full name / name of organization:
IMPRISONMENT IN VICTORIAN FICTION
Call for Contributions
(Deadline: April 30, 2005)
Submissions are invited for a collection of original essays exploring
the representation of prisons and imprisonment in British fiction of the
Victorian period. This volume intends to explore new ways of
investigating how imprisonment is textualized in and through narrative
fiction and how prison literature supports, complicates, or questions
the construction of discursive subject positions. Prison fiction is here
understood to encompass both the literary expression of a prisoner's own
inside experience and any depiction of incarceration by outside
observers. While any approach is welcome, contributions that engage
theoretical or historical issues or re-assess existing (Foucauldian or
post-Foucauldian) paradigms are particularly encouraged.
Possible topics could include, but are not limited to:
-- Literary representations or classifications of prisoners, e.g. of
their bodies, psychological states of mind, imaginative faculties, etc.
-- Portrayals of prisoners' identities in terms of class, ethnic,
national, gender, queer, denominational, religious, etc. discourses.
-- Specific functions of carceral discourse and prison imagery for women
and minorities (as victims, narrators, commentators, critics).
-- Depictions of physical space (cells, hallways, courtyards, etc.) and
liminal areas (walls, gates, windows, etc.), or of moments in a
prisoner's life (arrest, daily routine, boredom, violence, release, etc.).
-- Perceptions of the prison staff (wardens, officers, doctors,
chaplains, etc.) and their role within the penal system, or of the
administrative regime and prison economy at large.
-- Explorations of the possibilities and limitations of "transcending"
-- Connections between narrative techniques or the novel as genre and
the (re)presentation of imprisonment, esp. the possibility or
impossibility of panoptic narrative structures (e.g. in form of an
application, extension, or critique of John Bender, D.A. Miller, and
-- Possible relationships, if any, between literary conceptions of
imprisonment, the realities of incarceration, and Victorian penal
reforms (in theory or practice) or between inside and outside
perceptions of the prison.
-- Metaphorical treatments of imprisonment (and their potential affinity
with or difference from the representation of actual penal institutions).
-- Factors that contributed to the importance of prison literature and
carceral imagery during the nineteenth century (as opposed to earlier or
-- Comparative readings (such as comparisons with contemporaneous texts
from the British Empire, Europe, or the Americas; the later reception of
Victorian prison literature; re-writings of metropolitan Victorian works
from the (former) colonial periphery; or the relationship between prison
fiction and the depiction of imprisonment in other genres or media).
-- The significance of Victorian prisons and their literary
representations for a 21st-century audience and present penological debates.
Papers should be approximately 6,000-9,000 words in length.
Please send all inquiries, abstracts, or final papers by April 30, 2005 to:
From the Literary Calls for Papers Mailing List
Full Information at
or write Jennifer Higginbotham: higginbj_at_english.upenn.edu
Received on Mon Aug 30 2004 - 05:48:05 EDT