Sensational Violence: "The Mysteries Which Are At Our Own Doors"

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Midwest Victorian Studies Association
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Midwest Victorian Studies Association 2014
April 11th-13th
The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI

Sensational Violence: "The Mysteries Which Are at Our Own Doors"
Seminar Leader: Professor Lisa Surridge, Department of English, University of Victoria

In his review of sensation fiction in The Nation (1865), Henry James wrote that "to Mr. Collins belongs the credit of having introduced into fiction those mysterious of mysteries, the mysteries which are at our own doors." James's remark captures the sensation novel's capacity to surveil, strip, and probe domestic spaces, lives, and even bodies.

This seminar will welcome scholars interested in the capacity of the sensation novel and/or the sensational press to scrutinize violence in what Victorians strove to construct as the "private" sphere—that is, to expose spousal violence, sexual violence, violence against children, and related domestic crimes. We also invite papers that consider how such texts constructed privacy even as they exploded the very notion of a private sphere free of public surveillance.

Participants will write 5-7 page papers that will be pre-circulated to the other participants prior to the conference. During our two-hour conversation, the seminar leader and participants will identify important points of intersection and divergence among the papers and identify future areas of inquiry and collaboration. The seminar format allows a larger number of scholars to participate in MVSA and to seek financial support from their respective institutions to attend the conference and discuss a shared area of scholarly interest. Seminars are limited to 10 participants.

Send a 300-word abstract and 1-page CV (both as Word documents) by October 31, 2013 to Lisa Surridge:

The Midwest Victorian Studies Association is an interdisciplinary organization welcoming scholars from all disciplines who share an interest in nineteenth-century British history, literature, and culture.