Engaging the NAVSA 2013 conference theme of “Evidence,” this panel looks for proof of what remained invisible within the urban sphere. London, it is often noted, amplified the Victorian awareness of visuality – with its ocular inundation of advertisements, public spectacles, even glass windows and gas-lighting. But as Kate Flint and Lynda Nead have professed in their works on the visual imagination and the image-rich city, respectively, the fascination with visibility prompted a concomitant interest in (and anxiety over) that which remained shadowed and unseen.
This panel intends to accomplish two things. First, it will map the invisible territories of London still underexplored in Victorian criticism, searching out forms of urban suffering that were, for various reasons, out of reach of the gas-lamps' rays and beyond the grasp of sight. Second, it will bring to light how the obscurity of form prompted authors, artists, and commentators to play with formal elements and blur generic borders in their portrayals of urban strife. While keeping this dual intention in mind, papers might consider a wide range of topics linked with invisibility, such as the unconscious, physiology, spectrality, hidden women, mad men, the lower classes, prostitution, criminality, etc.