Sensational Influences: Mary Elizabeth Braddon’s Literary Legacy
A conference to commemorate the centenary of Braddon’s death
4-5 September 2015, Institute of English Studies, Senate House, Malet St., London
Keynote Speaker: Prof Jennifer Phegley, University of Missouri-Kansas
Mary Elizabeth Braddon was widely acknowledged to be the queen of the circulating libraries in the mid-Victorian period. She enjoyed a phenomenal popular and commercial success and became a by-word throughout the second half of the nineteenth century for the professional woman writer.
This centenary conference seeks to assess the significance of Braddon’s long and prolific career, stretching from 1860 to 1915, and also her influence on both her contemporaries and also on subsequent writers. In what ways did Braddon’s success inspire, stimulate, enrage, or encourage other female writers and how was Braddon’s particular brand of sensationalism emulated or adapted by later authors?
Possible topics for papers might include, but are in no way limited to, the following:
• Braddon’s influence on the contemporary literary marketplace
• Braddon’s critical reception, then, since, and now
• Braddon’s career as an actress
• Braddon’s poetry
• Braddon’s drama
• Braddon and French fiction
• Braddon’s life: scandals, celebrity, etc.
• Themes of Braddon’s fiction
• Braddon’s network – peers, rivals, mentors
• Braddon’s male contemporaries
• Other female sensationalists of the 1860s and 1870s
• Braddon’s influences (Dickens, Brontë, Bulwer, Balzac, Flaubert)
• The legacy of sensation fiction
• Neo-Victorian fiction
• Sensation’s influence on modern genres
• Film / Radio / Dramatic adaptation
Selected papers from the conference will be included in two projected publications: a Centenary Edition of Essays, edited by Anne-Marie Beller, and a Special Issue of Women’s Writing edited by Anne-Marie Beller and Kate Mattacks.
Please send abstracts of 350 words to Dr Anne-Marie Beller (email@example.com) and a short (150 words) biog. by 1 May 2015.