Sex, Courtship and Marriage in Victorian Literature and Culture
Victorian Network is an MLA-indexed (from 2012) online journal dedicated to publishing and promoting the best postgraduate work in Victorian Studies.
The sixth issue of Victorian Network, guest edited by Dr Greta Depledge (Royal Holloway), is dedicated to a reassessment of nineteenth-century constructions and understandings of sex, courtship and marriage. Although the heteronormative and companionate marriage was vital for economic and reproductive reasons - as well as romantic impulses - recent scholarship has illuminated its status as but one of several diverse paradigms of marriage/sexual relationship accessible to the Victorians
Across the nineteenth century, profound crises of faith, extensive legal reforms and the new insights afforded by the emergent discipline of anthropology all contributed to a culture of introspection about the practice of marriage, at the same time as advances in science and medicine opened up new interpretations and definitions of sexual practices and preferences.
We are inviting submissions of no more than 7000 words, on any aspect of the theme. Possible topics include but are by no means limited to the following:
• Victorian narratives of queer desire: text and subtext
• Representations of women's sexuality (angels, whores and spinsters)
• Prudishness and censorship: "deviant" novels and scandalous dramas
• Adultery, bigamy, divorce and other affronts to the ideal of companionate marriage
• Transgressive relationships
• Nineteenth-century marriage law, including prohibited degrees of affinity, property reform and breach of promise
• Representations of sexual innocence and experience (virginity, puberty and prostitution
• Subversion of traditional courtship narratives
• Sex and class: adventuresses, mistresses, sex workers and blackmail
• Customs of the country: courtship conventions, betrothals and bridal nights
• Performance, stylization and parody: gender scripts, consumer culture, theatrical subversion
All submissions should conform to MHRA style conventions and the in-house submission guidelines. The deadline for submissions is 30 May 2012.