VPFA 8th Annual Conference

Victorian Popular Genres, 14-15th July 2016

Senate House, London

Keynote Speaker – Dr Joanne Knowles (Liverpool John Moores University)

Keynote Speaker – Dr Andrew Maunder (University of Hertfordshire)

 Exhibition – ‘Popular Victorian & Edwardian Fiction: From Cheaper, to Cheap, and then to Cheapest’, Curated by John Spiers

VPFA 2016 – Programme

Registration is now open – follow this link!

Call for Papers (now closed)

The Victorian Popular Fiction Association conference is recognised as an important event on the annual conference circuit and offers a friendly and invigorating opportunity for established academics and postgraduate students to share their current research. We remain committed to the revival of interest in understudied popular writers, literary genres and other cultural forms, which is pivotal to the reputation this conference has established.

The organisers invite a broad, imaginative and interdisciplinary interpretation of the topic and its relation to any aspect of Victorian popular literature and culture which might address literal or metaphorical representations of the theme.

We welcome proposals for 20 minute papers, or for panels of three papers, on topics which can include, but are not limited to:

Victorian Popular Genres in relation to:

  • Popularity and unpopularity of different genres: genres that stand the test of time, fad genres, one-hit wonders (novels/authors), best-sellers, niche genres, cyclical process of ‘popularity’
  • The ‘popular’ as a genre: how it is defined, what it is defined against (e.g. ‘popular’ versus ‘canonical’/‘highbrow’ literature), highbrow literature as popular?
  • Teaching the ‘popular’ as a genre
  • Genres of literature: short stories, poetry, plays, drama, novels, novellas, magazines, periodicals
  • Literary thematic genres: Tragedy, Comedy, Realism, Romanticism, Modernism, Melodrama, Gothic, Sensation, Detective, Historical, Children’s Literature, Penny Dreadfuls
  • Literary non-fiction genres: auto/biography, travel, true crime, cookery, craft books, self-help books
  • Interactions with non-literary genres: art, illustrations, painting, photography, music, theatre, circus, freak shows
  • Hybridity, blurring genre boundaries, affinities between different genres
  • The role of Victorian critics in defining and promoting genre boundaries (e.g. Robert Buchanan, Margaret Oliphant, H.L. Mansel)
  • Approaching the popular through theories and theorists of genre (ancient, Victorian and modern – e.g. Aristotle, Todorov, Arnold, Wilde, Stephen, Barthes, Derrida)
  • Updating Victorian popular genres, and making Victorian genres popular: Neo-Victorianism, adaptation, film
  • Print culture and the literary marketplace: high/low culture, taste, fashion, cheap editions, railway novels, fine editions, mass production, contracts, royalties, ethics of production, craftsmanship
  • Readership and Authorship: expectations, intertextuality, target markets, age boundaries
  • How popular genres reflected or impacted Victorian culture, politics, history, geography, science, etc.
  • Victorian popular genres in relation to: sex, gender, class, race, disability, nationality, empire, etc.

Special topic panels: Following our successful formula, we are continuing the special panels which will be hosted by guest experts; therefore we especially welcome papers about the following genres:

Topic 1: Short Stories, hosted by Vicky Margree

Topic 2: Drama, hosted by Kate Newey

Topic 3: Poetry, hosted by Anna Barton

Papers in previous years have also discussed authors such as:

Grant Allen, J. M. Barrie, Mrs Beeton, Mary Elizabeth Braddon, Anne Bronte, Charlotte Bronte, Emily Bronte, Rhoda Broughton, Lewis Carroll, Mary Cholmondeley, Wilkie Collins, Arthur Conan Doyle, Marie Corelli, Dinah Craik, Catherine Crowe, Charles Dickens, George Eliot, Elizabeth Gaskell, William Gilbert, George Gissing, Thomas Hardy, Jerome K. Jerome, Rudyard Kipling, Eliza Lynn Linton, Florence Marryat, Edith Nesbit, Margaret Oliphant, Charles Reade, Olive Schreiner, Ouida, Robert Louis Stevenson, Bram Stoker, William Makepeace Thackeray, Anthony Trollope, Mary Augusta Ward, H.G. Wells, Oscar Wilde, Ellen Wood, Charlotte Yonge

Please send proposals of no more than 300 words and a 50 word biography in Word format to Drs Janine Hatter, Helena Ifill and Jane Jordan at: vpfamembership@gmail.com

Deadline: 1st April 2016

Downloadable CFP