Victorian Saints and Sinners NeMLA Apr. 3-6th, 2014 submission deadline Sept. 30, 2013
The figure of the prostitute is more than an emblem for mid Victorian religious, social, and sanitary reform; she is emblematic of challenges to the domestic narrative of a morally centered middle class that was at the heart of the British Empire's self-identity. The prostitute is representative of increased anxieties about miscegenation, sexuality, suffragist movements, and the visibility of women in roles outside the private sphere.
This roundtable seeks participants who interrogate the keen interest of the Victorians in missionary work, philanthropy, and other reform efforts designed to save women from lives of prostitution at home in the heart of the British Empire during the years 1837-1901.Topics of inquiry include but are not limited to:
The role or portrayal of the fallen woman in literature or art (Possible authors include D.G. Rossetti, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Mary Elizabeth Braddon, Rudyard Kipling, Thomas Hardy, Elizabeth Gaskell, George Gissing, Amy Levy)
Portrayals of the Salvation Army or similar movements in novels, short stories, poems, drama, or periodicals
Reform texts (In Darkest England and the Way Out, etc.) and social exposés (the 1861 edition of London Labour and the London Poor, Havelock Ellis, etc.)
The artistic representation of specific reformers and their efforts to end prostitution (such as William Gladstone, the Salvation Army, etc.)
Women writing and campaigning for change around The Woman Question (Frances Power Cobbe, Sarah Stickney Ellis, Annie Besant, Dinah Mullock Craik etc.,)
The Contagious Diseases Acts of 1864, 1866, and 1869 and medical reformers like William Acton and their literary impact
Please submit 250-300 word abstracts, along with a brief biographical statement, in .doc or .docx format to Anna Brecke (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Rebekah Greene (email@example.com).