CFP: Special Issue of Women's Writing on 'Rethinking Influence, 1680-1830'

full name / name of organization: 
Dr Jennie Batchelor (University of Kent)
contact email: 

Call for Papers

The question of literary influence has provoked strong emotions since at least the mid-eighteenth century when the model of the author as original genius and proprietor of literary work began to be codified at precisely the same time that British (or more commonly English) literary heritage began to be celebrated and canonized. Harold Bloom's account of influence as a source of anxiety provides still the best known model for theorizing influence, but has been widely criticized in recent years, not least for its exclusive focus upon male, canonical writers and upon a single genre (poetry). The newly central position of women writers within literary history necessitates more dynamic and nuanced critical models. To that end, questions of influence are being gradually superseded by more complex accounts of 'literary relations', to borrow Jane Spencer's term, that reflect the various acts of identification, borrowing, intertextuality, co-authorship, or displacement in which women writers engaged. Reflecting and developing these recent scholarly trends in the first collection of essays devoted to the subject in eighteenth-century studies, this special issue invites papers that consider the usefulness (or otherwise) of influence as an analytical category and theoretical model in the study of the works of women writers publishing between 1680 and 1830.

Topics for discussion might include, but are not confined to:

• influence versus intertexuality
• questions of plagiarism
• the gendering of originality and genius
• questions of canonicity
• inter- or cross-generic influence
• inter- or cross- continental influence
• male-to-female and female-to-male influence
• unlikely afterlives and problematic legacies
• the influence that eighteenth-century critical narratives exert over contemporary scholarship

Please submit abstracts of 500 words for consideration by September 30, 2010 to:

Jennie Batchelor, University of Kent (

NB: Commissioned articles should be between 4-7000 words and will be due by 30 November 2011.