Seminar Leader: Jennifer Phegley, Department of English, University of Missouri – Kansas City
Midwest Victorian Studies Association (MVSA) 2016
Conference Topic: Victorian News: Print Culture & The Periodical Press
April 8-10, University of Missouri, Columbia
Recent studies of nineteenth-century transatlantic culture have overturned the standard narrative of Anglo-American literary relations that cast British literature as original, dominant, or colonizing and American literature as derivative, subservient, or rebellious. As Paul Giles points out in Transatlantic Insurrections, transatlantic culture is often characterized by the “more discomfiting figures of mirroring and twinning” indicative of two cultures developing in parallel rather than in opposition to each other. The conception of an American literature borne primarily out of insurgence against British cultural production becomes even more tenuous when we abandon our focus on authorial and national identities to examine the development of the periodical press, which frequently involved collaboration, imitation, homage, borrowing, copying, repurposing, and reprinting of authors, formats, images, serials, poems, and articles on both sides of the Atlantic. In The Culture of Reprinting in America, Meredith McGill argues that our author-centered nationalist frameworks have, until recently, prevented us from examining the importance of the ways in which “foreign literature is repackaged and redeployed” on both sides of the Atlantic. While American editors, publishers, and readers engaged with cheap reproductions of British authors and texts, the more established and centralized British publishing system was also seeking new writers, periodical genres, and markets in the United States.
This seminar welcomes scholars interested the interdependence of the two national literary cultures or the ways in which British and American authors, editors, and publishers knowingly collaborated or covertly adapted each other’s work. Possible topics include but are not limited to the publication and reception of British writers in the United States and American writers in Great Britain; novel serialization, poetry publishing, and illustration in periodicals on both sides of the Atlantic; the international exchange of news and information through the press; the creation and imitation of magazine formats; and reader responses to transatlantic print culture.
Participants in MVSA seminars will write 5-7 page papers that will be pre-circulated to the other participants prior to the conference. During the seminars, the seminar leader and participants will identify important points of intersection and divergence among the papers and identify future areas of inquiry and collaboration. The seminar format allows a larger number of scholars to participate in MVSA and to seek financial support from their respective institutions to attend the conference and discuss a shared area of scholarly interest. Seminars are limited to 12 participants.
Send a 300-word abstract and 1-page vita (both as MWord documents) by October 15, 2015, to Jennifer Phegley at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information, please visit www.midwestvictorian.org
The Midwest Victorian Studies Association is an interdisciplinary organization welcoming scholars from all disciplines who share an interest in nineteenth-century British history, literature, and culture.