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VIC 2014 : Victorians Institute Conference: The Mysteries at Our Own Doors


When Oct 24, 2014 - Oct 25, 2014
Where Charlotte, NC
Submission Deadline May 15, 2014
Categories    british literature and culture   mystery and detective fiction   poetry   gender studies

Call For Papers

2014 Victorians Institute Conference
The Mysteries at Our Own Doors
October 24-25, 2014 — Charlotte, North Carolina
Sponsored by Winthrop University

Please send 300-500 word proposals for papers and a 1-page c.v. to Casey Cothran via email at by May 15, 2014.

Henry James once said of Wilkie Collins: “To Mr. Collins belongs the credit of having introduced into fiction those most mysterious of mysteries, the mysteries which are at our own doors.” Indeed, through the fiction of Collins (and others) the Victorian Era saw the rise of the detective novel as an art form. Moreover, it also produced a wealth of poems, novels, and prose works that concerned themselves with mysteries, secrets, enigmas, and the unknown. Sensing that they stood on a threshold, that the shadowy borders of new knowledge and understanding lay almost within reach--at their “own doors,” as James said--Victorian authors struggled with a variety of mysteries arising from their interests in science, religion, the occult, mesmerism, identity, sexuality, race, class, and the Empire. We invite papers on any of these topics. Papers or panels on poetry, prose, nonfiction, or visual art are welcome, as are presentations on the pedagogy of teaching Victorian literature.

Possible topics might address detective fiction; poetic mysteries; spiritualists and mesmerists; mysteries of gender and sexuality; the mysterious Other; death; crime; ghosts, vampires or monsters; religion; Victorian science and medicine; industry and technology; archeology and paleontology; illustrations and media adaptations; language and hybridity; history and discovery; new worlds and cultures; travel and empire; pseudonyms; biography; photography; music; journalism; the mysteries of unveiling Victorian literature and culture to undergraduates; how Victorian mysteries can be discovered and solved in online classrooms, and other topics related to Victorian studies.

The keynote speaker is Marlene Tromp, Professor of English and Women’s Studies and Dean of Arizona State University’s New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences. Tromp’s many publications include Altered States: Sex, Nation, Drugs, and Self-Transformation in Victorian Spiritualism (SUNY, 2006), and she has edited such works as Victorian Freaks: The Social Context of Freakery in the Nineteenth Century (Ohio State UP, 2007).

Selected papers from the conference will be refereed for the Victorians Institute Journal annex at NINES.

Limited travel subventions will be available from the Victorians Institute for graduate students whose institutions provide limited or no support. Please visit for information about the conference, the Victorians Institute, and the Victorians Institute Journal.

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