Of Victorian Interest

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Of Victorian Interest

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CFP: Special Issue of Women's Writing on Dinah Mulock Craik (2/1/2012)

Special Issue of Women's Writing: Re-evaluating Dinah Mulock Craik
Guest Editor: Karen Bourrier, Consulting Editor: Sally Mitchell

Throughout her lifetime and since her death, Dinah Mulock Craik (1826-1887) has been considered either ahead of her time or a touchstone for all things Victorian. Henry James, for example, assessed her work as “kindly, somewhat dull, pious, and very sentimental.” At the other end of the spectrum, Elaine Showalter found that she excelled at a “peculiar combination of didacticism and subversive feminism.”1

This special issue of Women's Writing seeks to re-evaluate Dinah Mulock Craik's life and work, moving beyond assessments of her work as either too sentimental or subversive. Recent scholarship on Craik has contributed new contexts to the appreciation of her work. The rise of disability studies has spurred scholars to re-consider the role of invalids in Craik's work, and her complicated relationships with Ireland and Scotland have led to a re-evaluation of the role of the nation in her novels. Her personal involvement in and fictional treatment of controversial topics such as adoption and the Deceased Wife's Sister's Act, along with her widely-cited series of essays, “A Woman's Thoughts on Women,” continue to act as a touchstone for scholars considering women's roles in Victorian family life. This issue aims to interrogate what was idiosyncratic in her views and writings and what was more representative of Victorian thought, in order to gain a fuller understanding of her work and multi-faceted career.

Topics might include but are by no means limited to:

  • Craik and disability
  • Craik and nationality
  • Craik and marriage / adoption
  • re-evaluating the woman writer's career
  • Craik's posthumous reputation
  • Craik and children's literature
  • the twentieth-century reception of Craik's work
  • Craik's relationships with other women writers; women's systems of mentorship
  • Craik's relationships with male publishers and artists
  • transatlantic publishing strategies and Craik's American audience
  • Craik and the periodical publishing system
  • Craik as poet
  • Craik and class

Please submit articles of 4,000 to 7,000 words for consideration to the Guest Editor, Dr. Karen Bourrier, University of Western Ontario, karen.bourrier@gmail.com, by 1 February 2012.

Contributors should follow the journal’s house style, details of which are available on the Women’s Writing website http://www.tandf.co.uk/journals/womenswriting.

1See Henry James, “A Noble Life” in Notes and Reviews, Cambridge: Dunster House: 1921, page 172. Elaine Showalter. “Dinah Mulock Craik and the Tactics of Sentiment: A Case Study in Victorian Female Authorship” in Feminist Studies, 2:2/3 (1975), page 6.

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