Special Issue of the Wilkie Collins Journal: Materiality in Wilkie Collins and his Contemporaries
‘I prophesy that we shall see ghosts and find treasures, and hear mysterious noises – and, oh heavens! What clouds of dust we shall have to go through'
The Dead Secret
Wilkie Collins’s fiction depicts a rich cabinet of material curiosities. His novels evidence the wealth of objects with which the Victorians surrounded themselves in everyday life. This special issue looks to explore the entanglements between object and subject in Collins’s work. The journal seeks proposals exploring the ways in which aspects of identity in Collins’s novels are articulated through forms of material culture. What is the significance of property and personal possessions for identity formation?
In her work, Material Identities, Joanna Soafaer suggests that two approaches to materiality ‘what one might broadly categorize as the aesthetic and the social – are not necessarily mutually exclusive’, and this issue will focus on intersections between material aesthetics and their social implications and consequences. In what ways do the curiosities and clutter of Victorian life contextualize debates about issues of authenticity and disguise? What are the consequences of things for the Victorian body and its sufferings, pleasures, and performances? What social impact do material objects have for characters (and readers) in the quest for meaning?
Suggested topics include, but are not limited to:
- Property and property law
- Wills, records, ledgers, testimonies, documents
- Collecting and collections
- Thing theory
- Art, decoration, and ornamentation
- Dress, fashion, and fabric
- Publication, printing, print culture
- Letters, diaries and narrative
- Embodying the materiality of the body
- Appearance and disguise
- Nineteenth-century burial practices and relics of death
- Memory and materiality
- Medical materials
- Neo-Victorianism and Wilkie Collins, Mary Elizabeth Braddon, Charles Dickens, Ellen Wood, Florence Marryat and others.
Guest Editors: Dr Kym Brindle, Dr Laura Eastlake
Full articles of 5-8,000 words in MLA format due: Monday 22nd October.
Further information is available at the journal site: http://wilkiecollinssociety.org/journal/
The Wilkie Collins Journal is an online, peer-reviewed academic journal committed to publishing innovative and rigorous research into one of the most successful and important authors of the nineteenth century, as well as his related authors, periodicals and genres broadly defined.
 Joanna Sofaer, Material Identities (Malden: Blackwell, 2008), p. 3.