Discords: George Egerton at the Fin de Siècle (University of Loughborough, 7-8 April 2017)

The Victorianist: BAVS Postgraduates

Clare Stainthorp has recently completed an AHRC-funded PhD at the University of Birmingham on Constance Naden, and is currently teaching there as a Visiting Lecturer. She is developing a research project on the nineteenth-century freethought press with the support of a Curran Fellowship from the Research Society for Victorian Periodicals, and tweets at @ClareGS87. Her blog is the second of a two-part series on ‘George Egerton at the Fin de Siècle’ and examines the ‘Discords’ that shape Egerton’s work and readers’ relationship with it, following on from Dr Alexandra Gray’s discussion of the conference’s ‘Keynotes’.

Over the course of the two days in Loughborough it became clear to the assembled academics that ‘Discords’ was not only the title of Egerton’s second collection of short stories but a recurring conceptual theme; we repeatedly found ourselves discussing Egerton’s refusal to exist harmoniously within existing or expected overarching structures. The compelling transgressions and…

View original post 867 more words

Posted in Others | Leave a comment

Session 46: “The Nineteenth-Century Idée Fixe: The Concept of Monomania and its Influence on Literature”

Session 46 of our seminar will take place on Wednesday 7 June 2017 at the Université Paris Diderot-Paris 7 (Bâtiment Olympes de Gouges, salle 347, 17h30-19h30).

Mathilde Vialard (Université Paris Diderot-Paris 7) will give a paper entitled “The Nineteenth-Century Idée Fixe: The Concept of Monomania and its Influence on Literature.” Her respondent will be Pr. Christine Berthin-Murphy (Université Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défense).


Théodore Géricault, La Monomane de l’envie (The Mad Woman), 1819-1821, oil on canvas, 72 × 58 cm, Musée des beaux-arts de Lyon


We will work with extracts from the following texts:

– Esquirol, Étienne, Mental Maladies; a Treatise on Insanity. Translated from the French by Ebenezer Kingsbury Hunt (1845) [1838 (original French edition)]. p320-323
– De Saussure, Raymond, “The Influence Of The Concept Of Monomania On French Medico-Legal Psychiatry (From 1825 To 1840)”. Journal Of The History Of Medicine And Allied Sciences, vol 1, no. 3, 1946, pp. 365-397. Oxford University Press (OUP), doi:10.1093/jhmas/1.3.365. p365-369 The Influence Of The Concept Of Monomania On French Medico-Legal Psychiatry (From 1825 To 1840)
– Braddon, M.E, and Lyn Pykett. Lady Audley’s Secret. 1st ed., Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2012,. p223-305

The seminar takes place at 5.30pm the following address: salle 347, Bâtiment “Olympe-de-Gouges”, 8 place Paul-Ricoeur, 75013, métro/RER Bibliothèque François-Mitterrand. http://www.univ-paris-diderot.fr/DocumentsFCK/implantations/File/Plan_A3_GE_2012-2013.pdf

All are welcome!

Posted in Conferences and seminars, Of Victorian Interest, Victorian Persistence Seminars | Leave a comment

BAVS 2017 Bursaries

The Victorianist: BAVS Postgraduates

The following sixteen postgraduate and postdoctoral researcher bursaries are available for the 2017 British Association of Victorian Studies Conference, ‘Victorians Unbound: Connections and Intersections’.

BAVS is offering eight bursaries in total. Four of the bursaries are for postgraduate students while the remaining four are intended to support unwaged and hourly paid postdoctoral researchers.

Bishop Grosseteste University and the University of Lincoln are together offering eight bursaries in total (four from each institution) for postgraduate students and unwaged/hourly-paid postdoctoral researchers.

All bursaries are for £125 and are to be used by recipients to cover some of the costs of attending the conference. Please note that payment of these bursaries will only take place after BAVS 2017, once all requirements have been met.

Recipients of a bursary are required to become actively engaged at and/or after the conference in the following ways:

BAVS Bursaries:

Within two months of the conference dates, all…

View original post 435 more words

Posted in Others | Leave a comment

CFP: SEAC / SAIT conference. London Senate House, 19th-20th October 2017 Landscape / cityscape : Writing / Painting / Imagining Situational Identity in British Literature and Visual Arts (18th – 21st centuries)

The very etymology of the word “landscape,” derived from the Dutch “skip”—view—from the start underlines the constructedness of our relation to space. The space we inhabit is a lived space inscribed with the cultural traces of a collective imaginary itself informed by the art of landscape painting and writing. This conference organized jointly by The Société d’Études Anglaises Contemporaines (SEAC) and the Société Angliciste – Arts, Images et Textes (SAIT) aims at exploring the complex relation of identity to site and the way this relation may have been transformed across the centuries.
Several studies have, since the late 70s, stressed the tight correlation between the fashioning of collective identity in Britain, the rise of a specific sensibility to landscape and the underlying political and economic agenda of nature engineering, from Raymond Williams’ famed The Country and the City (1973) to David Matless’ Landcape and Englishness (1998). In 2012, the British Library’s contribution to the Olympic’s festivities took the form of an exhibition focusing on Britain’s spatial imaginary: Writing Britain. Wastelands to Wonderlands (see Christina Hardyment, Writing Britain: Wastelands to Wonderlands, London: The British Library, 2012), although at the same time Iain Sinclair lamented the depletion of that same collective imaginary at the hands of urban speculators. More recently, such explorations have also turned to the weather imagination and the way it informs English literature and visual arts (see Alexandra Harris’ Weatherland: Writers & Artists Under English Skies (2015).
From Gainsborough’s early insights into the discursive potential of landscape painting to Turner’s modern take on landscape and seascape painting under the double injunction of myth and modernity (see The Fighting Temeraire, 1839) and L.S. Lowry’s industrial scapes, landscape painting has captured the mutations of English identity in its relation to space and vision. Similarly, from Romantic poetry to Thomas Hardy’s or D. H. Lawrence’s mytho-poetic landscape imaginary and Simon Armitage’s reappropriation of that tradition, English literature has invented itself in an organic embrace with landscape, i.e. nature always already culturally inscribed.
Although specific emphasis will be placed on the 20th and the 21st centuries, papers may address the longue durée of such imaginary and the specific intertextuality and inter-iconicity produced by the landscape and cityscape aesthetic tradition. One may choose to turn to turn-of-the-century morphing visions of landscape as it was harnessed to nascent metroland modernity, or to the lasting pastoral model as explored and deflated both by Virginia Woolf in Between the Acts (1941) and Evelyn Waugh in Brideshead Revisited (1945). Intermedial treatments of landscape and cityscape are also crucial to the understanding of the fashioning of indentity in relation to site-specificity. Ted Hughes’s Remains of Elmet (1979), as well as Hamish Fulton’s blend of poetry and site-specificity art are examples of the way writing, images, and site-specific works allow art to reinvent England’s relation to its own situational memory. Such intermediality has also been of key importance to the exploration of England’s conflicted urban imagination: from Dickens’s foundational definition of urban city-writing, to Zadie Smith’s new take on urban identity fashioning or Howard Jacobson’s recent dystopian vision of a world that may no longer be mapped in J (2014).
The conference will also be the occasion to explore the epistemological distinctions between landscape and nature-writing and between landscape and nature-studies or Green studies as defined by Jonathan Bate or Lawrence Buell. We thus welcome papers on a broad range of topics and issues. Proposals will be examined by a scientific committee. Selected papers will eventually be submitted to two peer-reviewed academic journals (Etudes britanniques contemporaines and Polysèmes), both available on the revues.org platform (www.revues.org).
Abstracts (300 words + short bibliography and short biographical note) should be sent to Isabelle Gadoin (isabelle.moragon.gadoin@univ-poitiers.fr), Catherine Lanone (catherine.lanone@univ-paris3.fr) and Catherine Bernard (catherine.bernard@univ-paris-diderot.fr) by June 30, 2017

Posted in Calls for papers, Conferences and seminars, Of Victorian Interest | Leave a comment

Science, Medicine and Culture in the Nineteenth Century: Seminars for Trinity Term 2017

Wednesday 10 May 2017 (Week 3)

Professor Ursula Martin, University of Oxford

Ada Lovelace in her Mathematical Context

5.30 – 7.00, Seminar Room 3, St Anne’s College

Ada, Countess of Lovelace, 1815 – 1852, the so called “first computer programmer”, is famous for her 1843 paper, which combined technical detail, and farsighted reflections, in describing Charles Babbage’s unbuilt analytical engine, a mechanical computer which, in principle, would have had the same capabilities as a modern machine.  Lovelace’s broader reflections  include the complexity and difficulty of programming, the potential for mathematical experiment, algebra, or composing music, and even, as noted by Alan Turing, the limits of machine thought.

Celebrated as an icon of women in science, Lovelace has been the subject of many popular accounts, with intense debate as to her ability and contribution to the 1843 paper. The only biography to study Lovelace’s mathematics  is detailed,  confident, but mathematically incorrect: the only edition of the letters is somewhat unscholarly and leaves out the mathematical content, stressing notions of poetical science.

Our recent work (with Christopher Hollings and Adrian Rice) is the first study of Lovelace by historians of mathematics, ad describes her eclectic childhood education, and her private study in 1840, at university level, with the eminent mathematician Augustus De Morgan.  We identified her increasing insight, tenacity with details and desire to grasp abstract principles – the skills required for independent mathematical work.

One might assess such  varying accounts of Lovelace’s life and contribution against changing contexts of class, gender, or mental stability; changing perceptions of mathematics amongst both professional mathematicians and the general public; changing perceptions of how to present women scientists; or better understanding of the misremembering or composure of women’s contributions.  Despite her reputation, we lack a scholarly account of the 1843 paper, and the trajectory of its ideas, rooted in the relevant mathematical context,  or a biography that  treats her as a member of a scientific community, alongside Babbage, De Morgan and Somerville, rather than constraining her as marginal or exceptional.

Ursula Martin is Professor of Computer Science at Oxford, and holds an EPSRC Fellowship to study collaborative  mathematics.

Wednesday 24 May 2017 (Week 5)

Dr James Emmott, Oxford Brookes University

On the Stratification of Language

5.30 – 7.00, Seminar Room 3, St Anne’s College.

‘There are few sensations more pleasant than that of wondering,’ the philologist Max Müller declared at the opening of his Rede lecture, delivered in the University of Cambridge on 29 May 1868. The cause of wonder for Müller on this occasion was the thousands of years that humans had lived in ‘conscious ignorance’ of the ancient layers of rock and the remains of organic creatures, before geological eyes were opened in the eighteenth century; and, more strikingly, the centuries during which names had been given to a panoply of living things while ‘what was much nearer to them than even the gravel on which they trod, namely the words of their own language’, escaped systematic notice. ‘Here, too,’ Müller observed, ‘the clearly marked lines of different strata seemed almost to challenge attention, and the pulses of former life were still throbbing in the petrified forms imbedded in grammars and dictionaries’. Yet this attention did not fully arrive until the nineteenth century, when the idea that language was a fixed and stable structure gave way to the view that it was a ‘growing and developing medium’ (Hans Aarsleff), a material accumulation susceptible to sifting, analysing, and accounting. This paper will wonder about what new varieties of thought were made possible by the association of these fields, and the analogies they engendered. The vastness and composite complexity of the linguistic record, with models of preservation and decay borrowed from geology, prompted reappraisals both of the utility and applicability of universal laws to human culture, and a fundamental rethinking of language itself.

Wednesday 7 June 2017 (Week 7)

Professor Oliver Zimmer, University of Oxford

Time Tribes: How the Railways Made Communities (1840-1900)

5.30 – 7.00, Seminar Room 3, St Anne’s College

When it comes to modern loyalties, scholars of various disciplines have predominantly looked at class, profession, region or nation. While these no doubt represent important sources of identity, in the long nineteenth century TIME emerged as a significant source of individual and collective self-definition. Increasingly, how people related to and made use of their own time marked out their actual and desired status. Time, that most elusive of matters, became instrumental for the making and unmaking of communities that sometimes transcended regional and national contexts. Much of this can be attributed to the railways and the temporal innovations they facilitated, above all standard time and railway timetables. This paper approaches the phenomenon in question – time tribes – through an investigation of British and German railway passengers.


Posted in Conferences and seminars, Of Victorian Interest | Leave a comment

CFP: Neo-Victorian Decadences, 8-9 September, Durham University

‘They did not eat physical food: they seemed to subsist on the appreciation of
beauty – a beauty unrecognized by humans or other denizens of the
mundane plane.’
China Miéville, Perdido Street Station (2000)

Do you believe there is a demimonde, Mr Chandler? A  half-world between what we know and what we fear. A place in the shadows rarely seen, but deeply felt.
Penny Dreadful (2014)

I made it all up, and it all came true anyway.
Alan Moore, From Hell (1999)

This two-day academic conference will take place between September 8–9, 2017 at St John’s College, Durham University. The conference aims to refocus Neo-Victorian studies by considering reinterpretations and representations of nineteenth-century decadence in works from the Interwar period to the present day.

We invite submissions for papers (15-20 minutes) on Neo-Victorian decadence in a wide range of fields, from literature to film, from sub-cultures to mass media, and everything in between. Abstracts of no more than 250 words will be accepted until May 31, 2017.

Keynote Speaker: Dr Nick Freeman, Loughborough University

Sponsored by the Department of English Studies at Durham University.

Conference Organisers: Dr Kostas Boyiopoulos, Durham University
Joseph Thorne, Liverpool John Moores University


Posted in Calls for papers, Conferences and seminars, Of Victorian Interest | Leave a comment


The Victorianist: BAVS Postgraduates

Aston University is offering three funded PhD studentships in any subject in the School of Languages & Social Sciences, starting October 2017. The right candidate(s) would be eligible to complete a full-time, three-year PhD in Victorian literature and culture studying under Dr Abigail Boucher. Dr Boucher will consider applications that focus on any aspect of Victorian literature, but is especially interested in proposals which focus on literature of the long nineteenth century, genre and popular fiction, class studies, or medicine and science in literature.

The closing date is 28 April 2017. Full details on the studentships may be found here: http://www.aston.ac.uk/lss/research/research-degrees/lss-phd-studentships-2017/

View original post

Posted in Others | Leave a comment