CFP: Mary Elizabeth Braddon Centenary Conference

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 Contemporaries:-

• 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)

Beyond Braddon:-

• The legacy of sensation fiction

• Neo-Sensationalism

• 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 ( and a short (150 words) biog. by 1 May 2015. 

6 Replies to “CFP: Mary Elizabeth Braddon Centenary Conference

  1. Dear Dr. Beller,
    We have just met at the Sensational Men Conference at Falmouth. I would be interested in reading a paper. My paper was on Rhoda Broughton’s fiction. I will be sending you the abstract and biographical info presently.
    Dr. Graziella Stringos (University of Malta)

    1. Hi Graziella,

      It’s Janine – from the Sensational Men conference. I’ll pass on your note to Anne-Marie. I hope you got back to Malta ok.

      1. Hi Janine,
        Glad to hear from you. Yes, I arrived safely. Went back to work this morning. Hope you enjoyed yourself roaming around Falmouth with your friends.
        I am writing the abstract at the moment and hope to be able to send it by tomorrow. Thank you.
        I am also working on the book. I have come up with a title. What do you think of: MASCULINITY UNDER SCRUTINY: WOMEN WRITING MEN IN POPULAR VICTORIAN FICTION? I like the rhyme in the first bit. I will write to Helen and Barbara and hopefully we will start thinking of the articles so that if we meet in September we will be able to discuss our research there. When I get the titles of the chapters I will write an abstract and we can then send it to a publisher, perhaps Palgrave.
        Let me know what you think. Looking forward.
        Next time I will contact you through your email address.
        Best wishes,

        1. Hi Graziella,

          Yes, we had a lovely time walking around Falmouth, thank you. It was a beautifully sunny day. I’m glad you got your flight home ok!
          I really like the title, I think it says what it needs to – I’m looking forward to catching up with you again and discussing this further.


          1. Hi Janine,
            Sorry for not writing earlier. I am very glad you like the title of the book. I have already started planning the forward and the introduction. I haven’t contacted the others yet for I have been busy with teaching and corrections. However, I plan to do so this weekend. Will let you know.
            Happy weekend, dear.

      2. Dear Janine,
        How are you dear? I have been wanting to write for ages but I was very busy at work. Now that the academic year is over I can finally dedicate more time to my own things, including research. At the moment I am focusing on my paper for the Braddon Conference in September. I suppose you have seen the programme. It will definitely be an interesting conference and I am so very glad I will be seeing you again too: I am looking forward to your paper.
        And are you still interested in the Masculinity book? If yes we could discuss it when we meet in September. I haven’t contacted the others yet but I suppose it is still on. What do you say? Let me know.
        I hope you are enjoying the summer. Here it is veeeeery hot! London will be a welcome break from this oppressive heat!
        Take care,

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