CFP: [Victorian] Ouida Centenary Conference

full name / name of organization: 
Lisa Hall
contact email: 

Ouida Centenary Conference
Saturday 20th September 2008
Call for Papers

This one-day conference calls for a re-appraisal of ‘Ouida’ (Louise de la
Ramée, 1839-1908), the prolific Victorian novelist whose literary career
spanned five decades, in which she wrote twenty-six best-selling novels,
eleven volumes of short stories, five novellas, two collections of
essays, and over sixty articles on literature and the arts. Ouida’s
early fiction was criticised for pandering to new constituencies of
readers (‘easy reading for totally uncritical minds’), but following her
permanent move to Italy in 1871 her novels took on a new maturity of
style and subject matter and were admired by Ruskin and Henry James.

In her essays and correspondence Ouida addressed issues of literary
production, in particular the commercialisation of fiction, and the
obsolescence of the three-volume library edition; Italian politics and
culture; and the moral censorship of English fiction. Her own novels,
which did deal, defiantly and persistently, with topics such as adultery,
conjugal rights and marital rape, anticipated the much more open
discussion of sexual morality by succeeding generations of novelists of
the fin-de-siècle and early modernist period. Always to a degree a
cultural outsider, Ouida’s feminist engagement was nothing if not
complex. Notably, she held strong views about the New Woman, and in 1894
argued publicly with Sarah Grand in the North American Review.

Plenary Speaker: Professor Lyn Pykett (University of Wales, Aberystwyth)


• Victorian Popular Fiction and the Canon
• Sexual Morality and Censorship
• Gender and Homoeroticism
• Victorian Publishing
• Ethnicity and Otherness
• The New Woman
• The Italian Novels
• American and European Readerships
• Writing for Children
• Writing for Periodicals
• Dramatisations/Film versions

Proposals of 300 words for papers of 20 minutes duration should be
submitted to the Conference Organiser, Dr Jane Jordan, via email to by Friday 14th March 2008.

English Department
Kingston University
Penrhyn Road
Kingston upon Thames
KT1 2EE Tel: +44 (0)208 547 2000 x.2741

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Received on Mon Sep 03 2007 - 11:17:48 EDT