Victorian Network is an MLA-indexed online journal dedicated to publishing and promoting the best postgraduate work in Victorian Studies.
The eighth issue of Victorian Network, guest edited by Dr Cathrine Frank (University of New England), will take a fresh look at the interfaces between literature and legal cultures in the Victorian period. From the Reform Acts through the growth of colonial law to the establishment of divorce courts, nineteenth-century legislature shaped and responded to the same cultural developments – the rise of the middle class, industrialisation, imperial expansion, and shifting ideas about gender, to name but a few – that were also eagerly debated by literary writers. The politics and aesthetics of many nineteenth-century novelists, poets and playwrights were informed by a sustained engagement with legal debates and practices. Their works often reflected on, and sometimes challenged, the law’s construction of civic, social and gender identities, while also casting a critical (or appraising) eye over the bureaucratic apparatus on which legal practice was built.
We are inviting submissions of no more than 7000 words. Possible topics include, but are by no means limited to, the following:
- wills, trusts and guardianship accounts: the materiality of the legal archive
- Victorian trials, sensation and theatricality
- criminal law, lawlessness, realist epistemologies and the detective plot
- Victorian law and gender
- the reaches of the law: imperialism and the legal & literary creation of colonial identities
- intersections between genres of legal and literary writing
- “brought up a barrister”: nineteenth-century authors, legal training, professionalization and the bar
- radical politics, social change and the working class in Victorian literature and the law
- debates about rights to intellectual and literary property
- the spaces and cultural venues of legal practice
All submissions should conform to MHRA style conventions and the in-house submission guidelines. The deadline for submissions to our next issue is 1 April, 2013.