Of Victorian Interest

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Of Victorian Interest

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CFP: MLA 2013 Special Session "Neo-Victorianism and Marginal Voices" (3/15/2012; 1/3-6/2013)

This proposed special session panel seeks papers that explore the parameters of neo-Victorian literature from a variety of historical, formal, or theoretical approaches.  Questions addressed might include (but are certainly not limited to) the following:

  • What is neo-Victorian literature?  What are the genre’s boundaries?   What are its defining characteristics?  Are there exemplary texts?
  • What is “new” about neo-Victorian literature?  Form?  Subject positioning?  Narrative technique?  The alignment of readers’ sympathies?  Something else?
  • How has it developed as a genre?  From where does it come, and where might we expect it to go?
  • How does neo-Victorian literature provide a site for marginal voices to address issues of identity, subjectivity, politics, race, class, etc.?  How does it work in establishing alternative histories?
  • What do these texts aim to do?  Do they (or must they) have political agendas?  In what way do they question ideologies or ideas of history or given knowledge in other epistemological categories like science or sexuality?  Do they always represent an alternative to the dominant cultural narrative?
  • What relationships does this literature depict between the metropolitan center and the colonial margins?  Must it be set in one or the other?  As a genre, does it represent a particular subject position?  Must it address the colonial experience?
  • Is neo-Victorian literature best understood as a subset of postcolonial literature, or is it a distinct genre?
  • What time period forms the boundaries of neo-Victorian literature?  When can it be written, and when must it be set?
  • Where should neo-Victorian literature be taught?  In courses on Victorian literature or the Victorian novel?  Postcolonial courses?  Twentieth-century Anglophone courses?  Elsewhere?  And what might be the point of teaching these texts?
  • What do neo-Victorian texts tell us about the Victorians?  What do they tell us about ourselves in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries?

Papers that contextualize neo-Victorian texts, the issues they raise, or their creators or consumers are welcome.

Please send 250-word abstracts to Cameron Bushnell (cbushne@clemson.edu) and Elizabeth McClure (emcclure@umd.edu) no later than March 15, 2012.

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