Rhoda Broughton and Her Contemporaries: A Centenary Conference

deadline for submissions: 
April 24, 2020
full name / name of organization: 
Victorian Popular Fiction Association

Rhoda Broughton (1840-1920) was considered one of the queens of the circulating library in Victorian England. Broughton is the author of more than twenty novels and a collection of short stories, the latter featuring supernatural and mysterious elements. Her first two novels, Cometh up as a Flower and Not Wisely but too Well, earned her the reputation of a sensation writer; they were followed by other works containing sensational elements and subject-matter, and featuring rebellious, impetuous, passionate but often naïve heroines. She later resorted to one-volume novels in which she revealed skill and depth. These gems include A Beginner, Lavinia and Mamma. Constant staples of her writing are her wit, her humour and her observant eye.

This centenary conference aims to assess the significance of Broughton’s literary career, covering from the late Victorian period to the Modernist era. It seeks to underline her influence on her contemporaries and on subsequent writers. It also encourages the evaluation of the variety of subgenres that she experimented with, including, sensation fiction, domestic fiction and the New Woman novel, so that her idiosyncratic style of writing and her contribution to Victorian and twentieth-century literature can be further highlighted. The conference also welcomes comparative studies.

Please send proposals for 20-minute papers on topics that might include, but are in no way limited to, the following:

v  Broughton as a public figure

v  Broughton and her publishers

v  Broughton and the circulating library

v  Broughton’s influence on the contemporary marketplace

v  Broughton’s critical reception then and the reassessment of her work now

v  Broughton and Shakespeare

v  Broughton and Jane Austen

v  Broughton and the Brontë sisters

v  Broughton and George Eliot

v  Broughton and the French novel

v  Broughton and her contemporaries: mentoring, friendships, literary rivals, etc. (including Mary Elizabeth Braddon, Henry James, Anne Thackeray-Ritchie, Edith Wharton and Oscar Wilde)

v  Broughton, Modernists and Modernism

v  Broughton and other art forms and media (including adaptations of her work to drama and film)

v  Broughton and sensation fiction

v  Broughton and domestic fiction

v  Broughton and the New Woman novel

v  Broughton and satire and parody

v  Humour in Broughton’s fiction

v  Subversion versus endorsement of convention in Broughton’s fiction

v  Love in Broughton’s fiction

v  Sexuality in Broughton’s fiction

v  Gender issues in Broughton’s fiction

v  Male and female types in Broughton’s fiction

v  The Woman Question in Broughton’s fiction

v  Family in Broughton’s fiction

v  Nature in Broughton’s fiction

v  Place in Broughton’s fiction

v  Illness and death in Broughton’s fiction

v  Gothic elements and the supernatural in Broughton’s fiction

v  Psychology in Broughton’s fiction

v  Feminist readings of Broughton’s fiction