“The End” in Historical Fiction of and about the Long Nineteenth Century
Elodie Rousselot defines “neo-historical fiction” as a subgenre of historical fiction that reimagines history by offering an “active interrogation of the past.”[i] Historical fiction, broadly speaking, allows readers to witness perspectives of the recognizable past while audiences interrogate the future. Most importantly, imagining the livelihood or end of various societal institutions has different stakes for different groups. Perspective is critical in historical fiction as exploring significant historical events also offers the opportunity to actively interrogate the future. The long nineteenth century serves as an extended period through which to explore the ends and futures of significant society-shaping moments from various perspectives, especially considering its plethora of historical events in the U.S. and abroad that continue to shape our present, such as enslavement, abolition, forced displacement, the Industrial Revolution, and a host of wars, to name a few.
This proposed roundtable seeks papers for the upcoming C19 Conference, to be held on March 14-16, 2024, in Pasadena, CA, that explore representations of “the end” and interrogations of “the future” in historical fiction of or about the long nineteenth century. Papers that analyze these “ends” and “futures” from marginalized communities’ perspectives are especially encouraged. Please email abstracts of 250 words and a brief bio to DeLisa D. Hawkes (dhawkes2 at utk dot edu) by August 1, 2023.
[i] Elodie Rousselot, Introduction to Exoticizing the Past in Contemporary Neo-Historical Fiction (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004), 2.