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Call for Articles: Paganism in Late Victorian Britain (3/1/2013)

Cahiers victoriens et édouardiens is planning to publish in 2014 a special issue on paganism in late Victorian Britain (1870-1900). During this key transition period, representations of pagan belief and ritual considerably evolved in the wake of new anthropological and archeological explorations of “primitive cultures” (E. B. Tylor). Our aim in this volume will be to try and shed light on this rising interest in paganism in art, religion, science and politics in the later years of the 19th century. We will welcome contributions on all aspects of late Victorian paganism, especially those offering a cross-disciplinary focus. We invite in particular proposals that examine paganism from a comparative and intercultural perspective, rather than as a purely literary object, with particular attention paid to:
  • Paganism as an expression of the late Victorian interest in alternative forms of worship and religious belief, and as a reaction against industrialization, materialism, scientism, and the dwindling of traditional faiths.
  • The eclecticism of late Victorian paganism, which drew on a wide range of beliefs, ritual practices, national or regional customs, traditions and folklore: Greek, Roman and Egyptian antiquity, Celtic and Norse mythology, druidism, Odinism, occultism, esotericism, spiritualism, witchcraft, freemasonry, Rosicrucianism, etc.
  • The relationship between paganism and conventional Christianity; the reception of those new forms of spirituality by the Established Church; the representation of Roman Catholicism as a pagan religion (cf. the charges of idolatry leveled against Roman Catholics); paganism as a return to pre-Christian forms of worship.
  • Paganism as a scientific object; the rising interest in anthropology and religious science at the end of the Victorian period (E. B. Taylor, J. G. Frazer, the Cambridge Ritualists…)
  • Representations of pagan ritual in literature and the visual arts (in particular in late Pre-Raphaelitism, as well as in Symbolist, Aesthetic and Decadent painting or poetry/prose).
  • Paganism and music; the reception of R. Wagner in Britain.
  • Paganism and philosophy; F. Nietzsche’s impact in Britain.
  • Paganism and gender: women’s interest in non-patriarchal forms of faith; the question of the sacred feminine; paganism and homosexuality.
  • Paganism and politics (nationalism, regionalism, feminism, environmentalism, socialism).

The articles (around 6000 words) will have to be written in English. 

Detailed proposals in English (500-1000 words) and a short bio-bibliography should be sent as a Word attachment to the guest editors no later than 1st March 2013
Contributors whose proposals have been accepted will be notified by May 2013.
The completed articles will be due by 1st February 2014.

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