CFP: [18th] Crime and Deviance in Eighteenth-Century British Literature

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Dwight Codr
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"Criminal Values: Representations of Crime and Deviance in Eighteenth-Century British Literature"

Charles Johnson wrote in 1734 that if one were to write “an universal History of Robbers, of all
Ranks and Degrees, from the Beginning of the World to this Time, our Scheme would be as
extensive, as if we proposed to write a History of all Nations.” While Johnson's comment most
explicitly suggests that the sheer volume of criminal activity throughout history would make a
comprehensive account impossible, it also suggests that the "History of all Nations" is also a
history of crime. Indeed, Johnson would go on to point out the difficulty of distinguishing “Founders of Monarchies” from “Encroachers on the Properties of their Neighbors.”

Johnson’s remark takes on special resonance in light of those foundational political narratives of
the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries that we associate with the increasing importance of
private property and the so-called liberal subject (Locke, most of all). This panel seeks to explore
the myriad ways that criminal narratives inflect, reflect, or otherwise engage with dominant and
emergent ideologies of the state, the citizen, and property.

I would like to invite scholars to present papers that consider any aspect of criminal biography or
novels about criminal figures, popular representations of crime and deviance in the period, the
biographies of specific criminals, as well as papers directly concerned with the intersection of
Enlightenment political thought and criminality.

Electronic submission of abstracts is preferred, and please include your abstract in the body of
an email sent by December 1, 2008 to

Dwight Codr

Assistant Professor
Department of English
Tulane University
New Orleans, Lousiana

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Received on Wed Sep 24 2008 - 16:33:51 EDT