CFP – Lesser Victorians: Beyond the Canon in Victorian Fiction

CFP – Lesser Victorians: Beyond the Canon in Victorian Fiction

Trinity College Dublin, Ireland – 12-13 September 2013

Deadline for proposals: 31 May 2013

“sun destroys/ The interest of what’s happening in the shade” (Philip Larkin)

Scholarly research into the iconic fictions of canonical Victorian writers like Dickens, Thackeray, Eliot and Hardy continues to grow and ramify in rich and often unexpected ways. Thanks however to unprecedented and ever-expanding digital access to works long out of print, as well as ongoing excavations by scholars such as John Sutherland, the issue of non-canonical, ‘minor’ and outright forgotten fictions is now on the agenda of Victorian studies as never before.

This two-day conference will be dedicated very particularly to just such marginalised fictions and their writers. We invite proposals for 20-minute papers whose focus might include but would not be restricted to:

·      close readings of individual texts;

·      critical appreciations of individual authors (e.g. Harrison Ainsworth, Albert Smith, Harriet Martineau, Charles Lever);

·      explorations into the relationships between particular canonical authors/texts and their lesser-known contemporaries;

·      analyses of the ideological dynamics of Victorian canon formation;

·      revisitings of sub-genres such as sensation fiction or children’s fiction;

·      accounts of the role played by Victorian print culture (including serial and anonymous modes of publication) in the production and reception of fictional works.

By dint of sheer quantity of output, Victorian fiction is still a vastly underexplored terrain. It is our hope that this conference will yield a stimulating and provocative blend of papers that will open up exciting new pathways for future study. We envisage a publication with an internationally renowned scholarly press resulting from the conference by 2015.

Closing date for the submission of proposals (200-300 words) is 31 May 2013. Please include a short biographical note with your proposal. Notification of acceptance will be given by mid-June 2013.

Please send your proposals to:

Daragh Downes (Trinity College Dublin) <>

Trish Ferguson (Liverpool Hope University) <>

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