CFP: London Nineteenth-Century Seminar Graduate Conference

This year’s London Nineteenth-Century Studies Seminar Graduate Conference will take place on Saturday 19th January 2019 at Senate House, University of London.

Keynote Speakers: Professor Regenia Gagnier (English, Exeter), Dr Flora Wilson (Music, King’s College London)

We welcome proposals for ten-minute papers on any aspect of literature, culture, art, and history in the long nineteenth century.
Themes may include, but are not limited to:

– Media and technology
– Art, architecture, and aesthetics
– Social and cultural history
– Production of literary cultures
– Gender and sexuality
– Performance and the spectacle
– Religion and ethics
– Representations of Empire

The conference is intended as a cross- and inter-disciplinary forum where postgraduate researchers working on any aspect of the long nineteenth century can present and discuss their research in a supportive and stimulating environment.

Please send abstracts of 200 words, along with a short biography (50 words) by 14th December 2018. The committee will confirm your inclusion in the programme shortly after that date


19th Century Literary Theory Workshop

Following on from conversations at our reading group last semester, the suggestion arose for a critical theory workshop to apply different critical approaches to a 19th century text.
To this end, we will be running a 2 hour workshop on Friday 25th January from 17:00-19:00 in HEL115, to explore Nikolai Gogol’s short story ‘The Overcoat’ (1842) through a variety of different critical theories. If you would like to take part, please follow the link below to pick your critical theory. Each one will be allocated on a first come, first served basis. We will then use the workshop to have a short, highly relaxed and informal presentation of each of our critical theories, how it can be applied to the text, and discussing the readings that emerge with the group as a whole.
If you would like to attend, but do not want to present on a theory, that is no problem at all.
We have selected Gogol’s ‘The Overcoat’ as this text lends itself quite nicely to a wide variety of different critical approaches and is surprisingly deep for its short length. It works very well for Marxist, Lacanian and Psychoanalytical readings, but also works really well with spatial theory, thing theory, cognitive theory and historicism. The language is really rich for formalist approaches, and the narrative voice is very interesting if you want to pursue a narratological reading. It also works well for feminism, post-colonial readings through the othering and mimicry that takes place in St Petersburg society, queer theory through the importance of clothing and performing status, the carnivalesque would enter into the gambling scenes and the office antics, and as the whole text is about battling the forces of nature (winter), eco-criticism works well too. And there are plenty of run-ins with the police and agents of state control if you are interested in applying Foucault.
In addition, ’The Overcoat’ was hugely influential on the Russian literature which followed it, so would be a brilliant leaping off point for our reading group on Dostoyevsky next semester. In fact, Dostoyevsky even reportedly said of himself and his fellow Russian writers, ‘We all come out from Gogol’s ‘Overcoat’.”
There is a PDF of ’The Overcoat’ below, and here is the link to select the critical theory you would like to apply:

Semester 2 Reading Group – The Brothers Karamazov


“I love mankind, he said, “but I find to my amazement that the more I love mankind as a whole, the less I love man in particular.”

For the next academic semester starting in February 2019, we will be reading Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov (1879-80).

Meetings will take place on alternate Mondays at 17:00-18:00 in Helmore 112, with each meeting led by one of our unit members. All are welcome.

Week 2 – Monday 4th February. Books 1 and 2, led by Saffya Alaoui.

Week 4 – Monday 18th February. Books 3 and 4, led by Kathy Rees.

Week 6 – Monday 4th March. Books 5 and 6, led by Edwin Marr.

Week 8 – Monday 18th March. Books 7 and 8, led by TBA.

Week 11 – Monday 8th April. Books 9 and 10, led by Chris Lyon.

Week 12 – Monday 29th April. Books 11, 12 and the epilogue, led by TBA.

VICTORIAN POPULAR FICTION ASSOCIATION’S 11TH ANNUAL CONFERENCE: ‘Mind, Matter(s), Spirit: Forms of Knowledge in Victorian Popular Fiction and Culture’

The 2019 VPFA conference is taking place between 8-10 in London. Please find the CFP below. The VPFA conferences that I’ve attended have always been very good and I think that the theme this year will be of interest to a few unit members.

VPFA 2019 – CFP[1]

John Scholes Transport History Research Essay Competition

The John Scholes Prize, of up to €200 (200 Euros),  AND vouchers up to the value of £150 to be spent on books at SAGE publications, is awarded annually to the writer of a publishable paper based on original research into any aspect of the history of transport and mobility.

The prize is intended to recognise budding transport historians. It may be awarded to the writer of one outstanding article, or be divided between two or more entrants. Typically, the prize is awarded for research completed as part of a PhD.

Deadline: 2nd August 2019

5th November Talk by Edmund Smith – ‘A Literary Introduction to Hegel: dialectical philosophy and the 19th century short story’


On the 5th November from 16:30-17:45 in HEL114, Edmund Smith will be delivering an introductory talk on the German philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (1770-1831) and the nineteenth-century short story. This lecture will offer a rich groundwork for anyone interested in finding out more about dialectical philosophy, and its impact on nineteenth-century literature.

Edmund Smith is a philosopher working in the Hegelian tradition. His work focuses on the Science of Logic, the Jena Phenomenology, and on the relationship between them. Edmund began working on the Logic in late 2015 after becoming deeply dissatisfied with certain tenets within analytic philosophy of logic. Since then, he has given papers on nature and justification of the presuppositionless beginning of the Logic, as well as on Hegel’s conception of the categories.

Edmund received his undergraduate degree from the London School of Economics, and his MA from the University of Warwick. He hopes to begin his PhD in the second half of 2019.

This lecture is open to all, and we look forward to seeing you there!