‘Gender in Victorian Popular Fiction, Art, and Culture,’ Nineteenth-Century Gender Studies

by Janine Hatter on October 19, 2015

CFA: ‘Gender in Victorian Popular Fiction, Art, and Culture,’ Nineteenth-Century Gender Studies

Nineteenth-Century Gender Studies is a peer-reviewed, online journal committed to publishing insightful and innovative scholarship on gender studies and nineteenth-century British literature, art and culture.

This special issue invites articles on all aspects of the relationship between gender and the “popular”. Popular fiction in the nineteenth century was repeatedly, and often negatively, associated with women and femininity, perceived as a mass of “silly novels by lady novelists” (George Eliot). Existing scholarship (by critics such as Solveig R. Robinson and Jennifer Phegley) has already done much to challenge the old Victorian notion that popular fiction was second-rate literature produced by a second-class gender. We seek papers that will reassess or reinvigorate the relationship between popular fiction and the feminine, but also work that goes beyond this in order to interrogate the interactions between gender and popular genres more broadly. Thus, we encourage engagement with masculinity studies and queer theory, as well as other popular genres, such as magazines, newspapers and other periodical publications, the penny bloods, gothic fictions, detective fiction, fads and fashions, and theatrical engagements. We also welcome submissions that consider gender and sexuality in conjunction with race, class, place and nationality.

Suggested topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Explorations of the interactions between gender and the popular, and of how nineteenth-century writers constructed and negotiated these relationships.
  • How popular genres and media reinforce or dispel conventional gender roles.
  • How writers use popular fiction and the popular press to imbue literary and biographical accounts of lived female experience with value and validity.
  • How and why male or female writers foster or deny an affiliation with the popular.
  • How women moved beyond being ‘consigned’ to popular fiction as a lesser genre, and used popular fiction to create positions of strength and opportunity.
  • How gender issues were depicted in a range of “popular” genres, such as sensation fiction, melodrama, penny bloods, detective fiction, short stories and gothic narratives.
  • How gender issues were depicted in a range of “popular” media, such as periodicals/magazines/newspapers, art, illustrations, fads and fashions, and the theatre.
  • How the representation of gender is affected by the choice of medium (e.g. stage adaptations of novels)
  • How gender studies as a discipline has contributed to the rediscovery of lost/forgotten Victorian popular fiction writers, and how this has aided our understanding of gender issues in the nineteenth century.

We welcome articles of 5,000-8,000 words, in MLA format. Please use US spelling and citations, and endnotes rather than footnotes.

For book reviews of 800-1,000 words in length please send a short biography and full details of the book you would like to review as soon as possible to NCGS’s Reviews Editor, Carolyn Oulton: carolyn.oulton@canterbury.ac.uk

Further information, including Submission Guidelines, is available at the journal site: http://www.ncgsjournal.com/

Please e-mail submissions to j.hatter@hull.ac.uk and helena.ifill@sheffield.ac.uk by 30th April, 2016. Any queries or letters of interest are welcome and should be sent to both e-mail addresses. Earlier submissions are encouraged.

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