Of Victorian Interest

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Of Victorian Interest

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CFP: Imagining Victorian Settler Homes: Antipodal Domestic Fiction (8/1/2011)

We invite original articles for an edited collection on settler homes in nineteenth-century Australian and New Zealand writing. The collection proposes antipodal domestic fiction as a distinct genre that had an important formative function in the development of nineteenth-century literature in English, while it participated in a discourse on settler colonialism that was to engender persistent clichés in the popular imagination, both “back home” in the metropolitan centre and in the new homes overseas.

Nineteenth-century literature and art created some of the most poignant and lasting images of settler homes. On both sides of the Pacific as well as the Atlantic pro-emigration posters, advice manuals for the future settler, cautionary tales, a widely circulated periodical press, as well as popular novels capitalised on a pervasive fascination with colonial expansion, with the frontier, the possibilities of the New World, and the difficulties of setting up home elsewhere. They helped establish images of ideal settler homes, meeting an urgent need for affirmative representations of the new lives that would-be settlers were planning overseas. At the same time, as settler authors frequently wrote with a twofold – colonial and metropolitan – readership in mind, they at once traded on and sought to rework popular representations of the wild, exotic, easily sensationalised “bush.” However, whereas tales of the gold rush, of adventures at the frontier, the bush, or during the New Zealand Wars played into readerly expectations in the metropolitan centre and simultaneously created ideologies of mateship that were to define settler masculinity, emergent genres of domestic settler fiction (predominantly, if not exclusively, by women writers) increasingly attempted to revise clichéd images of the wild bush. Children’s literature, women’s settler memoirs, and magazines specifically targeting the colonial girl, as well as domestic novels constructed and revised changing expectations of settler homes. Simultaneously, they helped create and circulate nineteenth-century literature on an unprecedentedly global scale.

While the collection’s main focus is domestic fiction about Britain’s geographical “antipodes,” comparative approaches to transpacific and transatlantic settler genres or to contrasting representations in metropolitan and colonial settler writing are also welcome.

Please submit abstracts of ca. 500 words, accompanied by a brief biographical note, to tswagner@ntu.edu.sg

The deadline for abstracts is 1 August 2011.

Completed essays will be due on 1 February 2012.

Tamara S. Wagner
Associate Professor
English Literature

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