CFP: Victorian Treasures and Trash

October 19, 2013

The Victorian Popular Fiction Association

Victorian Treasures and Trash

6th Annual Conference, 8-10 July 2014

Institute of English Studies, Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU

Keynote Speaker: Dr Jonathon Shears (Keele), ‘“[…] battered […] soiled […] broken […] empty […] half-smoked […] stale”: The Hangover in Victorian Popular Fiction’.

Guest Speaker: Judith Flanders, ‘Painting Reality: Home vs. Home-ness’

Senate Library Special Collections Talk and ‘hands-on’ mini-exhibition: Dr Karen Attar, ‘Trash, Treasure or Trashy Treasure at the Institutional Library’.

The Victorian Popular Fiction Association conference is recognised as an important event on the annual conference circuit and offers a friendly and invigorating opportunity for established academics and post graduate students to share their current research. We remain committed to the revival of interest in understudied popular writers which is pivotal to the reputation this conference has established. 

The organisers invite a broad, imaginative and interdisciplinary interpretation of the topic and its relation to any aspect of Victorian popular literature and culture which might address literal or metaphorical representations of the theme.

We welcome proposals for 20 minute papers, or for panels of three papers, on topics which can include, but are not limited to:

Treasures and Trash in: the home, the street, the store, the library, the gutter, the island, the workhouse, the factory, etc.

Print culture and the literary marketplace: ‘trash’ fiction, high/low culture, taste, fashion, rarity, cheap editions, fine editions, ‘specials’, royalties, contracts, collectors, etc.

Treasure: buried, hoarded, displayed, collected, traded, neglected, etc.

Waste: scrap/s, refuse, recycling, reclamation, that which is/those who are discarded/unwanted, the abandoned, etc.

Dirt: gossip, scandal, degeneracy, decay, cleanliness, healthfulness, godliness, etc.

Trashed: defaced, vandalised, wasted, defamed, scandalised, denounced, drunk, drugged, etc.

Industry: the ethics of production, craftsmanship, the cheap, the mass-produced, etc.

Money: markets, debts/debtors, savings, shares, inheritances, ransoms, fortunes, etc.

Papers and artefacts: archives, special collections, the museum, the preserved, the priceless, the lost, digitised treasures, etc.

The Beloved: persons, possessions, memories, moments, etc.

Values: validity, value/worth, cost, price, morals, family values, etc.

Things: junk, clutter, paraphernalia, bric-a-brac, curiosities, trinkets, tokens/keepsakes, troves, etc.

People: fortune-hunters, gold-diggers, prospectors, speculators, pirates, con-artists, thieves, beggars, prostitutes, consumers, etc.

Special author panels: This year we will schedule special panels to be hosted by guest experts on each of six key popular authors; therefore we especially welcome papers about the following authors:

Mary Elizabeth Braddon (hosted by Anne-Marie Beller)

Wilkie Collins (hosted by Mariaconcetta Constantini)

Marie Corelli (hosted by Nickianne Moody)

Florence Marryat (hosted by Greta Depledge)

Ouida (hosted by Jane Jordan and Andrew King)

Robert Louis Stevenson (hosted by Sarah Clayson)

Other suggested authors/papers in previous years have also discussed authors such as:

J. M. Barrie, Mrs Beeton, Anne Brontë, Charlotte Brontë, Emily Brontë , Rhoda Broughton, Lewis Carroll,Mary Cholmondeley, Arthur Conan Doyle, Charles Dickens,George Eliot, Elizabeth Gaskell, George Gissing, Thomas Hardy, Jerome K. Jerome, Rudyard Kipling, Eliza Lynn Linton, Edith Nesbit, Margaret Oliphant, Olive Schreiner, Bram Stoker,William Makepeace Thackeray, Anthony Trollope, Mary Augusta Ward, H.G. Wells, Ellen Wood,Charlotte Yonge

Please send proposals of no more than 300 words to Drs. Kirsty Bunting, Janine Hatter and Helena Ifill at vpfamembership@gmail.com 

Deadline for proposals: Friday 4th April 2014

Organisers will offer acceptances in the days following the 18th April 2014.

The VPFA 2014 conference website will launch this winter and conference registration details will be announced shortly. All speakers must be a member of VPFA to present. To become a member, please email vpfamembership@gmail.com for a membership form. 

Meanwhile you can meet delegates and hear the latest conference news on the VPFA Facebook page:https://www.facebook.com/pages/Victorian-Popular-Fiction-Association/128736877207708 and through the twitter account @VPFA1. Also, you can follow the conference discussions using the hashtag #VPFA14

A Special Announcement: ‘Mary Elizabeth Braddon Association’


Building on VPFA’s fantastic achievements, at this year’s conference, Anna Brecke and Janine Hatter are launching the ‘Mary Elizabeth Braddon Association’. Braddon is now a staple author of sensation fiction, but as recent scholarship is demonstrating, her vast and versatile oeuvre is still under appreciated. The ‘Mary Elizabeth Braddon Association’ aims to consolidate Braddon’s recognition in Nineteenth Century studies by offering a central platform for Braddon studies. The Association will provide a forum for discussing Braddon issues; collate information on Braddon’s life and works; and identify and promote Braddon scholarship. To help launch this Association, VPFA will hold a meeting to discuss the Association’s aims and objectives at the conference, which will then feed into the next Study Day.

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