Call for contributions for Cahiers victoriens et édouardiens n°98, Fall 2023 – “Victorian and Edwardian Autobiographies”

(https://journals.openedition.org/cve/1043)

A 400-word abstract and brief biography should be sent to Aude Haffen (aude.haffen@gmail.com) by November 10th, 2021. Notifications of acceptance will be sent by December 18th, 2021. Full articles (up to 7,000 words) will be due by June 10th, 2022.

This issue of Les Cahiers victoriens et édouardiens aims to shed new light on Victorian and Edwardian self-narratives and self-representations (autobiographies, letters, travelogues, diaries etc.) by focussing on their connection to the period’s mainstream as well as minor or marginal literary tropes, political ideas, ethical principles, epistemological frameworks and religious beliefs. Subaltern forms of life-writing will be of particular interest, but also literary endeavours which challenge dominant views of the subject from within their own hegemonic or canonical status. Postmodern, feminist, queer, Marxist and Foucauldian theories have fruitfully engaged with how modern subjectivities were fashioned by 19th century capitalist, patriarchal, scientific discourses and archetypal narratives like the Bildungsroman. However, the actual autobiographical practices of the time might also involve forms of self-representation and self-understanding which elude such ideological patterns and frameworks of subjectivation. From the cultural centre epitomized by John Stuart Mill’s Autobiography to less prominent and even marginal positions (those, for example, held by female, queer, working-class, radical or Black autobiographers or diarists), Victorian and Edwardian life-writing practices might indeed resist the liberal paradigm of universal male agents developing individual selfhood along a linear course leading to wholeness, self-discipline and self-knowledge. 

We invite contributions from all fields of 19th and early 20th-century literature, history and cultural studies. Topics and approaches might include: 

– Autobiography and liberalism

– Chartists’, socialists’, workers’ autobiographies

– Black British autobiographers

– Circulation, impact and literary influence of American ex-slave self-narratives and Black abolitionists’ lecture tours in Victorian Britain

– Archiving and publication history of subaltern self-narratives

– Women’s autobiographies; gender and sexuality

– Religion and faith

– Psychology, psychiatry and psychoanalysis

– Hybrid forms of self-narratives; “autobiografiction” (Max Saunders); autobiographical uses of literary paradigms, motifsand patterns

– Diaries, journals, letters, travelogues, poetry, biography as alternative modes of self-representation

– 20th and 21st-century rediscovery and reinterpretation of Victorian and Edwardian personal voices (biographies, Neo-Victorian literature, films and series)

Selective bibliography: 

Amigoni, David (ed.)., Life-Writing and Victorian Culture. Ashgate, 2006. 

Bensimon, Fabrice, “L’histoire ouvrière au prisme des autobiographies en Grande-Bretagne au XIXe siècle”, SFEVE conference “Popular forms and practices of reading and writing in the Victorian and Edwardian eras”, January 2021.

https://sfeve.hypotheses.org/date/2020/12

Buckton Selves, Oliver, Confession and Same-Sex Desire in Victorian Autobiography, University of North Carolina Press, 1998. 

Foucault, Michel, Histoire de la sexualité I : La volonté de savoir, Gallimard, 1976.  

Gagnier, Regenia, Subjectivities: A History of Self-Representation in Britain, 1832-1920, OUP, 1991.

Gurney, Peter, “Working‐Class Writers and the Art of Escapology in Victorian England: The Case of Thomas Frost”, Journal of British Studies, Vol. 45, No. 1 (January 2006), pp. 51-71.

Regard, Frédéric (ed.), Mapping the Self.  Space, Identity, Discourse in British Auto/Biography, Publications de l’Université de Saint-Étienne, 2003.

Roulston, Chris, “The Revolting Anne Lister: The U.K.’s First Modern Lesbian”, The Journal of Lesbian Studies, 17:1, 2013, pp. 267-278.

Saunders, Max, Self Impression: Life-Writing, Autobiografiction, and the Forms of Modern Literature, OUP, 2010.

Stanley, Liz, The Auto/biographical I: The Theory and Practice of Feminist Auto/biography, Manchester University Press, 1995.

Stapleton, Julia, Political Intellectuals and Public Identities in Britain since 1850, Manchester University Press, 2001.

One response to “Call for contributions for Cahiers victoriens et édouardiens n°98, Fall 2023 – “Victorian and Edwardian Autobiographies”

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