Challenger Unbound

full name / name of organization: 
Dr Jonathan Cranfield ( and Tom Ue (

Challenger Unbound
Department of English, UCL
9 December 2013

Habitually characterised as a late-appearing variant upon the Victorian Quest Romance, The Lost World in fact marked the beginning of Arthur Conan Doyle's prolonged investigation of science, ideology, and belief under the inhibiting constraints of early twentieth-century modernity. The narratives span from 1912 to 1929 and this symposium and emerging collection will be dedicated to re-evaluating the narratives, their author, the wider culture that he inhabited, and the legacy of his work for the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.
The organizers and editors are soliciting abstracts of 200-300 words or completed articles of 6,000-8,000 words. We are interested in covering as many divergent approaches to the narratives as possible but potential topics might include:
• The Twentieth-Century Quest Romance.
• Arthur Conan Doyle: Low Modernist.
• Arthur Conan Doyle's Contribution to Science-Fiction and/or Speculative Fiction
• Modernity and the State in Early Twentieth-Century Popular Fiction.
• Science and the Popular Press, 1912-1930.
• Science as a Public Discourse, 1912-1930.
• Science as State-Craft, 1912-1930.
• Spiritual vs. Material Science.
• Grief, Trauma, Mourning and Science during and after the Great War.
• Twentieth-Century Medievalism/Primitivism.
• Spiritualism, Science and the Great War.
• The Strand Magazine in the Twentieth-Century.
• The Twentieth-Century Afterlife of "Victorian" Ideology/Thought/Literary Forms.
• Weapons of Mass Destruction, 1912-1930.
• Heroism, Chivalry and Masculinity after the Great War.
• Science, Technology and European Competition, 1912-1930.
• The Twentieth-Century Legacy of Arthur Conan Doyle in Europe.
• Machines, Weapons, Products, Commodities.
• Conan Doyle's Non-Fiction, 1912-1930.
• The Endurance of Professor Challenger in Critical Theory (Deleuze & Guattari, Jon McKenzie etc...).
• Early Treatments of Capitalist/Communist Confrontations in Popular Fiction.


Any inquiries should be directed to both Dr Jonathan Cranfield ( and Tom Ue (
Abstracts should be submitted by 14 October 2013.