CFP: [20th] CFP

full name / name of organization: 
Julie Taddeo
contact email: 

Call for Papers for a Collection “*A Return to Catherine Cookson Country”*

Hailed as the “Dickens of the North,” Catherine Cookson returned time and
time again to the Victorian past, writing what she called the “social
history” of the area around the River Tyne in her 100-plus novels. In a
writing career that spanned the aftermath of World War II, the rise of the
welfare state, second-wave feminism and sexual revolution, and Thatcher’s
booming Heritage Industry, Cookson used the setting of England’s industrial
northeast to explore class and gender conflict, and the effects of poverty,
illegitimacy, and violence on its men and women. Almost ten years after her
death, fans on Cookson websites still claim that her stories of women
overcoming hardships saved their lives, and the museum and trails that make
up “Cookson Country”, luring thousands of tourists a year, attest to her
legacy as a champion of women and the working class in England. Yet despite
two adoring biographies and an occasional subchapter in literary
anthologies, Cookson remains sadly neglected by academics. Romance scholars
typically ignore Cookson, who herself resisted the label of romance
novelist in favor of social historian, while historians are too eager to
discredit the accuracy of her largely Victorian settings and plots. It is
time to revisit Cookson Country and assess Cookson’s legacy as a publishing

This call for papers for an academic volume on Cookson welcomes essays from
any disciplinary or theoretical perspective. Possible topics include but
are not limited to:

* Cookson as a distinctly “British” novelist
* Representations of femininity, masculinity, and sexuality,
especially homosexuality and lesbianism, in Cookson’s novels and life
* Cookson Country and the Heritage Industry (includes the museum,
trails, on-line websites by and for fans, and TV movie versions of
her novels)
* Re-evaluations of her texts: Feminist? Conservative? Subversive?
* Historical fiction or romanceâ€"do such labels really matter?
* Re-imagining Victorianism
* Class and gender politics in the historical/romance novel

Detailed abstract and a short CV are due by November 1, 2007. Please send
in electronic format as Word attachment to
<>. Thank you.

Dr. Julie Taddeo
Visiting Assistant Professor of History
University of Maryland
College Park, MD 20742

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Received on Mon Aug 27 2007 - 11:42:18 EDT