My Victorian Novel: an edited collection

deadline for submissions: 
May 1, 2018
full name / name of organization: 
Annette R. Federico
contact email: 

 My Victorian Novel

Isobel Armstrong has lamented that the way we teach the Victorian novel, with enthusiasm and delight, is so different from the way we criticize it. I wonder if this is also partially true about the way we really read and experience Victorian novels, if there is a Wemmick-like division between the absorbed and happy reader, cozy and contented in the Castle, and the buttoned-up professor at the lectern or the laptop. Rereading Victorian fiction over time, for our classes or our scholarship, must at some level involve a relaxation of feeling, the evocation of memories, psychic immersion, and moral engagement––alongside critical distance, objectivity, or suspicion. 

Without abandoning the stance of the academic literary critic, footnotes and all, I am looking for essays that permit an introspective mood. Once we have talked about a novel “objectively,” in terms of social facts or ideology or history, it may still remain quite unknown. I welcome critical and personal reflections on your relationship over time with a novel that has become entwined with your own history, or one whose mystery deepens upon each re-reading. This collection will explore how works from the past may remain “psychologically alive,” as Bachelard has written, so that it feels you are never finished reading them. I welcome experimental or creative criticism, reading memoirs, essays on pedagogy, subjective or reparative readings, close or formal readings, character analysis, and meditations on rereading. Abstracts or completed essays of any length, and a c.v., to Annette R. Federico, federiar@jmu.edu.