CFP: Victorian Popular Fiction Association: Victorian Authenticity and Artifice

The VPFA annual conference at Senate House in London is always a fantastic and stimulating event in a really welcoming environment – one of real the highlights of the Victorian Studies calendar. There is always a great range of intriguing papers about fiction by authors as varied as George Eliot, Bram Stoker and Olive Schreiner, in addition to high-quality keynote talks from leaders in the study of Victorian popular fiction.

This year the theme is ‘Victorian Authenticity and Artifice’ – a really rich and fruitful subject for lots of ideas about Victorian popular fiction. The deadline for their call for papers is coming up in a few weeks’ time; see below for details.


Victorian Popular Fiction Association

7th Annual Conference: Victorian Authenticity & Artifice
13-15 July 2015, Senate House, London

Keynote Speaker: Prof. Linda Dryden “Stevenson and H. G. Wells: Monomaniacs, Duality and Evolutionary Science”

Keynote Speaker: Prof. David Glover “Styles of Populism in Victorian and Edwardian Popular Fiction”

Guest Speaker: Prof. Vanessa Toulmin from the National Fairground Archive


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 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:

Authenticity and/or Artifice in relation to:

  • Publication: Pseudonyms, Anonymous Writing, Imitation, Attribution, Public/Private Personas etc.
  • Genre Boundaries: Realism, Melodrama, Gothic, Sensation, Detective, Fiction/Non-Fiction, etc.
  • Textual (Re)Writings: Translation, Adaptation, Plagiarism, Intertextuality, Metatextuality etc.
  • The Stage and Showmanship: Theatre, Circus, Freak shows, Performance, Theatricality, Costume, Make-up, Setting, Mise-en-scene etc.
  • Performativity: Sex, Gender, Class, Nationality etc.
  • Science and its Practitioners: (Pseudo)Science, Adulteration, Séances, Mesmeric displays; Quacks, Fakes, Phonies etc.
  • Crime and Detection: Going undercover, Fraud, Deception, Theft, Murder, Poison, Amateur and Professional Detectives etc.
  • Cultural Constructs: Race, Social Purity, Disability, Miscegenation, Degeneration, Eugenics, Nationality etc.
  • Reconstruction and Reinvention: Neo-Victorianism; Auto/Biography, Self-Representation and Promotion; Historical Fiction; the Victorians and Shakespeare, the Classics, the (new) canon etc.
  • Popular Fiction as an authentic subject for study/research

Special topic panels: Following last year’s success, we are recreating the special panels which will be hosted by guest experts; therefore we especially welcome papers about the following themes:

  • Topic 1: The Stage, hosted by Beth Palmer
  • Topic 2: Fakes and Frauds, hosted by Ruth Heholt
  • Topic 3: Genre Boundaries, hosted by Jessica Cox

Papers in previous years have also discussed authors such as:

J. M. BarrieMrs Beeton

Anne Brontë

Charlotte Brontë

Emily Brontë

Rhoda Broughton

Lewis Carroll

Mary Cholmondeley

Arthur Conan Doyle

Charles Dickens

George EliotElizabeth Gaskell

George Gissing

Thomas Hardy

Jerome K. Jerome

Rudyard Kipling

Eliza Lynn Linton

Edith Nesbit

Margaret Oliphant

Olive Schreiner

Robert Louis StevensonBram Stoker

William Makepeace Thackeray

Dinah Craik

Anthony Trollope

Mary Augusta Ward

H.G. Wells

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:

Deadline for proposals: Monday 2nd February 2015


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