CFP: Fraud and Forgery - Special issue of Victorian Review

deadline for submissions: 
January 15, 2019
full name / name of organization: 
Jakob Gaardbo Nielsen / Aarhus University, Denmark
contact email: 

Call for papers

Special issue: Fraud and Forgery 

Submission date: 15 January 2019

Victorian Review invites submissions for a special issue devoted to the topic of fraud and forgery in the long nineteenth century (1789-1914).This issue will consider representations of fraud and forgery in British literature and culture, ranging from thematic representations of these subjects in literature, their pervasiveness in economic cultures and discourses, to their entanglement with the processes of literary, artistic and cultural production.

Literature from the long nineteenth century – whether fiction, drama, journalism or productions from the expanding periodical press – abounds in acts of fraud and forgery, the far-reaching implications of which captured the popular imagination during this period of rapid economic development and offered a means of engaging with the unstable realities of a burgeoning capitalist and industrial era. Acts of fraud and forgery are more than crimes of mendacity; they destabilise and jeopardise the intertwined epistemological systems and the mechanics of trust and exchange upon which society is founded. Textual and visual forgery frustrate the continuity between model and reality, and the deployment of pseudonyms by authors problematized the question of authority and the fluid transmission of texts.

In the last decades, a surge of critical work has highlighted the many roles fraud and forgery played in nineteenth-century culture. Sara Malton’s Forgery in Nineteenth-Century Literature and Culture (2009) analyses the representation of forgery and bastardy in nineteenth-century writing, while historical studies such as George Robb’s White-Collar Crime in Modern England (1992) and Ladies of the Ticker (2017), James Taylor’s Boardroom Scandal (2013), and Sarah Wilson’s The Origins of Modern Financial Crime (2014) have expanded our knowledge of how different cultures negotiated ideas of complicity and victimhood, and how the social processes of economic trust formation were complicated by widespread use of false reporting and covert advertisements in the booming financial and daily press.

With their attendant problematics of authenticity, legitimacy, and falsification, fraud and forgery have also been key categories in genres as diverse as travel literature, captivity tales and the gothic. Furthermore, these topics inform debates of authorship, remediation (i.e. from text to stage), and artistic production in general, and remain elemental to aesthetic mediation across literature, drama, and the visual and sonic arts.

This special issue of Victorian Review aims to foreground and celebrate the diverse social, economic, political, and aesthetic questions raised by fraud and forgery, and the productive potential of examining related themes across a variety of cultural and historical objects and disciplines.


Possible topics may include (but are not limited to):


The body: disguise; mistaken identity; the signature; impersonation; evidence of the senses; the body as text; misleading the senses; the body as evidence; sexual fraud and forgery; forged signatures

The child: illegitimate children; fraud and forgery in children’s literature; the child as forged ‘text’; children and trickery; child fraudsters

Love and marriage: bigamy; polygamy; fraudulent marriage contracts or vows; marital falsehoods; inheritance and the ‘marriage market’

Death: fraudulent deaths; death and authority; inheritance

Politics: political fraud and forgery; acts of censorship; mendacious politicians; political satire

Gender: cross-dressing; the gendering of fraud; gendered susceptibility to fraud and forgery

The spiritual and supernatural: spiritualism as fraud; the legitimacy of supernatural phenomena; spiritual means of divining ‘truth’; religion as moral economy; discursive overlap between religious ideas and the semantics of finance

Financial fraud and forgery: speculation; gambling; counterfeit money; relationship between financial writing and fiction; ideas of credit; paper money and the gold standard; financial bubbles and joint stock companies; trust formation and advertising

Counterfeit natures: Replacement food products; false medicine; fraudulent trade in livestock and animals

Genres and authorship: poetry and the poetics of monetary meaning; the authority of fiction; periodicals and authorship; financial narratives and ‘it-narratives’; pseudonyms

Paratexts: images and documents as evidence in literary narratives; maps; forged documents

Neo-Victorian and other anachronistic narratives: imitations of Victorian style and genre; adaptations or dramatisations of Victorian works


Articles must be between 5000 and 8000 words and formatted according to MLA (8th edition) guidelines. Please submit manuscripts in Word-compatible format to the editors, Dr. Elly McCausland (University of Oslo, Norway) and Jakob Gaardbo Nielsen (Aarhus University, Denmark) by 15 January 2019 at