CFP: [Victorian] 40th Conference of the Research Society for Victorian Periodicals, London, 4-5 July 2008

full name / name of organization: 
Andrew King

Characters of the Press

Fortieth Annual Conference of the Research Society for Victorian
Roehampton University, London , U.K. 4-5 July 2008

“Character” was the term commonly used of the Victorian press for what
today we might call the “brand personality” of a periodical - its
distinctive features as a commodity in the marketplace.
But how was this “character” created? Some periodicals identified
themselves as people (one thinks of Mr Punch, or the less voluble human
figures on many a masthead) or with people (Howitt’s Journal, Reynolds’s
Miscellany, Blackwood’s, or perhaps a reliable stable of authors, or a
named editor). Many sought to improve the character of readers by
offering heroes or heroines for emulation. Some preferred a recurrent set
of textual practices â€" format, layout, size, range of departments. Some
characters were generated through the targeting of specific audiences
such as grocers or suffragettes, radical workers or young imperialists.
Others were prompted by the occasions on which they expected to be
encountered â€" for reading en famille on Sundays, over weekday breakfast
or while commuting.
And then there is the vital question of how the press in general (or
sections of it) were characterised by those within and outside it: what
metaphors were mobilised and why?
This conference, then, offers a wide and varied route into the exciting
and still only partially explored territory of Victorian periodicals.
Indeed, RSVP will be happy to consider any proposal focused on
periodicals and their relationship to print culture in nineteenth-century
One-page proposals for 20-minute papers are invited, as well as for
panels of three papers on related topics, to be sent to Andrew King at by 15 December 2007.

Roehampton University is located in south-west London, 45 minutes by
public transport from central London. Campus based accommodation is
available for the conference. For more on the London location, see:

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Received on Sun Oct 28 2007 - 15:57:51 EST