CFP: [Victorian] ACLA 2009 Harvard: "The Novel in the Shrinking World: Local and Global in 19th-Century Narrative"

full name / name of organization: 
Geoffrey Baker
contact email: 

ACLA 2009 Convention
March 26-29, 2009
Harvard University, Cambridge, MA

Accepted Panel
"The Novel in the Shrinking World: Local and Global in Nineteenth-Century

Seminar Organizer: Geoff Baker, California State University, Chico

Scholars have long noted the manner in which the novel in the nineteenth
century represents the culture and effects of imperialism both in the
colonies and at “home,” in authors such as Austen, Brontë, Balzac,
Collins, Dickens, Fontane, Raabe, etc. The novel also becomes a venue for
depicting the early manifestations of globalization, as in, for example,
the financial or mercantile concerns of Freytag, Dreiser, Balzac, Galdós,
Zola, and Trollope.

This panel proposes a discussion of how these cultural shifts are
registered not just in the content of the novel, but also in its form.
What changes are effected on the style and structure of the novel in the
nineteenth century by the increased mobility of people and money, “the
shrinking of distance and the speed of movement” (Sassen)? If conceptions
of time and space are central to the novel, how do the new conditions
alter their literary look? Are more condensed forms of fiction--the
traditions of the novella and short story, for example--affected
differently or at all? Does the novel in the nineteenth century use the
global in order to trouble the idea of the local, or the local to
critique the idea of the global? Does the global dimension simply become
a new and necessary aspect of domestic culture? Are the city and port
town vital to these questions, as nodes of commerce, cosmopolitanism, or

Paper proposals must be submitted by November 1, 2008, through the ACLA
website at:

For further information, please contact Geoff Baker at gabaker at

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Received on Mon Sep 22 2008 - 15:49:04 EDT