[UPDATE] Victorian Grotesque (NAVSA 2010 Conference - Montreal 11/11-11/13 2010)

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Summer Star

Victorian Grotesque (NAVSA 2010 Conference - Montreal 11/11-11/13 2010)

Victorian Grotesque
NAVSA 2010 Panel (subject to approval)

Mr. Quilp, of Tower Hill. Steven's Mr. Hyde. Hunchbacks and lunatics among parapets, the gothic stonework of men like Hardy's Jude; freakshows, cariacatures, crinolines and tight-lacers; Darwin's "entangled bank," and the equally cluttered bourgeois drawing room. While Ruskin was upholding the "noble grotesque" in Stones of Venice, its ability to communicate the sublime recognition of man's insufficiency, a less theoretic incarnation (and understanding) of grotesquerie walked the streets, peopled the novels, tempted and disgusted consumers and critics of 19th century England. This panel seeks papers that demonstrate the ambivalence of the Victorian attitude towards the Grotesque and the variety of contexts in which it was developed. How do we see the "noble grotesque" of intellectuals like Ruskin and Chesterton, their growing appreciation of its aesthetic and moral value, co-existing with the efforts of architects like Pugin and sages like Carlyle to reform what they saw as the grotesque loss of proportion in modern life? How did the grotesque function in debates over taste –and in the decline of such debates in the wake of Enlightenment aesthetics?

Papers are welcome from theoretical, cultural and literary/formal perspectives and may consider (but are by no means limited to) the following topics:

1 Theories of the Grotesque (their rise and ramifications)
2 The Grotesque as heir/disinheritor of the Sublime
3 The Grotesque in caricature
4 Racial Grotesques
5 Grotesque and the Discourses of Deformity (physical/mental/imaginary)
6 The rise of Aesthetic experience over attitude
7 Ugliness
8 Grotesques and physiognomy
9 Everyday Grotesques: fashion/architecture/style
10 The Grotesque and Aesthetic Morality
11 Allegory

Abstracts of 500-700 words (no longer) may be submitted to the following address by February 22nd, 2010: summer_star@umail.ucsb.edu