Thursday, October 20, 2011

CFP: Victorian Hesitations: Indeterminacy in Language, Art, and Politics (11/15/2011; 5/28-31/2012)

Victorian Studies Association of Ontario/ Assoc. of Canadian College and University Teachers of English - Joint Panel
Fiona Coll and Constance Crompton

Victorian Hesitations: Indeterminacy in Language, Art, and Politics

For knowing his way he is answerable, and therefore [the young artist] must not walk doubtingly … he may pause, but he must not hesitate. - Ruskin, Modern Painters

Lord Hartington's conduct seems to give signs of hesitation. - The Nation, April 1886

The Victorian ethos is often understood to have been based upon action, expansion, and initiative. However, behind all the evidence of Victorian vim and vigour lie traces of equivocation, vacillation, and indecision. From the Crown's factual reluctance to make Cameroon a British protectorate to Lady Bracknell's fictional admonition against irresolution in The Importance of Being Earnest, a concern with hesitation marks the prose and policy of the era. This panel invites papers that explore suspended moments in Victorian culture – moments when a delay, however long, was of real consequence. How did the Victorians understand hesitation? How did they weigh the ethics of equivocation against the virtues of candor? How did their moments of uncertainty manifest themselves in movement? How was the difference between deliberation and doubt calibrated in this age of enterprise?

Papers may focus on, but need not be limited to:

  • Anxiety
  • Contemplation
  • Deliberation
  • Doubt
  • Dubiety
  • Irresolution
  • Meditation
  • Pause
  • Prevarication
  • Reconsideration
  • Reflection
  • Reluctance
  • Restriction
  • Stillness
  • Suspense

Following the instructions on the ACCUTE website (under Conference) for joint association sessions, send your 700-word proposal (or 8-10 page double-spaced paper), a 100-word abstract, a 50-word biographical statement, and the submitter information form (, to Constance Crompton at by November 15th.