Sunday, December 29, 2013

New Deadline: “The Afterlives of Pastoral” (2/22/2014; 7/4-5/2014)

“The Afterlives of Pastoral”
University of Queensland
July 4-5, 2014
New Deadline: February 22, 2014

Since William Empson published his landmark Some Versions of Pastoral in 1935, the ancient mode that is pastoral has been re-visioned and re-analysed, and a range of scholarly readings has confirmed there is no easy or comfortable way of pinning down just how pastoral operates either in Virgil’s Eclogues or in the literature the poem has inspired since the Renaissance. Annabel Patterson in her Pastoral and Ideology: Virgil to ValĂ©ry (1987) focused on why Virgilian pastoral has echoed and continues to echo through western literary history, arguing “it is not what pastoral is that should matter to us”; what is far more useful is to consider “how writers, artists, and intellectuals of all persuasions have used pastoral for a range of functions and intentions that the Eclogues first articulated” (7; emphasis in original). In 1996, pastoral scholar Paul Alpers referred to “a happy confusion of definitions,” and with a linguistic nod to Empson, confirmed “there are as many versions of pastoral as there are critics and scholars who write about it” and that “‘pastoral’ can still be a word to conjure with” (What Is Pastoral? 8).

Over the last twenty-five years, there has been a resurgence of interest not only in the theory and criticism of pastoral but in literature that in various ways is in dialogue with the mode. For instance, Seamus Heaney self-consciously writes back to Virgil, and Stanley Fish has noted telling elements of pastoral in Suzanne Collins’s blockbuster trilogy The Hunger Games (2008–2010). Environmental criticism, too, has found a dialogue with this tradition to be a productive way of thinking about the human/nature relationships in which so many current environmental issues are embedded.

This symposium invites a dialogue on the afterlives of pastoral. It is inspired by the recent pastoral turn, by the questioning title of Alpers’s book, and by Patterson’s focus on the pastoral as literature in action. As Alpers reminds us, the pleasures of nymphs and shepherds and their herds are only ever the vehicle for a quite different, darker discourse: “the very notion of pastoral . . . represents a fantasy that is dissipated by the recognition of political and social realities” (24).

In this spirit, the organizers seek participants from a wide range of fields, including literature, the performing arts, music and other forms of cultural discourse that engage with the core of this ancient tradition.

CFP: Victorian Collections and Collecting (3/14/2014; 10/16-18/2014)

Victorian Collections & Collecting
California State University, Fullerton
October 16-18, 2014
Deadline: March 14, 2014

Keynote speaker: Anne Helmreich (Senior Program Office, The Getty Foundation; Art History, Case Western) is the author of The English Garden and National Identity, the Competing Styles of Garden Design, 1870-1914, and numerous articles and book chapters on the art and architecture of nineteenth-century Great Britain. 

We encourage papers across all disciplines. Suggested topics include, but are not limited to:
  • Collecting/Collections and commodity culture
  • Connoisseurship, expertise, and elites
  • Collected works and Oeuvres
  • Communities/coteries of taste
  • Art, museums, and curation
  • Collecting science and nature
  • Congregations, Crowds, Masses, Mobs
  • Collecting and empire
  • Competitive collecting
  • Collecting and Entrepreneurship
  • Eccentric and eclectic collections
  • Centripetal and centrifugal forces
  • Collecting among the nouveau riche
  • Periodicals as collections
  • Collecting as a response to modernity
  • Cataloging, indexing, and taxonomies
  • Neo-Victorian and steampunk collections
  • Genres of collection: Anthologies, Albums, Compilations, Compendia
  • Hoarding and obsession

California State University, Fullerton is a major regional university in a vital, flourishing area that includes Orange County, metropolitan Los Angeles and the expanding Inland Empire. The campus is set in Fullerton in north Orange County, about 25 miles south of downtown Los Angeles, 21 miles east of nearby beaches, and just minutes from Disneyland.

To submit: Email a 300-word abstract and 1-page CV (name on both) to by March 14, 2014.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Reminder: Coastal Cultures of the Long Nineteenth Century (12/20/2013; 3/14-15/2014)

CFP: Coastal Cultures of the Long Nineteenth Century
University of Oxford
March 14-15, 2014
Deadline: December 20, 2013

Speakers secured include Kate Flint, Margaret Cohen, Rosemary Ashton, Valentine Cunningham, Fiona Stafford, Christiana Payne, Roger Ebbatson, Mina Gorji, and Nick Freeman.

The committee would like to alert you to their conference, which will explore the diversity of experiences dependent on the coasts in the long nineteenth century. The years between the naval blockade of 1775, which began the American War, and the start of the First World War in 1914 witnessed a dramatic expansion of uses for and understandings of the coast, on both sides of the Atlantic and elsewhere. Prior to the second half of the eighteenth century, coasts tended to be thought of as unhealthy, dangerous places. Developments in both medicine and aesthetics changed this. Over the course of the nineteenth century, the coast increasingly developed a multiplicity of meaning that makes it a particularly interesting object of study, related to but also different from spaces such as the sea or the ship. The coast could seem to be at once a space of clarity and misty distance, a terminus or breaking-off point, and a place of embarkation—a place of solitude and exhilaration, of uselessness and instrumentality. Coasts offered opportunities for convalescence, but also for sublime abandon, for the eking out of a fixed income in old age, but also for reckless gambling, for showing off and also retiring from public view. ‘Coastal Cultures’ will address how coasts were figured and experienced during the long nineteenth century, and explore the ways in which the period was importantly shaped and defined by coastal encounters. We invite papers that fit into every conceivable part of this complex web of coastal stories, and welcome proposals from PhD and early career applicants, as well as more established academics. Topics might include:

  • Aesthetics of the coast: the sublime; the everyday
  • Convalescence and medicine: the coastal health resort
  • Science and the coast: geology, microscopy, the aquarium
  • Technology and the coast: the steam-boat; telegraphy; diving suits
  • Coastal musicology: from Fingal’s Cave to A Sea Symphony
  • The coast and the visual arts: ‘coastscape’; artistic colonies
  • Coastal mythologies: Fingal, Jesus in Penzance
  • Sunken cities: Lyonesse: Dunwich; Savannah-la-Mar; Cantre'r Gwaelod; Ys
  • Island nation and its limits: migration; transnationality; spies
  • Working coasts: fishing; mining; quarrying; smuggling; wrecking

To complement the conference there will be a specially curated maritime-themed song recital, with professional singers from the Guildhall School for Music, introduced by musicologist and concert pianist Dr Ceri Owen. The programme will draw together settings of poems about the sea and the coasts by poets such as Whitman, Barrett Browning, and Newbolt, by composers such as Elgar, Stanford and Vaughan Williams.

Please send 200 word abstracts for a 20 minute paper by December 20, 2013, along with a brief biography, to Dr. Matthew Ingleby (UCL) and Dr. Matthew Kerr (Oxford) at

CFP: BAVS 2014 "Victorian Sustainability" (3/31/2014; 9/4-6/2014)

BAVS 2014
New Centre for Victorian Literature and Culture
University of Kent, Canterbury
September 4-6, 2014
Deadline: March 31, 2014

“Victorian Sustainability”
From emerging ideas about the perils of environmental degradation to the establishment of the National Trust, the concept of sustainability began to take on a new importance in the Victorian period that remains relevant in 21st-century modernity. We welcome proposals which address any aspect of Victorian sustainability and especially encourage interdisciplinary approaches.

Topics may include but are not limited to:
  • Victorian nature writing and/or discourses of nature and science
  • Heritage and preservation (of built environments, natural landscapes, species, material cultures)
  • Climate change and the Victorians
  • Sustenance and sustainability
  • Victorian discourses of emotional/psychological sustainability or wellbeing
  • Eco-criticism and environmental aesthetics in Victorian literature
  • Sustaining the Victorians (literary and/or cultural legacies)
  • ‘Green imperialism’ and/or colonial sustainability
  • The emergence of self-sufficiency and sustainable ways of life in the Victorian period
  • Waste/pollution vs. recycling/renewal in urban and industrial contexts
  • Narratives of catastrophe, risk, decay or crisis in the Victorian period
  • Representations of growth, flourishing and/or transformation in Victorian literature and culture
  • Social ecology and the relation between human and non-human in the Victorian period
  • Victorian pastoral and/or the legacy of Romanticism
  • The sustainability of Victorian Studies

Proposals (300 words max.) are due by March 31, 2014, and should be sent Panel proposals (comprised of 3 paper proposals, plus an additional 300 words explaining how the papers are linked in addressing the theme) are also welcome.

Any inquiries about the Centre or the conference may be sent to the Centre Director, Professor Wendy Parkins at

For more information visit the website:

Summer Seminar: NEH “Performing Dickens: Oliver Twist and Great Expectations on Page Stage, and Screen” (3/4/2014; 7/7-8/1/2014)

National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Seminar
University of California Santa Cruz
July 7, 2014-August 1, 2014
Deadline: March 4, 2014
Stipend:  $3,300.00

Applications are now open for “Performing Dickens: Oliver Twist and Great Expectations on Page Stage, and Screen,” a four-week National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Seminar for College and University Teachers that Sharon Aronofsky Weltman is directing, sponsored by the Dickens Project at the University of California Santa Cruz.  Throughout the seminar, participants will examine Oliver Twist (1837-1839) and Great Expectations (1860-1861), along with a range of important film, television, and stage adaptations from 1837 to 2012. Many of these—such as David Lean’s 1946 Great Expectations or Lionel Bart’s 1960 musical Oliver!—have become classics in their own right.  The seminar will place the novels in theatrical context, discussing Dickens’s own many connections to drama. These include both the theater’s profound effect on his art (he wrote while acting out his characters in front of a mirror) and Dickens’s dynamic effect on Victorian performance practice (through collaboration with other playwrights, his wildly successful reading tours, and the vast number of successful Victorian plays based on the novels).  The seminar will also ask more broadly how adaptations and performances interpret their source texts and affect their meaning. Placing different scholarly, critical, and theoretical traditions of performance, adaptation, literature, theater, and film in conversation with one another will yield important new insights. Dickens—as an author who is inherently theatrical and is more frequently adapted than any other—is an ideal vehicle to consider these issues. 

Sixteen college and university teachers will read and discuss “performing Dickens” as they work on their own related research projects, with a stipend of $3,300.00. Two of these sixteen spots are available for graduate students. 

For information detailed information about the “Performing Dickens” NEH seminar, including how to apply, please see the website

Seminar Director:  Sharon Aronofsky Weltman (Louisiana State University)
Visiting Faculty:    Tracy Davis (Northwestern University)
                                Carolyn Williams (Rutgers University)
                                Jacky Bratton (University of London-Royal Holloway)
                                John Glavin (Georgetown University) 

Special Event: One-day Workshop "Hopkins' Audiences" (4/4/2014)

A One-day Workshop
Research Beehive, Old Library Building, Newcastle University
April 4, 2014
9am – 5:30pm

Hopkins' Audiences 
“I cannot think of altering anything”, Hopkins told Robert Bridges of The Wreck of the Deutschland, “Why shd. I? I do not write for the public. You are my public and I hope to convert you.” This one-day workshop, held in celebration of the new Oxford Collected Works edition of Hopkins’ correspondence, will debate how Hopkins’ notion of his public—both real and imagined—informs the nature of his writing and reception. For whom did Hopkins write? What are his poetry’s modes of address? How did regard or disregard for the expectations of audience shape his work? What relation has it to the difficulty of his poetry?

The structure of the day will be informal, combining papers, panels, and open discussion.

Organisers: Martin Dubois and R.K.R. Thornton
Supported by: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Newcastle University
Oxford University Press

For more information visit:

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Prize: NAVSA 2014 Best Book of the Year Prize (1/31/2014)

NAVSA 2014 Best Book of the Year Prize
Deadline: January 31, 2014

The North American Victorian Studies Association is currently accepting submissions for our new annual prize for the best book of the year in Victorian studies. In addition to receiving complementary conference registration and up to $1000 for travel, the winner of the NAVSA Best Book of the Year will be honored with a special round table devoted to the book at the annual NAVSA conference. Note that the prize is contingent on the author’s attendance at the next NAVSA conference for the entire range of conference dates. Authors must appear in person at the book-prize roundtable or they are not eligible for the award. Next year’s conference will occur in London, Ontario on November 13 -16.  Books may be on any topic related to the study of Victorian Britain and/or its empire and must carry a 2013 copyright date.

The deadline for nominations is January 31, 2014. (That’s a receipt deadline, not a postmark deadline.) Please see the NAVSA website for more details: 

Feel free to contact Melissa Gregory if you have questions:

Seminars: Birkbeck Centre for Nineteenth-Century Studies (Winter 2014)

The London Nineteenth-Century Studies Seminar 2013-2014 Programme
Institute of English Studies, University of London
Birkbeck Centre for Nineteenth-Century Studies
Winter 2014

Inaugurated by Birkbeck's Centre for Nineteenth-Century Studies in 1987, the Seminar is chaired by Dr Ana Vadillo (Birkbeck, University of London) and organised by a committee made up of nineteenth-century specialists from the English Departments of the colleges of the University of London. Responsibility for each season of seminars is passed around the group.

Friday December 13, 2013
Stewart House, Room G37 (Ground Floor)
32 Russell Square, London, WC1B 5DN
Time: 17:30 - 19:30

'Oscar Wilde: The Editor and the Journalist'
John Stokes (KCL, Emeritus) and Mark Turner (KCL) will be speaking about their recent 2 volume edition of Wilde’s journalism.
This event is co-sponsored by the 'Shows of London' Research Group at KCL:

Friday January 17, 2014
Stewart House, Room 349 (3rd Floor)
32 Russell Square, London, WC1B 5DN
Time: 17:30 - 19:30

Archaeology of Emotions 1
Stefano Evangelista (Oxford): 'Encounters with Sculpture in Sigmund Freud and Vernon Lee: Science, Aesthetics, Pathology'.
Carolyn Burdett (Birkbeck, University of London): 'From shareability to Unanimism: or, how psychology tried to keep the Good in the Beautiful'

Friday February 7, 2014
Stewart House, Room 349 (3rd Floor)
32 Russell Square, London, WC1B 5DN
Time: 17:30 - 19:30

Archaeology of Emotions 2: Panel on 'An Archaeology of Sympathy'
Speaker: James Chandler (Chicago)
Respondent: Luisa Cale (Birkbeck, University of London)

For more information, see: or contact contact Ana Vadillo

Sunday, December 08, 2013

CFP: Poetic Genre and Social Imagination: Pope to Swinburne (1/15/2014; 5/9-10/2014)

University of Chicago
May 9-10, 2014
Deadline: January 15, 2014

Scholars of English and American poetry have recently called for a new historical poetics capable of analyzing relations between culture and poetic form (including meter and rhyme as well as specific verse forms like the sonnet, ottava rima, the Spenserian stanza, etc). Two approaches have dominated this conversation. The first recovers lost ways of thinking about form—in prosody manuals, recorded performance, private correspondence, newspaper reviews, and so on—and reads them back into cultural history. The second historicizes poems from the inside out, making evident social affinities and antagonisms in literary form by comparative description. These approaches begin with different premises, but both demonstrate that the conventions of twentieth-century formal analysis—foot-substitution prosody, for example—have obscured the range of formal effects that have at different times been available to poets and readers.

This conference proposes further consideration of these issues in terms of genre. Genre was one essential feature of historical poetics when Russian critic Aleksandr Veselovsky first used the term over a century ago, but its potential for a contemporary historical poetics has not been fully explored. Our focus will be Great Britain during a period of staggering poetic and social reinvention, between the ages of Pope and Swinburne (roughly 1700–1900). We are interested in the development and proliferation of genres (and subgenres) themselves, as well as the dynamics between formal and generic attributes. Most importantly, we aim to foster new ways of thinking about how form and genre relate to the broader social imaginary. Special priority will be given to papers that demonstrate this relation.

During daytime sessions, the conference will feature two-scholar panels organized by topic or theoretical approach. These presentations will be followed by a third scholar’s formal response, then by open discussion. The keynote talks will be held in the afternoon. A poetry reading by Tom Leonard and Simon Jarvis will be held on Friday evening.

Some questions that papers may address include:
  • How stable are the conventions of genre—the link between lyric and subjectivity, for example, or between epic and empire—over time?
  • What can we learn about form and genre from discussions of these topics in the period by both canonical critics (Johnson, Coleridge, Hazlitt) and the popular press?
  • What is the significance of imitation and translation exercises in the schools for thinking about form, genre, and class in the period?
  • How should we regard genres that are also metrical or formal designations (e.g., elegy)?
  • How do poets adapt prose genres, like the essay or the novel, for their poetic purposes? And what about the inverse? What does the adaptation  do to the social or political potential of the original genre?
  • What does satire expose or conceal about its objects, and what are its deeper social functions?
  • What influence did parallel developments of poetic genre in other European countries have on genres in Great Britain?
  • Is nonsense verse an affirmation or a critique of poetic norms, and how (if at all) does it relate to actually existing social conditions?
  • What is the special status of a genre located within another genre (lyric in epic or novel; lyric or ballad in drama; epigram or epitaph in lyric or ballad)?
  • Is the “composite art” of figures such as Blake and Dante Gabriel Rossetti a genre unto itself?
  • What can study of genres for child readers tell us about social life in the period?
  • What is the function of genre in poetic translation? How can we understand the questions of genre that arise in the major poetic translations of the period? How should we understand the difference, especially in social and/or class terms, between translation from classical and from modern texts?
  • Is the rise of coffeehouse and newspaper culture evident in the generic innovations of Pope and his contemporaries?
  • Was poetry in the eighteenth century closer to conversation than poetry that followed, as J. Paul Hunter has argued?
  • Are there unique formal features of erotic poetry (that of Swinburne, for example) that suggest a clear relation to social norms?

Please send brief proposals (no more than 300 words) for twenty-minute presentations to by January 15, 2014.