Neo-Historical Exoticism and Contemporary Fiction Symposium 14 June 2011

full name / name of organization: 
Dr Elodie Rousselot, Centre for Studies in Literature, University of Portsmouth, Portsmouth, United Kingdom

The current phenomenon of the neo-Victorian, neo-Edwardian, neo-Forties, and more recently, neo-Tudor novel, seems to confirm contemporary culture's persisting fascination with re-visiting and re-formulating key historical moments. This inter-disciplinary one-day event intends to develop critical examination of the recent literary trend of the 'neo-historical' novel and to bring fresh perspectives to current debates on its cultural and theoretical underpinnings. Discussion will concentrate especially on the 'exoticising' strategies employed by neo-historical fiction in its representation of one culture for consumption by another: What motivates this return to, and symbolic re-appropriation of, the past? Are certain historical periods more prone to creative re-interpretations than others? What are the implications of using a discursive practice intent on seeking elsewhere (in this case, the past) a mode of expression for the present? With the possibility of geographical escape now exhausted in our global age, has the past become the latest refuge from (post)modernity? Papers examining these 'exoticising' strategies in neo-Victorian fiction will be especially welcome, as will papers discussing the trend of the 'neo-historical' novel more widely.

Possible areas of interest include, but are not limited to:

• Neo-historical fiction in the global/trans-national present
• Exotic nostalgia in the neo-historical novel
• Popular culture, consumerism, and neo-historical exoticism
• Neo-historical fiction in the margins of Empire
• Travel, exploration and the exotic in the neo-historical novel
• Exotic historiography in contemporary neo-historical fiction

Please send an abstract (300 words max) for a 20mn paper by 14 January 2011, to Dr Elodie Rousselot at
Contributions from the fields of literary studies, literary theory, cultural studies, film and visual arts very welcome.