Calls for Papers

[Posted 19 .xi.2017]

Stefano Evangelista writes to announce that the conference website is now live for “Curiosity and Desire in fin-de-siècle Art and Literature,” 11th-12th May 2018

The deadline for submitting proposals is 1st December 2017. If you have already submitted a proposal to the conference email address, there is no need to resubmit it through the website portal. The organizing committee will reach decisions about the proposals by the middle of January 2018.

The website contains information about the registration fee for the conference. All attendees will also be asked to support the International Walter Pater Society with an annual subscription that provides access to the online Studies in Walter Pater and Aestheticism. These links will be circulated in a separate message to each colleague whose proposal has been accepted.

[Posted 19 .xi.2017]

Fantasy Art and Studies invites you to explore the Victorian roots of Fantasy, from the works which created the genre to their influence on current Fantasy fiction, through the development of folklore studies, the rediscovery of medieval romances and the importance of the fairy figure during the Victorian era.

Papers (5 to 6 pages maximum) in English or French are to be sent in .doc format, Times New Roman 12 points, single line spacing, before December 10th 2017 to

[Posted 16.x.2017]

Call for Papers: Fraud and Forgery in Literature of the Long Nineteenth Century 

22nd-23rd June 2018, Aarhus University, Denmark

 Keynote speakers:

Dr. James Taylor, Lancaster University: ‘How to get rich quick: Financial advice in nineteenth-century Britain’

Professor Nick Groom, University of Exeter: ‘How much blood and horror lies behind all “good things”!’: Vampiric Authenticity and Catachthonic Forgery in the Long Nineteenth Century

“The beginning of financial crime is the attempt to make an appearance which the legitimate resources of the adventurer in the game of fortune will not justify. Other resources must, therefore, be found, and thus fraud, forgery, and misappropriation are called into existence, with all their frightful and heavy legal responsibilities.” 

  1. Morier Evans, Facts, Failures and Frauds (1859)

Literature from the long nineteenth century abounds in acts of fraud and forgery, whose far-reaching implications 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. Sara Malton points out that forgery ‘enacts a violation on several fronts: it signifies a transgression against property, identity, the authority of law, the nation-state, and the economic system’. Acts of fraud and forgery are more than simply crimes of mendacity; they destabilise and jeopardise the intertwined systems upon which society is founded. Writers and readers were simultaneously alarmed and fascinated by such acts, which became elemental to new plots but also raised unsettling questions about origins, authority, and the nature of wealth and merit.

Acts of textual forgery frustrate the continuity between text and truth, signifier and signified, with the popularity of object or ‘it-narratives’ complicating these dichotomies even further, and the deployment of pseudonyms by authors problematising the question of authority and the fluid transmission of texts. Authors of this period also implicated the body in acts of forgery, with disguise and false identity common themes in nineteenth-century sensation fiction and often linked with acts of monetary falseness. Novelistic realism, and its strange claim on reality, is intimately entangled with the vocabulary of counterfeiting: plausible worlds minted on the flat ontology of words. Many financial protagonists in Balzac, Dickens, Trollope, and Zola combine financial success with loose dealings in disguises and words, and become symbols of economic categories in turmoil. Before this, romantic poetry participated in debates about bullion and the gold standard, absorbing it into larger discussions of language, nature and truth, and speculative economies – often thinly veiled frauds themselves – further contributed to the nebulous nature of ‘paper wealth’ during the period. Romantic fraud and forgery also surface, with bigamy and false vows appearing in popular texts such as Jane Eyre and Jude the Obscure. 

This conference will consider representations of fraud and forgery in all areas of literature from the long nineteenth century (1789-1914), from its deployment as theme to its entanglement with the processes of literary production themselves. Following the recent financial crisis and contemporary concerns over ‘fake news’ and ‘alternative facts’, consideration of the complex slippages between text and reality, money and value, are more urgent than ever, and for this reason we also encourage papers on contemporary neo-Victorian works and the reimagining of Victoriana through the prism of modern concerns with truth and representation.

We welcome proposals for 20 minute papers, or panels of three papers, on topics that can 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

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; relationship between financial writing and fiction; ideas of credit; paper money and the gold standard; financial bubbles and joint stock companies

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

Please send proposals of no more than 300 words and a 50 word biography in Word format by 15th January 2018 to Dr. Elly McCausland and Jakob Gaardbo Nielsen at

 We hope to be able to offer a limited number of travel bursaries for postgraduates and early career researchers; further details will be available after the deadline for submissions.

[Posted 16.x.2017]

Call For Papers: Forgery and Imitation

Victorian Network is an open-access, MLA-indexed, peer-reviewed journal dedicated to publishing and promoting the best work across the broad field of Victorian Studies by postgraduate students and early career academics. We are delighted to announce that our twelfth issue (Summer 2018) will be guest edited by Aviva Briefel on the theme of Forgery and Imitation.

Recent scholarship has drawn attention to the increase in art and literary forgery in the nineteenth century, and to the preoccupation with themes of illicit imitation in the Victorian cultural zeitgeist. Critics have highlighted the manifold, intricate, and sometimes surprising ways in which forgery was woven into the social and cultural fabric of the era. The forged, the fake, and the imitative became pressing issues for artistic reproduction as growing demand and changing technology shaped the way in which texts, images, and objects circulated. The spectrum encompassed forged and imitative objects faked with criminal intent, as well as cultural and economic productivity.

Anxieties surrounding the concepts of originality and fakery also permeated nineteenth-century discussions of social authenticity – did forging an identity in a changing world open the door to faking social class, race, or gender? Did cleaving closely to imitate cultural peers maintain the status quo, mask individual dishonesty, or constitute plagiarism? Frauds, cheats, liars, and copycats of every ilk caught the public imagination. The range of depictions was broad and ambivalent. From villainous cheats like Count Fosco to romantic depictions of Chatterton, forgery and imitation marked for the Victorians a point of uneasiness that called for intricate negotiation. Furthermore, as channels of patronage and influence became increasingly fragmented, new ways of conceptualising artistic indebtedness were required. Here, too, forgery and imitation did moral battle. Appropriation, pastiche, and homage had their dark doubles: deceit, plagiarism, and hack work. Navigating intertextuality meant gauging where boundaries of influence could be crossed and where they should be policed.

We invite submissions of approximately 7,000 words on any aspect of the theme in Victorian literature and culture. Possible topics include, but are by no means limited to:

  • Fakery and cultural identity, the (cultural and/or economic) value of forgeries and imitations
  • Fakes as cultural participation 
  • Identities of forgery and forged identities (individual, cultural/national)
  • Illegitimacy, genealogy, and heredity theory
  • Imitation in nature and evolutionary or scientific theory
  • Artistic reproduction (eg. photographs, prints, and casts), copying, and forgery: the original versus the copy
  • Forgery and imitation as gendered activities 
  • Public persona: masks and makeup
  • Fashions, trends, and crazes
  • Acting as imitation; theatricality versus authenticity 
  • Fraud, counterfeit money, financial corruption, white-collar crime 
  • The forgery of memory; history-writing; misremembrance
  • Originality, the Romantic genius, and Victorian imitation 
  • Imitation as literary practice: (mis-)quotation, adaptation, plagiarism, piracy 
  • Literature as imitation: re-creating other mediums in words (ut pictura poesis)
  • Imitating the Victorians: the re-creation of Victorian texts in neo-Victorian writing and fan cultures

All submissions should conform to MHRA house style and the in-house submission guidelinesSubmissions should be received by 15 December 2017.



[Posted 16.x.2017]

The John Andrén Foundation Conference: ‘Oscar Wilde, Aubrey Beardsley, and the fin de siècle’. 8th-9th June 2018, Ystad, Sweden.

Keynote speakers: Peter Raby (Cambridge University), Linda Zatlin (Morehouse College)

When John Andrén, native of Ystad, died in 1965, his will contained directions for a foundation at Ystad Town Library which was to build and to administrate a special collection of books comprising ‘everything that is written and printed by and about’ Oscar Wilde, Aubrey Beardsley, Thomas Edward Lawrence, and Vaslav Nijinsky.  Andrén’s will was made public in October 1980 and the collection he envisaged is now held in the John Andrén Room at Ystad Public Library, which was established by Mrs. Astrid Andrén on 6 June 1983. 

 Andrén’s will also stipulates that the contents of the collection must remain in Ystad in order ‘to induce scholars and other interested persons to visit the town of Ystad for a shorter or longer period for studies on the spot. Thus, at least to a certain degree, some revenue, as well as a certain measure of fame, should accrue to the city of Ystad’. With a view to furthering this laudable aim, as well as the academic work of the Foundation, the Board of the John Andrén Foundation is delighted to announce the inaugural John Andrén Foundation Conference, which will take place in Ystad 8th-9th June 2018.

 The theme of the conference is ‘Oscar Wilde, Aubrey Beardsley, and the fin de siècle’, and the organisers invite proposals dealing with any aspect of the work of Wilde, Beardsley, and their cultural milieu.

 Proposals for papers of 20 minutes, or for panels of three delegates, should be sent to the organisers by 31st January 2018. Proposers will be notified of acceptance within three weeks. The conference will be held in English throughout.  It is anticipated that a volume containing edited papers from the conference will be published and will form part of the Foundation’s collection.

Please send proposals and any other queries to:

For further information about the conference and the John Andrén Foundation, see:


[Posted 16.i.2017]

Women Writing Decadence, European Perspectives 1880-1920

7th-8th July 2018, University of Oxford

Decadence as an international literary and artistic movement has to date been dominated by male authors, while women traditionally feature as objectified femme fatales, sphinxes, dancers and demi-mondes. However, literary and feminist scholarship over the last three decades has retrieved many important women writers of the period. Over twenty years ago, Elaine Showalter’s volume Daughters of Decadence (1993) brought together twenty of the most original and important stories penned by women, re-introducing then little-known writers such as Victoria Cross, George Egerton, Vernon Lee, Constance Fenimore Wollson and Charlotte Mew.

Yet the international and interdisciplinary nature of female networks in Decadence has been so far overlooked. Figures like Alma Mahler, wife of Gustav Mahler but a composer in her own right, were connected to leading figures of the Viennese secession such as Oskar Kokoschka, Klimt and Freud. Lou Andreas-Salomé, a Russian-born author, and one of the first female psychoanalysts, was another member of this network. She wrote more than a dozen novels, and non-fiction studies such as a study of Ibsen’s women characters and a book on her friend Nietzsche. Similar to their male counterparts, these female Decadents were keen networkers, publishers and editors, travellers and translators.

This two-day interdisciplinary conference thus seeks to draw out the active contribution of women thinkers and artists to shaping the Decadent movement from a European perspective. This trans-European and interdisciplinary focus will shed light on the wide array of forms in which women delineated the contours of the movement across the continent. Instead of looking for the ‘daughters of Decadence’, this conference proposes to reveal the ‘mothers of Decadence’ and their theoretical and practical approaches to the issues of authorship, gender and cosmopolitan exchange in the arts.

We invite proposals for 20 minute papers on topics related to Women Writing Decadence, which may include, but are by no means limited to:

(De)constructing a female Decadent canon; International women networks; Re-definitions of Decadent female stereotypes, e.g. New Woman, Femme Fatale, Vampire, Cleopatra, etc; Female theorists of Decadence; Decadent women publishers, editors and translators; Female Decadent painters, illustrators and composers; Women and Decadent journal culture (Yellow Book, The Savoy, Pan, Jugend, Le Décadent, Cosmopolis); Female flâneurs; The female dandy; Decadent deviance written by women; Female Decadence and Catholic aesthetics; Representations of mysticism, occultism and religion in female Decadent writing and art;

Individual papers or panels on neglected, yet notable European authors:

Agnes Mary Frances Robinson (England); Zinaida Nikolayevna Gippius (Russia); Jane de la Vaudère (France); Rachilde (France); Onerva (Finland); Else Lasker-Schüler (Germany); Ada Leverson (England); Colette (France); Carmen de Burgos (Spain); Ella D’Arcy (England); Evelyn Sharp (England); Hermione Ramsden (England); Lena Milman (England); Ménie Muriel Dowie (England); Nora Hopper Chesson (England/Ireland); Fanny ‘Franziska’ zu Reventlow (Germany); Alexandra Papadopoulou (Greece); Judith Gautier (France); Kazimiera Zawistowska (Poland); Marie Herzfeld (Austria); Eva Giovanna Antonietta Cattermole (Italy); Amalia Guglielminetti (Italy); Lou Andreas-Salomé (Russia/Germany); Sidonie Nádherná von Borutín (Austria-Hungary); Alma Mahler (Austria); Michael Field (England); Mathilde Blind (England); Olive Custance (England); Amantine Lucile Aurore Dupin/George Sand (France); George Egerton (England); Sarah Grand (Ireland); Netta Syrett (England); Vernon Lee (England); Lucas Malet/Mary St Leger Kingsley (England); Reneé Vivien (France/England).

Please email 300-word abstracts to by 10 January 2018.

 Organisers: Katharina Herold (Oxford), Leire Barrera-Medrano (Birkbeck, London)

More information: