CFP: Places and Spaces in Victorian Popular Literature and Culture (Deadline: 29 February 2024)

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f space is understood as an area that can be objectively measured or at least conceptualised, the construction of place depends on a range of affective and cultural meanings at any given moment. Victorian writing persistently maps both collective and individual experience onto fully realized spaces. But the boundaries are often permeable or unstable: actual colonial spaces becoming places of the imagination; the continuing negotiation of domestic space through ideologies of place; the growth of London changing the status of the suburbs; amateur botanists beginning to alter the ecosystem of coastal communities.

Competing ideologies are filtered through the construction of place in familiar phrases such as 'no place like home' and 'knowing one's place.' Place and space together come to embody meaning when a shift in political affiliation is asserted through 'crossing the floor' or the lyrical metaphor of 'passing the bar' is used to raise religious questions.

In the nineteenth century, the steamship, the railway, the bicycle and ultimately the motor car, radically altered the experience of moving from one place to another; at the same time new spaces were opened up by social movements and the expansion of telecommunications and the periodical press.

The Victorian Popular Fiction Association is dedicated to fostering interest in understudied popular writers, literary genres and other cultural forms, and to facilitating the production of publishable research and academic collaborations amongst scholars of the popular.

We invite a broad, imaginative and interdisciplinary interpretation on the topic of Place and Space and its relation to any aspect of Victorian popular literature and culture that addresses literal or metaphorical representations of the theme. Inter and multidisciplinary approaches are welcome, as are papers that address poetry, drama, global literature, non-fiction, visual arts, journalism, historial and social context. Papers addressing works from the long Victorian period (i.e. before 1837 and after 1901) and on neo-Victorian texts/media are also welcome, so long as the links to the Victorian period are clear.

Please send proposals for 20 minute papers, panels of three papers (by individual scholars, or affiliated with another Learned Society), or non-traditional papers/panels, on topics that can include, but are not limited to:

Please send proposals of no more than 300 words, a 50 word biography, twitter handle (if you have one), your availability/time zones over the conference dates, and if you are thinking of attending in person or online, in Word format to Prof. Carolyn Outlon and Dr Susan Civale at:

Deadline for proposals: 29 February 2024.

Speakers should be members of the VPFA. To find out more, please visit the VPFA website:

Last modified 15 November 2023