Of Victorian Interest

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CFP: “We Are Not Amused”: Victorian Comedy and Humour (11/1/2012; 6/1-4/2013)

CFP for the Victorian Studies Association of Ontario's ACCUTE (Association of Canadian College and University Teachers of English) member-organized panel:
“We Are Not Amused”: Victorian Comedy and Humour

Abstracts due: Nov 1, 2012
Conference date and location: June 1-4, University of Victoria, BC

Comedy is under-explored in Victorian literary criticism, but it is pervasive in the texts of the era, from brief moments—Dickens’ caricatures and Thackeray’s asides—to more extended treatments, in Lear’s nonsense verse and Jerome K. Jerome’s widely popular Three Men in a Boat.

This panel invites papers that explore comedy, humour and laughter in Victorian literature and cultural productions. What functions did comedy serve in Victorian texts? When is its humour riotous and anarchic, and when does it reinforce norms? How comfortably did comedy sit alongside the period’s idealization of moral and artistic solemnity? What effect does laughing at, or laughing with, texts and characters have upon our understanding of them? Why are the comic features of a scene or moment important?

Papers may consider such topics as:

  • Parody, burlesque, farce and satire
  • Ditties, jokes, word-play, wit and puns
  • Black humour and the grotesque
  • Clowning, the circus, and comic performance
  • “Serious cheerfulness” and the mixing of wit and gravity
  • Savoy Operas and the music hall
  • Eminent Victorians and depictions of Victorian earnestness          
  • Failed humour or humourlessness
  • Caricatures and stereotypes
  • Comedy as social critique or subversive force
  • Sentimental humour
  • The science and philosophy of Victorian laughter

ACCUTE requires the following of all proposed papers: 

  • a 700-word proposal or completed paper (of approximately 8-10 double-spaced pages, not to exceed 20 minutes in presentation). Please note that because of our policy of blind vetting, ACCUTE cannot accept proposals or papers that include identifying marks. These include information in headers, references to your work or to your collaborations with others, your rank or institutional affiliation, or any other information that might identify you to a vettor.
  • a completed Proposal Submissions Information Sheet, available from the ACCUTE website: http://www.accute.ca/generalcall.html
  • a 100-word abstract of the proposed presentation
  • a 50-word bio-bibliographical note on yourself

Email address for submissions: VSAOatACCUTE@gmail.com

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