1874 (NVSA): Boston University, April 5-7, 2013

full name / name of organization: 
Northeast Victorian Studies Association
contact email: 
tmstolte@nmsu.edu

All the breath and the bloom of the year in the bag of one bee:
—Robert Browning

NVSA solicits submissions for its annual conference. The topic this year is 1874.

The conference will feature a keynote panel including Isobel Armstrong, Robert J. Richards, and Herbert Tucker, and a walking tour of Victorian Boston led by Martha Vicinus.

* * *

The Northeast Victorian Studies Association calls for papers from all disciplines on any aspect of 1874, the year in which The Way We Live Now was serialized in monthly numbers, John Tyndall delivered his “Belfast Address” on scientific materialism, Benjamin Disraeli was appointed prime minister for the second time, and red became the standard color for pillarboxes of the Royal Mail. We welcome submissions on any topic relevant to 1874, as well as papers that engage with the conceptual and methodological issues raised by taking a single year as a focus for study.

What are the consequences of thinking about Victorian works of art, texts, objects, and events in relation to their specific year in history? How is our perspective on the period—or on periodization itself—altered by this vantage point? What does the close examination of a single year—a year literally picked out of a hat by the program committee rather than chosen for its significance—reveal about the relationship between dates that “matter” in Victorian Studies and dates that do not? Is the calendar year a significant unit of time or useful organizational framework for our exploration of the Victorian period as a whole? How is our understanding of annual publications, commemorations, and other yearly events and forms changed when we concentrate on a single occurrence of each? In 1874 S. O. Beeton’s Christmas annual Jon Duan sold 250,000 copies in three weeks, vastly outperforming Thomas Hardy’s Far from the Madding Crowd. Which, then, is the “major” text under the rubric of our conference? How does our sense of the canonical and non-canonical shift as a result of such micro-periodization?

Other texts and events from 1874 worth considering:

Texts
M. E. Braddon’s Lost for Love
William Benjamin Carpenter’s Principles of Mental Physiology
Wilkie Collins’s The Frozen Deep and Other Stories published; The Law and the Lady serialized
John William Draper’s History of the Conflict between Religion and Science
Amelia Edwards’s A Night on the Borders of the Black Forest
George Eliot’s The Legend of Jubal, Arion, and A Minor Prophet; first one-volume edition of Middlemarch
F. W. Farrar’s Life of Christ
John Forster’s Life of Charles Dickens, final volume
Francis Galton’s English Men of Science
W. S. Gilbert’s Charity
John Richard Green’s Short History of the English People
Thomas Huxley’s “On the Hypothesis that Animals are Automata”
G. H. Lewes’s Problems of Life and Mind, Vol. 1
Henry Maudsley’s Responsibility in Mental Disease
George Meredith’s Beauchamp’s Career serialized
Margaret Oliphant’s A Rose in June and For Love and Life
John Ruskin’s Fors Clavigera: Letters to the Workmen and Labourers of Great Britain, Vol. 4
Henry Sidgwick’s Methods of Ethics
James Sully’s Sensation and Intuition
Albernon Charles Swinburne’s Bothwell: A Tragedy
James Thomson’s The City of Dreadful Night
Anthony Trollope’s Lady Anna and Phineas Redux published
Alfred Russell Wallace’s “A Defence of Modern Spiritualism”
Mrs. Henry Wood’s Johnny Ludlow

Events
London School of Medicine for Women founded
Cavendish Laboratory, Cambridge founded
Fiji Islands annexed by Britain
Ghana established as a British colony
Shipton-on-Cherwell train crash (and other notable train crashes)
David Livingstone’s body returned to England
Victoria Embankment opened
Astley Deep Pit disaster
Public Worship Regulation Act
Factory Act of 1874
1874 Transit of Venus
Wilkie Collins’s readings in America
Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease founded
First Impressionist exhibition, Paris

* * *

Proposals (no more than 500 words) by Oct. 15, 2012 (e-mail submissions only, in Word format):

Professor Tyson Stolte, Chair, NVSA Program Committee (tmstolte@nmsu.edu).

Please note: all submissions to NVSA are evaluated anonymously. Successful proposals will stay within the 500-word limit and make a compelling case for the talk and its relation to the conference topic.

Please do not send complete papers, and do not include your name on the proposal.

Please include your name, institutional and email addresses, and proposal title in a cover letter. Papers should take 15 minutes (20 minutes maximum) so as to provide ample time for discussion.

For information about NVSA membership and travel grants, please visit the NVSA website at http://nvsa.org/

cfp categories: 
cultural_studies_and_historical_approaches
gender_studies_and_sexuality
interdisciplinary
poetry
postcolonial
science_and_culture
victorian