New Religious Movements in Romantic and Victorian Print Culture

deadline for submissions: 
May 1, 2023
full name / name of organization: 
Abby Clayton & Colby Townsend, Indiana University Bloomington
contact email: 

Call for Abstracts for Edited Volume - New Religious Movements in Romantic and Victorian Print Culture

Type: Call for Papers

Deadline for Submissions: May 1, 2023

Subject Fields: History of the Book / History of Literature and Culture / Print Culture / Religious Studies/ Gender Studies / Transatlanticism / Romanticism / Victorian Studies

New Religious Movements in Romantic and Victorian Print Culture

(Edited by Abby Clayton and Colby Townsend)

Coming on the heels of what is traditionally viewed as the Romantic period and bleeding into the Victorian, Mormonism and other new religious movements serve as lenses through which to understand the diverse innovations in print culture during the long nineteenth century. For example, Mormonism—as not only a religious, but also a cultural and textual phenomenon—utilized a transatlantic print network almost from its moment of inception. Paradoxically, the same network exponentially multiplied the movement’s growth by reacting to and against its existence. Nineteenth-century print and religious systems became embodied as they moved people from the United Kingdom and continental Europe to North America. The migration of bodies and texts through new religious movements staged key transatlantic nineteenth-century debates including questions about empire, indigenous peoples, gender and sexuality, authorship and composition, forms of prophecy, and religious canons.  

The editors seek essays that re-envision transatlantic Romantic and Victorian print networks through a consideration of new religious movements and socieities including, but not limited to, Mormons, Shakers, and Millerites. We invite contributors to analyze this period through a variety of literary, historical, and cultural methodologies. We aim to be inclusive in this volume through readings of lesser-known authors of the long nineteenth century, new readings of canonical texts, and treatments of religious movements as sites of political inquiry. This volume re-conceives literature as not just books and novels, but newspapers, tracts, pamphlets, and other print ephemera that are grounded in their materiality and their use in everyday situations by diverse readers and listeners. We invite interdisciplinary, transnational, and intersectional approaches to the question of religion and literature. 

Topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Materiality of print and book history
  • Print ephemera, including railway yellow-backs, looseleaf and magazine extras
  • History of the novel, including satires, gothic, historical romances, and the “Oriental” tale
  • Reprinting and pirating culture
  • Myth of the author
  • Politics, French Revolution, Anti-Jacobinism, Democracy, Imperialism, and the Subaltern
  • Representations of Mormonism in print media and Anti-Mormon literature
  • Lost manuscripts found, ghosts and guardian spirits
  • The fantastic and the sublime in Romantic, Victorian, and Mormon texts
  • Form, genre, and narrative theory in 18C and 19C print culture
  • Gender, minorities, and the “Other” in 18C and 19C texts, including voice and literacy
  • The problems of scripture and canon in literary criticism
  • Disability in 18C and 19C print culture
  • The challenges of locating disability in already contested archives (e.g. slavery, colonialism, etc.)
  • Oratory, eloquence, and sermon culture
  • Time and Critical Geographies
  • Text, image, and credulity in the long nineteenth century
  • Digital archives and Romantic, Victorian, and Mormon manuscripts
  • Romantic, Victorian, and Mormon poetry
  • Portrayals of polygamy in history

We welcome submissions from professors, adjunct or contingent faculty, independent scholars, post-docs, and graduate students working in a variety of fields, including history, religion, literature, and others in the humanities. Please submit abstracts (300–500 words), an abbreviated CV, and a short bio to editors Abby Clayton ( and Colby Townsend ( by May 1, 2023. The University of Illinois Press has expressed interest in reviewing the proposal.