure-t-elle un imaginaire ou inspire-t-elle une poétique ? Se posent encore divers problèmes de  communication : comment échanger et documenter des informations à partir de l’olfaction ? Quel rôle peut jouer le parfum dans les processus de médiation culturelle ? Comment persuader à l’aide des odeurs, voire inciter à l’achat en contexte publicitaire et commercial ? Quels sont les rites sociaux liés au parfum ? etc.
Le colloque « Sens et Senteurs » se tiendra vendredi 6 et samedi 7 octobre à l’Université de Lille, site « Pont-de-bois » (frais de participation : 50 euros pour un chercheur titulaire, 40 euros pour un doctorant). Les projets de communication, assortis d’une notice biographique,  sont à adresser à et avant le 1er juin 2018. Après un examen des propositions en double aveugle, le comité scientifique donnera sa  réponse au plus tard le 14 juillet 2018.

 Axes directeurs :
Axe 1 : L’odeur, média de la communication sociale

• La communication interpersonnelle par l’odeur
• L’odeur dans la  communication interculturelle
• L’utilisation des odeurs dans la communication commerciale
• La symbolique des odeurs dans les rites sociaux
• L’odeur dans la médiation culturelle
• L’odeur comme signature olfactive des organisations
Axe 2 : Le lyrisme olfactif
• Comment exprimer  l’odeur ? par quels mots ?
• À partir de quelles figures de rhétorique  parler d’une odeur ?
• Comment l’imaginaire olfactif sert-il un projet littéraire ?
• Quel discours esthétique sur les odeurs ?
• Dans quelle mesure un discours utilise-t-il les odeurs pour toucher ?

Axe 3 : Odeurs, représentations, et mises en intrigue
• Comment mettre en récit une odeur ?
• Y-a-t-il un storytelling olfactif dans les médias ?
• Comment une société se représente-t-elle les senteurs à une époque ?
• Quels sont les stéréotypes de genre liés à l’odeur ?
• Comment mettre en image une odeur ?
• Comment figurer l’odeur et la saveur ?
  Bibliographie indicative :

Barbet Virginie, Le Marketing olfactif, Paris, Presses du management, 1999
Boutaud Jean-Jacques, Sémiotique et Communication. Du signe au sens, Paris, L’Harmattan, 1998
Candau Joël, Mémoire et expériences olfactives, Paris, PUF, 2000
Corbin Alain, Le Miasme et la jonquille : l’odorat et l’imaginaire social XVIIIe-XIXe siècles, Paris, Flammarion, 2008
Dubois Danièle, Le sentir et le dire, concepts et méthodes en psychologie et linguistique cognitives, Paris, L’Harmattan, 2009
Eliena Jean-Claude, Le Parfum, PUF, coll. « que sais-je ? », 2015
Jaquet Chantal dir., L’Art olfactif contemporain, Paris, Garnier, 2015
Jaquet Chantal, Philosophie de l’odorat, Paris, Odile Jacob, 2010
Julien Mariette, L’Image publicitaire des parfums, Paris, L’Harmattan, 1997
Lardellier Pascal dir. , À fleur de peau : corps, odeurs, parfums, Paris, Belin, 2003
Le Guérer Annick, Les Pouvoirs de l’odeur, Paris, Odile Jacob, 2002
Parizot Anne, « Ici, tout est… Sens : vers un partage des sens en harmonie », Revue française des sciences de l’information et de la communication [Online], 3 | 2013, Online since 01 August 2013, connection on 19 March 2018. URL : ; DOI : 10.4000/rfsic.570
Perrouty-Perret Stéphanie, Rhétoriques des senteurs, Paris, L’Harmattan, 2006
Revue Autrement, série mutations, « Odeurs : l’essence d’un sens », 1987, n°92
Revue Langage : « Pour une linguistique des odeurs » 2011, n°181
Revue Littérature, « Sociabilités du parfum », 2017 /1, n°185.
Revue Moebius, « Le Parfum », 2013, n° 137
Revue Terrain, « Les odeurs », 2006, n°47

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