Study Day – Mystery and Medicine
Medicine and Mystery: The Dark Side of Science in Victorian Fiction
Co-hosted by the Victorian Popular Fiction Association and NUI Galway
8th June 2017, National University of Ireland, Galway
Key-note speakers: Ms Sarah Wise (Author) and Mr Alexander Black (NUI Galway)
Exhibition – “Medicine and Mystery in C19th Galway”, Curated by Anna Gasperini and Paul Rooney
The nineteenth century saw unprecedented developments in medical science, which caused simultaneously wonder and anxiety in the wider public. Victorian popular authors such as Wilkie Collins, Florence Marryat, Charles Dickens, and Mary Elizabeth Braddon enthusiastically explored the themes of medicine and surgical innovation in their work, exploiting their sensational potential. At the same time, the hopes and controversies generated by advancements in the medical field were often the subject of public debate via newspapers, magazines, and cartoons. This study day explores representations of medicine and mystery in the Victorian era, welcoming speakers from Literary History, Medical History, and Medical Humanities backgrounds
Conference website: https://medicineandmystery.wordpress.com/
Study Day – Victorian Popular Collaborations
Co-hosted by Victorian Popular Fiction Association and Manchester Metropolitan University
22nd April 2017, Manchester Metropolitan University, Cheshire Campus
Keynote Speaker: Patricia Pulham, Portsmouth
Afternoon Tea at the Brasserie, Crewe Hall Hotel
“Collaboration is one of the literary features of our age, and at the present rate of progression there seems to be some prospect of it attaining alarming proportions in the future” (Walter Besant, ‘Guide to Matrimony’ in the St. Valentine’s edition of Hearth and Home, 1892)
This VPFA Study Day asks whether it is possible to understand the full complexity of the nineteenth-century literary tradition without acknowledging that, as the result of the expansion of the literary marketplace, there was a marked proliferation of collaborative modes of writing. Across the century co-authorship, multiple authorship and networks of collaborators of all kinds became increasingly common and visible.
Study Day – The ‘Heart’ and ‘Science’ of Wilkie Collins and his Contemporaries
Co-hosted by Victorian Popular Fiction Association and Wilkie Collins Journal
24th September 2016, Barts Pathology Museum, London
Keynote Speaker: Dr. Tara MacDonald, University of Idaho
The protagonist of Wilkie Collins’s Heart and Science (1883), surgeon Ovid de Vere, laments the difficulty in deciphering hidden emotions and secrets. Yet, the language suggests his medical background, striking a note with the novel’s supposedly anti-vivisection message and highlighting contemporary debates into the nature of experimental medicine, observation and epistemology. What is the best way of uncovering secrets, and what part does knowledge of the body play in this? Can medical training benefit from a thorough understanding of emotion? And does gender play a part in this? Issues of ‘heart’ and ‘science’ reverberate across Collins’s work, from the Major’s collection of women’s hair in The Law and the Lady (1875) to Ezra Jenning’s solution to the crime of The Moonstone (1868). This conference takes as its focus the proliferation of “heart” and “science” throughout Collins’s work.
Co-hosted by Victorian Popular Fiction Association and Liverpool John Moores University
Saturday 19th March 2016, Aldham Robarts Library, LJMU
Keynote Speaker: Royce Mahawatte, Central St Martins
Featuring The Liddell Hart Collection of Costume (LHCC)
Study Day: Sensational Men: Victorian Masculinity in Sensation Fiction, Theatre and the Arts
Co-hosted by the Victorian Popular Fiction Association and Falmouth University
18th April 2015, Falmouth University, Cornwall
Keynote Speaker: William Hughes, Bath Spa University
Keynote Speaker: Andy Smith, University of Sheffield
Villainous, feminised, weak and wanting; men in the sensation genre are often seen as lacking. Critical readings of the genre, moreover, have tended to focus on its constructions of femininity, largely neglecting representations of men and masculinity. Examining the under-explored subject of Victorian men, masculinity and sensation, “Sensational Men: Victorian Masculinity in Sensation Fiction, Theatre and the Arts” represents a timely and important intervention in the field.
This one day symposium at Falmouth University provides a point of focus and intellectual exchange for scholars working in many different fields such as: popular fiction studies, theatre studies, Gothic studies, art history, early photography and film, theories of gender, sexuality and nation in nineteenth century studies.
Study Day – The Mystery of Edwin Drood: Solutions and Resolutions
20th September 2014, Senate House, London
Keynote: Prof. Don Richard Cox
Charles Dickens’s last novel, unfinished as it is, has become a call to arms to a legion of fans, academics and authors to solve the mystery and complete the uncompleted. In the early years after Dickens’s death, passionate discussions of Drood formed the vast bulk of criticism of his works, while later scholars have looked back upon this formative period with a mixture of bemusement and embarrassment. In 2014 The Drood Inquiry will investigate and celebrate the many weird and wonderful responses to Dickens’s story, exploring the ways in which these solutions reflect upon the authors’ attitudes to Dickens and his legacy, and how Dickens’s story and characters exist both within the boundaries of the original text and without in the numerous spin-offs that have arisen.
This one-day conference commemorates the launch of The Drood Inquiry, playing upon some of those themes as well as allowing the opportunity to consider Edwin Drood afresh, not purely as a puzzle to be solved but as a work of literature to be analysed and celebrated in its own right.
Study Day – The Life of Works of Wilkie Collins
9th November 2013, Senate House, London
Keynote Speaker: William Baker