BAVS 2019

Three of our unit members will presenting at the BAVS 2019 conference at the University of Dundee, 28-30 August 2019, on the theme ‘Victorian Renewals.’

Edwin Marr
“Red-brick railway arches, tongues of fire, blots of smoke”: The Renewal of the Gothic in the Railway Space of the 1860s

Helen Innes
‘The men of letters, whose shadows walk the London streets with us’: The Influence of Charles Lamb on John Hollingshead’s Journalism in the 1850s and 1860s

Rohan McWilliam
The Grand Hotel in Victorian London: Remaking the Language of Comfort and Hospitality

The full details of the conference are available here:

John Gardner wins a Leverhulme Trust Research Fellowship

I am pleased to announce that Professor John Gardner has won a Leverhulme Fellowship. The initial details of this are below. Updates on his project will follow.

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My Leverhulme Trust Research Fellowship, ‘Turning the Screw: Literature, Technology and Culture’, begins on 1 February 2020. This interdisciplinary project analyses how engineering and literature engaged from the invention of the screwcutting lathe in 1798 until the Great Exhibition of 1851 when the results of experimentation, replication, and standardisation were showcased. My research examines the debt these beginnings of the modern world owe to labouring and literary cultures. My argument is that literary forms and standards influenced engineering and, in turn, engineering influenced literature. The Leverhulme Trust have enabled me to analyse links between engineering and literary cultures with this fellowship.




Lizzie Ludlow on Josephine Butler

Over the past few months, I’ve been researching the work of Victorian social reformer Josephine Butler. In a recent blog post for The Shiloh Project, I suggest how the theological strategies she uses to interpret the Bible from the perspective of the oppressed offer useful tools for grappling with what it means to break institutional silences around abuse and reach beyond the platitudes of easy forgiveness. Click here to see the post.

I will be discussing my current research on Butler at St Andrews’s Institute for Theology, Imagination on November 15th in a talk entitled  ‘Prayer, Praxis, and Christology in Josephine Butler’s Catherine of Siena: A Biography (1878).’ The details of this are here. 


Goodness, Truth, and Beauty in the Work of John Ruskin and his Contemporaries: CFP deadline FRIDAY 14th JUNE

Friday September 6th 2019

 Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge

So then, whatever may be the means, or whatever the more immediate end of any kind of art, all of it that is good agrees in this, that it is the expression of one soul talking to another, and is precious according to the greatness of the soul that utters it. And consider what mighty consequences follows from our acceptance of this truth! (John Ruskin, Stones of Venice)

In her review of Ruskin’s Modern Painters 3, George Eliot writes: ‘The truth of infinite value that he teaches is realism- the doctrine that all truth and beauty are to be attained by a humble and faithful study of nature, and not by substituting vague forms, bred by imagination on the mists of feeling, in a place of definite, substantial reality.’ Through the nineteenth-century, Ruskin, Eliot and a number of Victorian reformers sought to clarify the divine and human sources of, and the connections between, goodness, truth, and beauty. This conference will offer the opportunity to explore how belief in the inextricability of these concepts informed understandings of the self, the other, and the world and to investigate the shifts in perception witnessed later in the century.

The conference will include plenary lectures from Andrew Tate (Lancaster) and Rachel Dickinson (Manchester Metropolitan University)

We welcome paper and panel proposals from scholars at any stage of their careers that explore ideas of goodness, truth, and/ or beauty in the work of John Ruskin and his contemporaries. Individual proposals for 20 minute papers should be no more than 300 words and accompanied by a short biographical statement. Proposals for 90 minute panels, each including 3 speakers, should be no longer than 1,000 words and include biographical statements for all the contributors. Please send your proposal to by Friday June 14th 2019.

Edwin Marr on ‘The Obnoxious Railroad”: Railway Time and Space in the Works of Elizabeth Gaskell’ at the next Gaskell Society London and SE meeting on Sat May 11th

Unit member and PhD student Edwin Marr will be speaking at the next Gaskell Society meeting on Saturday 11th May. His paper, ‘The Obnoxious Railroad”: Railway Time and Space in the Works of Elizabeth Gaskell’, will look at Gaskell’s representations of the railway in several of her novels, novellas and letters, exploring how she uses the railway to symbolise increasing societal regulation, distinctions between rural past and industrialised future, and issues of social class and social mobility.

The meeting will take place at Francis Holland School from 12.45 onwards, with the talk at 2.00 pm. All are welcome!

Please find the directions and further details on this PDF: London and SE Gaskell Society Programme 2018-19