May 2009

1.The President’s Message
2.Report on the 2009 VSAO Annual Conference
3.The Forum: The Internet and Victorian Studies

4.Upcoming Conferences
5.Victorian Panels at Congress

The President’s Message

There have been many changes at VSAO this Spring. I want to begin by giving a heartfelt thanks to Anne Clendinning for her two-year tenure as the president of VSAO. She took on the position with great passion, dedication, and conviviality; it has been a pleasure working with her. It is with some trepidation that I now prepare to try to step into her role. I also want to thank Christine Bolus-Reichert for the two terms she has served as a member-at-large. I am happy to welcome two new members-at-large: Connie Crompton and Fiona Coll. With this issue, Martin Danahay will take over the editorship of the Newsletter. And David Latham, Alison Halsall, and Dennis Denisoff continue to serve in their positions of treasurer, secretary, and webmaster extraordinaire respectively. Many thanks to all for their continuing and new roles.

There are several things that I appreciate about VSAO: the interdisciplinarity of our membership; the geographical diversity of that membership within Ontario; the sense of engagement and commitment to a field of study, the Victorian period, in combination with a collegial eagerness to engage with each other’s work. Perhaps what I most appreciate, however, is the deft handling of continuity over time in combination with a receptiveness to new currents of scholarship and new definitions of the period. The organization began in 1967 and has sustained many changes over the years; throughout, it has remained a vital and lively player in crucial debates. I am devoted to keeping these conversations alive while adding new debates and discussions to the mix. I would love to hear from you with respect to how to further this dimension of our organization. Currently, our evening lectures, ACCUTE panels, this Newsletter, and, of course, our annual conference all provide forums for discussion and exchange. Please feel free to make suggestions for evening lecture speakers and conference speakers for next year. In addition, please let Martin Danahay ( know of any events that you would like to have posted in the Newsletter. Indeed, responses on any aspect of our activities or suggestions for new events are most welcome.

With best wishes for a productive and restful Spring and Summer,


Report on the VSAO Annual Conference,
York University, April 29 2009

This year the VSAO returned to York’s Glendon College campus, having met there from 1969 to 1991 before moving to Victoria College. The dining room afforded excellent views of the Don River Valley and York University provided a very well equipped room for presentations. The decision by the transportation authorities to close the entire Don Valley Parkway that day was the only fly in the ointment for this participant.

The first paper of the day was by Stephanie McAllister of the University of Toronto and was entitled “’The Daughter of my Mind’: Hysterical Movement as Resistance in Tomorrow’s Eve.” Tomorrow’s Eve, by French author Auguste Villiers de l’Isle-Adams (published in French as L’Ève Future, 1886), is a relatively unknown late 19th century science fiction novel. Her paper examined the role of hysteria in the novel, drawing on the experiments of Jean-Martin Charcot, and using his studies of hysterical women to understand the android Hadaly in relation to the character of Alicia and the mysterious figure of Sowana, who uses the android as her surrogate. Sowana in the text has multiple identities and embodies Charcot’s image of the unstable female hysteric who has no fixed identity. The figure of Sowana recuperates the figure of the female hysteric and presents a counter to the misogyny evident in the representation of other females in the text. Such a reading avoids pathologizing women and repeating Charcot’s misogynist definition of the female hysteric.

Frederick D. King, University of Western Ontario, gave the next paper entitled “The Spectacle of the Occult and Sexual Dissidence: Positioning Passive Men in the Victorian Spiritualist Movement”. He examined the figure of Daniel Dunglas Home (1833-86), a renowned if controversial Scottish spiritualist, as a model of male passivity also to be found in Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Parasite (1895) and Richard Marsh’s The Beetle (1897). Home’s celebration of passive masculinity in spiritualism serves to subvert readings of fin-de-siècle anxiety narratives as satiric commentaries on the late-Victorian crisis of masculinity. Gilroy in Doyle’s text and Holt and Lessingham in The Beetle occupy passive feminine gendered subject positions vis a vis strong female supernatural characters in the novels. While Doyle and Marsh fictionalize fears of such forms of masculinity as an involuntary violation, Home was able to use his position as a passive male to be a successful male spiritualist, thus subverting patriarchal gender roles.

Rob Breton of Nipissing University in “The Rhetorical Strategies of the Unstamped Press” examined the typography of the unstamped free press in early nineteenth-century England, focusing on the Poor Man’s Guardian. He analyzed the way in which such press subverted the official newspapers in its use of quotation marks and different fonts. The typeface also mimicked the declaratory style of radical meetings and showed how its style broke down the distinction between speaking and writing in its use of rhetorical strategies associated with working-class movements, especially Chartism. He argued that the visual cues in the Poor Man’s Guardian helped create a distinctively working class discourse embedded in radical rhetorical styles that helped distinguish it from the middle class establishment newspapers.

The two plenary talks were both rich and suggestive papers and it is difficult to do them justice in such a short space. Entitled “Mountains and Mountain Climbing as Spectacle in the Second Half of the Nineteenth Century,” Ann Colley, of the Department of English at Buffalo State University, gave a paper full of spectacular visual imagery that analyzed how the perception of mountains, especially the Alps, changed as a result of the growth of the tourist industry. Mountain climbing became a spectator sport, with tourists watching the progress of climbers through telescopes. Mountain climbing and Alpine scenery was also made the subject of spectacle through shows by Albert Smith that featured accounts by climbers, paintings of the scenery, and chocolate-dispensing St. Bernard dogs. The mountains were commodified and turned into spectacle, negating the Romantic category of the sublime which stressed a solitary communion with nature. The sublime as an experience was not recaptured until the advent of fine art photography of the Alps by mountain-climbing photographers.

Keith Wilson, of the Department of English, at the University of Ottawa gave the next plenary address on “Thomas Hardy and Drama as National Spectacle: ‘The Dynasts’ On and Off Stage.” In a pleasing continuity with the previous paper, Professor Wilson started by discussing Hardy’s witnessing of hangings, one when he was 16 Saturday 9th August 1856 and the other through a telescope Tuesday 10th August 1858, both in Dorchester. Professor Wilson argued that these experiences shaped Hardy’s perceptions of time and his approach to spectacle and the spectacular. He then analyzed what he characterized as “one of Hardy’s most neglected works” ‘The Dynasts’ and its adaptation as a play to support the British war effort in 1914, arguing that the production significantly altered Hardy’s representation of war, consciousness and universal peace, shaping them for jingoistic ends. The conference concluded with its usual convivial sherry hour. I am sure I am not alone in expressing my appreciation to the conference organizers for the smoothness with which the conference ran and for the wonderful desserts available at the lunch!

The Forum: The Internet and Victorian Studies

In each issue of the Newsletter we ask three to six scholars to discuss a topic of interest to our membership. In this issue I asked Patrick Leary, Dino Franco Felluga, Tina Young Choi, Laurie Langbauer, and Susan Brown to discuss the impact of the internet on research and/or teaching in Victorian Studies. I am most grateful to our contributors for their engaging, thoughtful, and provocative responses. The internet changes as quickly as one writes about it; it is unlikely that there is anyone who has not reflected on its role in her or his research, teaching, and students’ work in recent years. We welcome responses—debates, disputes, extensions of the discussion, contributions from your own experience—that continue this conversation.

Barbara Leckie (

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Mass Digitization and Victorian Studies

Patrick Leary (

The legacy of the world’s first “mass” print culture is steadily being migrated to digital formats with astonishing speed. Already, searchable digital facsimiles have been created for entire print runs of dozens of 19th-century newspaper and magazine titles, and other projects are planned. The consequences of this era of mass digitization for Victorian Studies will be profound, but unevenly distributed. For some scholars, any changes will seem largely a matter of convenience–if their library has a subscription to one of the large collections, they will dip into it now and then in search of, say, a publication notice or a proper name, to gloss an allusion or to fill out a footnote. Cumulatively, the results of those kinds of searches are already having an enormous effect on the annotation of Victorian texts and the writing of Victorian biographies, and the tidal deposit of all of these bits of hitherto undiscoverable information will ultimately add a great deal to what we now know (or think we know) about 19th-century life and letters. But for those eager to use these new tools to ask new questions about the period, and about the Victorian press itself, the availability of searchable digital facsimiles opens up unprecedented opportunities for exploration. That availability will also change our current standards of evidence, and therefore of scholarly practice, in all sorts of ways. To take but one example, the Oxford English Dictionary will no longer suffice as a source for generalizing about when a particular phrase became common in Victorian political discourse; only a careful search of the phrase and its variants in the pages of a wide variety of newspapers and magazines, and an equally careful analysis of the results, will yield the evidence necessary to advance our understanding of such issues. Similarly, questions about the reading public’s familiarity with particular books or writers, and about how allusions to them operated in different rhetorical contexts, are things we’ll be learning much more about in years to come. More generally, we’re going to be learning an enormous amount about the varieties and conventions of Victorian journalism, as more of us routinely make our way through leaders, gossip columns, news paragraphs, obituaries, reports of legal proceedings, parliamentary summaries, reviews, and many other genres as they appeared in a daily and weekly press that has been, until now, largely inaccessible or unusable. What we come to understand about that journalism will, in turn, take us in new directions in assessing the complex and vibrant relationships between journalistic writing and “literary” creation.

I believe that the next major step in making use of these collections will be the application of networked collaboration among Victorianists around the world, distributing our work on these unwieldy texts, and pooling our findings to build a foundation for future discovery. There will be plenty of blind alleys and misapprehensions—these are, after all, facsimiles, not the actual objects, and much material of great value that will remain undigitized cannot be allowed to fall into what I like to call the “offline penumbra” – but the years ahead hold great promise. In many ways, the reassessments of the 1950s and 1960s that saw the birth of “Victorian Studies” were a prologue to the newly broad and deep exploration of Victorian print culture upon which, with the help of these new tools and others still under development, we are only now embarking.

* * * * *

Archival Flâneurism

Tina Young Choi (York University)

The internet has been invaluable to my research, especially when I’m working with historical sources. Access to such resources as The (London) Times Digital Archive provides instant gratification twenty-four hours a day; searches that used to take days in the past (and that always made me wonder if I’d missed something in the printed indexes) can now be completed in a few minutes. At the same time, of course, I find that there’s no substitute for the archive, where I can see what appeared on the facing page of an article or what advertising materials were included with a book, or stumble across something useful just one shelf over. I do wonder whether, especially for newer scholars who have always had such internet resources available to them, search engines and keywords are making the research process more “directed” – more efficient and streamlined, perhaps, but also less open to a productive archival flâneurism.

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Eschewing the Skeuomorph: NINES and the Future of Victorian Scholarship

Dino Franco Felluga (Purdue University)

In 2007, I presented a talk on the MLA presidential forum workshop of that year. The forum addressed the impact the digital revolution is having on scholarship at large. My main argument, which I’ll reproduce here in brief, was that the digital revolution offers us a solution to the crisis in humanities scholarship but only if we embrace the radical changes this new medium entails. My major example of the new possibilities opened by the digital revolution was the Mellon-funded NINES initiative or Networked Infrastructure for Nineteenth-century Electronic Scholarship (, though I also mentioned, by comparison, the more traditional editing project I’m involved with: RaVoN or Romanticism and Victorianism on the Net, the expansion of Romanticism on the Net into the Victorian period. RaVoN is a good example of a skeuomorphic approach to new media, NINES of the radical possibilities and challenges faced by digital scholarship. I would posit that NINES illustrates for us how editing and scholarship need to take up the challenge of new media, how new scholars must therefore be trained differently than they have been to date.

I discuss the skeuomorph’s relation to NINES and to digital scholarship generally in my article in Victorian Studies, “Addressed to the NINES.” A skeuomorph is a concept borrowed from achaeological anthropology and used by N. Katherine Hayles to make sense of the persistence of old formal structures within new innovations. The language used to describe the computer and the Internet is rich with skeuomorphs: Web pages, bookmarks, scrolling, desktops, windows, portals, folders, files, documents, trash. RaVoN is a good example of a digital resource that has succeeded by perfectly reproducing the traditional mechanisms of a print journal (peer review, a low acceptance rate, careful copy-editing, an impeccable advisory board, etc.). As far as the individual user is concerned, little has changed and this strategy was necessary for early journals like Romanticism on the Net (started in the first year of the Internet’s viability, 1996). By embracing the skeuomorphic drag of the old, the familiar, and— let’s not forget—the successful, our journal was able to compete for contributors and to be recognized by dominant and residual entities like hiring and promotion committees, department chairs determining merit raises, the MLA bibliography, and so on.

The problem, however, with remaining too tied to traditional methods of scholarship and with remaining indifferent with regard to the digital revolution is that we have largely given over to commercial entities the responsibility of transmitting our knowledge and cultural heritage. This situation has led to intractable problems for us as scholars and teachers. Commercial entities are ultimately concerned about profit. They have succeeded by purchasing our knowledge cheaply and selling back our own work to our libraries at exorbitant rates, thus leading to ever-tighter library budgets. The rush to buy these digitized collections has led to reductions in the purchase of our hardcover monographs and hard-copy journals. Presses and journals, which relied heavily on library acquisitions to stay solvent, are facing an ever more challenging financial situation, even as the push to publish has increased and internal funding has dried up. The result has been termed by Stephen Greenblatt in his now famous letter from the MLA to members, department chairs and deans, our current crisis in humanities publishing. Increasing pressure on university presses to stay in the black has meant that publication is no longer driven exclusively by the intellectual value of the work but by what can sell (ever fewer single-author studies, no overly arcane subjects, and a tendency to prefer short, sparingly annotated books on “hot” topics or subjects that are popular in the undergraduate classroom). In short, we are allowing entities that are not in it for the knowledge but for the money to dictate the way we do our scholarship, not to mention the fact that these new tools (the Internet, EEBO, ECCO, Google Books, etc.) will ever increasingly affect material aspects of our profession (indexing, researching, archiving, composing, and publishing, on the one hand, communication with our students and forms of medial transfer of information, on the other).

NINES is an effort by British and American nineteenth-century scholars aimed at responding to this crisis in academic publishing. Our goals include: 1) reclaiming our own knowledge production; 2) exploring the emergent interpretive and social acts made possible by new technologies, including full-text searching, faceted browsing (by genres, dates, etc.), game playing (through the use of IVANHOE), text collation and comparison (though the use of JUXTA), and user collection, annotation, sharing, and re-purposing through the use of COLLEX; 3) establishing “a coordinated network of peer-reviewed content and useful tools (both organizational and interpretive) for pedagogical and research materials developed by educators and scholars working in 19th-century British and American literary cultural studies” (NINES White Paper 3); 4) decentralizing “scholarly work, allowing individuals and groups to work and archive scholarly materials in their local ‘IT’ environments and at the same time integrate that work into a widely distributed network” (NINES White Paper 3) through the use of RDF (Resource Description Framework) metadata; 5) providing content for free (open content, open source), so as an alternative to current profit-oriented publication venues, a move that also allowed us fully to aggregate sites like The Blake Archive and The Rossetti Archive without paying prohibitive copyright fees.

In seeking to offer users a glimpse of the emergent possibilities in the realm of electronic editing and in our effort to eschew the skeuomorphic structures of other approaches to Web publication, NINES offers a number of challenges—to users, to contributors, to scholars at large, and to our scholarly institutions. We challenge users to think about alternative ways to approach the act of interpretation and editing, taking inspiration from social-networking sites like, flickr, and facebook; commercial sites like amazon, iTunes, and Netflix that use the “more like this” or “users also purchased” function to direct users to new objects; even the gaming world so familiar to the “cool” sensibilities of our students. We challenge contributors (and the future generation of scholars) to learn how one goes about properly creating Websites in the era of Web 2.0, including World Wide Web Consortium standards for DDT and the use of XML rather than static HTML for the creation of digital sites, not to mention the adoption of the XML standards for humanities publication already established by the Text Encoding Initiative (TEI). We challenge scholars at large to embrace this new form of publication and research in a way that allows us to control our own means of production and that resists the corporate logic of gate keeping and profit margins. We challenge our scholarly institutions to provide funds to support this sort of open-source, open-content, non-profit work since it’s in their own best interest to do so.

Works Cited

Felluga, Dino Franco. “Addressed to the NINES: The Victorian Archive and the Disappearance of the Book.” Victorian Studies 48 (2006): 305-19.

Hayles, N. Katherine. How We Became Posthuman: Virtual Bodies in Cybernetics, Literature, and Informatics. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1999.

McGann, Jerome and Bethany Nowviskie. “NINES white paper.” <>

* * * * *

The Victorian Everyday and the Internet

Laurie Langbauer (The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)

Our methodology these days stresses online immersion in million-page commercial databases such as Gale or in the open-source Nineteenth Century Serials Edition project. Patrick Leary argues that “electronic connections, and … information … are emerging as hallmarks of … scholarship in the digital age” (2). Leary sees the “quotidian ordinariness” (9) of doing online searching now slip metonymically into our sense that the Victorian web we search actually reaches back into the nineteenth-century everyday. The corporations selling such databases play to that desire. The Gale Digital Collections’ portal page asks us to “relive history” and claims “if you can’t find it here; it didn’t happen” ( Martin Conboy suggests that databases’ sheer scale obscures “the necessarily finite selection” making them up. Sally Mitchell warns that the facility of our searching makes it easier to find what we are looking for and claim we know what “the Victorians believed” (317).

Both argue that the expense of these resources is prohibitive for many institutions, implying that some scholars thereby become like rich tourists who can afford the supposedly authentic experience of an indigenous Victorian everyday, while the rest of us cannot. I would argue that our scholarly practices cover over such inequity when we do not fully disclose our use of databases in our citations, but pretend instead to some magical erudition rather than acknowledge our technologically enabled but still partial searches. We need to acknowledge our dream of a vast archive and explore the consequences of this fantasy.

Works Cited

Conboy, Martin. “Review of the 19th Century British Library Newspapers.” Institute of Historical Research: the National Centre for History. Review no. 730. 05 March 2009. University of London. 04 April 2009 <>

Leary, Patrick, “Googling the Victorians,” Journal of Victorian Culture 10.1 (Spring 2005): 72- 86.

Mitchell, Sally. “Victorian Journalism in Plenty.” Victorian Literature and Culture 37 (2009): 311-321.

* * * * *

Victorian Studies and the Internet

Susan Brown ( University of Guelph)

My first experience of using computer connectivity in Victorian studies was in the 1980s using a cradle modem to hook up a monochrome monitor and keyboard to the Dalhousie mainframe, so I could write an MA thesis on Elizabeth Barrett Browning using codes like“/margin+5” to indent quotations. But my first real internet experience was when I discovered the Victoria listserv (founded 1993; see I’ve always been more lurking than loquacious, but that online discussion forum helped hugely in overcoming the sense of isolation I felt as the sole Victorianist in my department: suddenly I was hooked into an ongoing conversation of experts and aficionados about teaching and research in the field. The ease of communication among groups across distance, the possibilities for collaboration, the sharing of ideas and files are now naturalized in our scholarly lives, and broadened by newer technologies. Gone are the days when scholars connected sporadically through contacts, conferences, and print publications. The internet is first and foremost about connectivity to resources and communities. A number of significant innovations—whether NINES (, or the user wiki for the Old Bailey Project (—are working to harness the strengths of contributory media to scholarly protocols. Just as the ability to make changes to my evolving text without retyping them seemed magical when I first linked up via a screeching phone line to some machine in the basement of a building on the other side of Halifax, emergent modes of scholarly production offer transformative possibilities.

The internet contributes to Victorian studies in myriad ways. As Tom Standage reminds us, new technologies heighten our awareness of the transformative impacts of earlier information technologies, and study of those impacts informs our understanding of the massive changes of our own times. The virtual avalanche of online surrogates of our objects of study is having a major impact. We should all be striving to answer Greg Crane’s question “What Do You Do with a Million Books?” since the tools developed to help us engage with more books than can be humanly read will determine the scope of our future inquiries, the questions we ask, the evidence we draw on, and how we locate it. Victorianists need to get involved in the development of these tools, whether by using existing resources and thoughtfully critiquing the standards they employ (or don’t), their use of metadata, their interfaces, or their functionalities (see Various for examples); by jumping into the digital fire to develop new materials; or by joining others to develop new tools. Even if they are as rudimentary in relation to what they will become as that whiny modem of my MA years was to the high speed networks we rely on today, we need to take those baby steps with the people who are developing the research tools and resources of our future, to ensure they are going in the right direction.

Works Cited

Crane, Gregory. “What Do You Do with a Million Books?” D-Lib Magazine 12.3 (2006). <>.

Standage, Tom. The Victorian Internet: The Remarkable Story of the Telegraph and the Nineteenth Century’s on-Line Pioneers. New York, N.Y: Berkley Books, 1999.

Various. “Reviews of Digitised Scholarly Resources.” Journal of Victorian Culture 13.1 (2008): 108-24.

Upcoming Conferences

Joint NAVSA and BAVS Conference: Past and Present.13-15 July, Cambridge, England

RSVP Conference: Victorian Networks and the Periodical Press. 21-22 August, Univ of St. Thomas, Minneapolis, MN

Victorian Panels at the Annual Congress

 Following is a summary of some of the panels at this year’s Congress (Carleton University, Ottawa, Ontario 23 May to 31 May 2009) that might be of interest to VSAO members. The VSAO panel is on Tuesday 26 May at 10:30 am. The panels mentioned here all focus primarily on Victorian studies, but there are individual Victorianist papers in other panels as well. Check the final program for the full listings. To get a full sense of the diversity of offerings, check the Congress website:

ACCUTE – Association of Canadian College and University Teachers of English
ACQL – The Association for Canadian and Québec Literatures
BSC – Bibliographical Society of Canada
CASBC – Canadian Association for Studies in Book Culture
CCLA – Canadian Comparative Literature Association
CHA – Canadian Historical Association
CLSG – Christianity and Literature Study Group
CSCH – Canadian Society of Church History
CSHM – Canadian Society for the History of Medicine
CSHPS – Canadian Society for the History and Philosophy of Science

Saturday, May 23, 2009

1:15pm – 2:30pm
Victorian and Edwardian Consciousness I: Belonging
Location: Loeb A220
Charles Ferrall (Victorian University of Wellington): “Victorian and Edwardian ‘Juvenile’ Fiction and the Invention of Adolescence”
Sarah Henderson (Toronto): “Threshold Beings: Space, Sympathy and the Domesticated Animal in the Victorian Periodical”
Kate Lawson (Waterloo)/Lynn Shakinovsky (Wilfrid Laurier): “‘Quite a stranger at home’: Hospitality, Migration, History, and the English Home in Mid-Victorian English Fiction”

Where Would We Be Without our Supporting Cast? Cultural Workers in Early Canadian Literary Society (ACCUTE)
Org: Thomas Hodd (Guelph-Humber) and Tobi Kozakewich (Queen’s) Location: Loeb B146
D.M.R. Bentley (UWO): “Thomas Cary’s Work for the ‘Peace and Good Order of a Well-Regulated Society’”
Suzanne Bowness (Ottawa): “‘Behind every good writer is a great editor’: Edmund E. Sheppard and Saturday Night”
Geordan Patterson (Alberta): “The Mouthpieces of Dalhousie: Dalhousie’s Patronage of Early Canadian Letters”
Janice Fiamengo (Ottawa): “Fighting the Philistines: Sara Jeannette Duncan as Reviewer”

1:30pm – 3:00pm
Narrative and Territory
Chair: Karin Beeler Location: Paterson 2A46
Kristen Guest (University of Northern British Columbia) “Revising the Space of Empire in Jamyang Norbu’s The Mandala of Sherlock Holmes”
Amar Acheraiou, “Narrative and National Consciousness: Tension between Individual Poetic Fulfillment and the Demands of Collectivity”
Shaun Kaser (University of Toronto) “ ‘Stereoscopic Experiments’: Tracing the Visual in Kipling’s Kim from the Museum to the Bazaar and Back”

2:45pm – 4:00pm
Imperial Bodies
Location: Loeb A220
Karen Macfarlane (MSVU): “Knowing me, Knowing you: Epistemologies, Monsters and Imperialist Fiction”
Cecily Devereux (Alberta): “Adventures in Stageland: Sara Jeannette Duncan, Imperial Burlesque, and the Performance of White Femininity”
Charn Jagpal (Alberta): “The Supernatural, the Inscrutable Indian Dancing Girl: Female (Mis)Adventures in Fanny Emily Penny’s The Romance of a Nautch Girl”

3:30pm – 5:00pm
Narratives of Change
Chair: James Penney Location: Paterson 236
Joanna Cumyn (Université de Montréal) “Interpretations of the Diasporic Nation in the 21st Century”
Natalie Vesselova (University of Ottawa) “The Seed Which Came from France”: la Francophonie in Duncan Campbell Scott’s In the Village of Viger”
David Gamble (University of Western Ontario) “International Desire/National Vision in Edward Bellamy’s Looking Backward: 2000-1887, William Morris’s News from Nowhere, and Archibald Lampman’s ‘The Land of Pallas’”
Michelle Weinroth, “William Morris’s Dialectical Dream Vision and the Rhetoric of Social Change”

4:15pm – 5:30pm
Joint Session with the North American Victorian Studies Association
Victorian Women and Health (ACCUTE)
Org: Keith Wilson (Ottawa) Location: Loeb B146
Kimberly Hereford (Washington): “The Fashionable Disease: Illness, Spiritualism, and Victorian Femininity”
Goldie Morgentaler (Lethbridge): “A Healthy Exertion: Social Dancing in Victorian Fiction”
Kristine Moruzi (Melbourne): “The Healthy Girl: Fitness and Beauty in the Girl’s Own Paper”
Ryan Stephenson (Ottawa): “‘The Whole Social Structure is Rotten’: National Health, the Servant Problem, and George Gissing’s The Foolish Virgin”

Sunday, May 24, 2009

9:00am – 10:15am
The ‘World’ Views of Nineteenth Century Fiction (ACCUTE) Location: Loeb C665
Rohan Maitzen (Dalhousie): “But Why Always George Eliot?: Ahdaf Soueif Rewrites Middlemarch”
Bronwyn Rodd (Dalhousie): “‘Generations I Had Conjured Up to My Own Fancy’: Universalism, Nation, and ‘Reproductive Futurism’ in Mary Shelley’s The Last Man”
Eddy Kent (Rutgers): “‘We need useful ornaments’: Cosmopolitanism and Civil Service Reform in Mid-Victorian Fiction”

10:30am – 11:45am
Joint Session with the North American Victorian Studies Association
The Threat to Victorian Good Health: Real, Imagined, and Metaphorical
Org: Keith Wilson (Ottawa) Location: Southam 506
Anne Clendinning (Nipissing): “A choking sensation always follows the stink’: coal gas and consumer health in Victorian London.”
Lene Østermark –Johansen (University of Copenhagen): “Walter Pater, John Addington Symonds and the Health of the English Language.”
Sylvia Pamboukian (Robert Morris U): “Women and Unprofessional Medicine”
Christa Zeller Thomas (Ottawa): “‘I was ill just then’: Ada Cambridge’s Discourse of Invalidism in Thirty Years in Australia”

12:00pm – 1:10pm
The Rossettis
Chair: Mary Arseneau (Ottawa) Location: Southam 506
Krista Lysack (UWO): “Christina Rossetti’s Devotional Commerce”
D.M.R. Bentley (UWO): “Dante Gabriel Rossetti as Disegnatore: Mary Magadalene at the Door of Simon the Pharisee”
Heather McAlpine (Ottawa): “The Prince’s Progress: Christina Rossetti’s Meta- Emblematics”

1:15pm – 2:30pm
Nineteenth Century Crime and Punishment
Location: Loeb A220
Julia Wright (Dalhousie): “The Myth of Irish Terrorism and the Origins of the English Police: Maria Edgeworth’s ‘Limerick Gloves’ ”
George Grinnell (UBC Okanagan): “A History of Violence: Equiano, Suicide, and Romanticism’s War on Terror”
Jason Haslam (Dalhousie): “‘To hint of the secrets of the prison house’: Southworth’s ‘The Hidden Hand’ and the Cultural Prison”

Victorian and Edwardian Consciousness II: Relations
Location: Loeb C665
Heather Marcovitch (Red Deer): “The Performances of The Ballad of Reading Gaol”
D Grant Campbell (UWO): “A Grammar of the Internet: What George Eliot and John Henry Newman Can Teach Us About the Semantic Web Technologies”
Barbara Morris (Humber): “Strangeness and Estrangement in Ford Maddox Ford’s A Call”

2:45pm – 4:00pm
Joint Session with the Victorian Studies Association of Western Canada
Victorian Science
Org: Kristen Guest (UNBC) Location: Loeb B146
Grace Kehler (McMaster): “Darwin, Wagner, and Moore: An Artistic ‘web of complex relations’”
Leigh Dyrda (Alberta): “The Occult Scientific Imagination in Bram Stoker’s The Jewel of Seven Stars”
Sherrin Berezowsky (UWO): “The Science of Class Preservation: Francis Galton’s Narrative (of) Inheritance”
Trevea Kellington (UVic): “The ‘Science’ of Class and The Double in Walter Besant’s Children of Gibeon”

3:15pm – 4:45pm
Post-Confederation Literature
Chair: Shelley Boyd (McGill) Location: Southam 624
“The Nation in Ruins: Cultural Anxiety in Post-Confederation Canada,” Brooke Pratt, University of Western Ontario
“ ‘The Florence of Canada, if Not America’: Archibald Lampman’s Visions of and for Ottawa,” D.M.R. Bentley, University of Western Ontario
“Sir Charles and the God Damn Moderns,” Dean Irvine, Dalhousie University

Monday, May 25, 2009

9:00am – 10:15am
Production of Literature II
Org: Julie Murray (Carleton) Location: Southam 408
Peter Buchanan (Toronto): “Performing Form in the Vernon Manuscript”
Fiona Crawford (Carleton): “The Mysterious Serial Adventures of Wilkie Collins’ The Moonstone”
Caley Ehnes (Victoria): “‘Her spheréd soul shall look on them’ The Afterlife of Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s ‘L.E.L.’s Last Question’ ”


Location: Loeb A220
Chris Keep (UWO): “That Which Ought to Have Remained Hidden: The Gothic Nature of Information in Braddon’s Lady Audley’s Secret”
Anne Quéma (Acadia): “Out of the Closet into Narrative ‘Transvestism’: Patricia Dunker’s The Deadly Space Between”
Andrea Cabajsky (Moncton): “Catholic Gothic: Atavism, Orientalism, and Generic Change in Charles De Guise’s Le Cap au diable (1863)”

10:30am – 12:00pm
Roundtable on Richard Allen’s New Publication, The View from Murney Tower: Salem Bland, the Late Victorian Controversies, and the Search for a New Christianity (University of Toronto Press, 2008)
Facilitator: Marguerite Van Die, Queen’s University
Participants: A.B. McKillop, Carleton University, Ian McKay, Queen’s University, John Young, Queen’s Theological College. Location: ME4236


Human Authority, Nature’s Autonomy: Historical Perspectives on Canadian Urban Environments
Location: ME4494
Jocelyn Thorpe, University of British Columbia, “Trash Talk: The Making of Vancouver’s Contaminated Spaces”
Sean Kheraj, University of British Columbia, “A MultiSpecies Metropolis: Managing Animals in NineteenthCentury Winnipeg”
Jennifer Bonnell, OISE, University of Toronto, “Imagined Futures and Unintended Consequences: Toronto’s Don River Improvement Project, 1880-1910”
Gregory Stott, Nipissing University, “Changing Expectations: The Transformation of Lake Huron Villages into Summer Cottage Communities, 1880-1930”

1:30pm – 3:00pm
Religion, Education, and the State in British North America
Location: ME 3190
Bruce Curtis, Carleton University, “Comment sanctifier la journée: Religious Authority and Common Schooling in the Lower Canadian 1830s”
Anthony Di Mascio, University of Ottawa, “The Authority of Public Opinion and the Making of Educational Legislation in Upper Canada, 1793-1832”
Paul John Reale, University of Chicago, “The Making of an Imperial System of Education in Upper Canada, 1791”

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

9:00am – 10:15am
Mourning, Memory, Monologue: Nineteenth Century Subjectivities
Location: Southam 617
D.M.R. Bentley (UWO): “Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s ‘Jenny’ and ‘Inner Standing-Point’”
Sara Malton (St. Mary’s): “Uncovering Financial Memory in Nineteenth Century Culture: Dickens’ Debts of the Past”
D.L. Macdonald (Calgary): “Track[ing] the Steps of Glory to the Grave”: The Rhetoric of Mourning in Two Byronic Elegies”

10:30am – 11:45am
Joint Session with the Victorian Studies Association of Ontario
Looking Backward: Victorian Futures
Org: Christine Bolus-Reichert (Toronto) Location: Southam 315
Michele Braun (Northeastern): “I Tell You, You Are an Animal” The Emergence of a Posthuman Theory in The Island of Dr. Moreau”
Daniel Burgoyne (Vancouver Island): “Cultural Inversions of Belief: The Lost World of James De Mille’s A Strange Manuscript”
Stefania Forlini (Calgary): “Technology and Morality: The Stuff of Steampunk”
Alison Halsall (York): “Victorian Superheroes? Re-Imagining the Victorians in the Graphic Novel”

11:15am – 1:00pm
Politics, Pedagogy and Popularization in Victorian Science
Chair: Trevor Levere (Toronto) Location: 517 Southam
Gordon McOuat (King’s) “Diffusion of Really Useful Knowledge: A Victorian Challenge to Interest Free Science”
Bernie Lightman (York) “Popularizing Evolution in Children’s Books”
James Elwick (York) “ ‘An inconvenient test’: Victorian examinations, metrology, and accountability”

2:00pm – 4:10 pm
Darwinians and Non-Darwinians in Context
Chair: Bernie Lightman (York) Location: A602 Loeb
Hannah Gay (SFU & UCL) “Chemist, Entomologist, Darwinian, and Man of Affairs: Raphael Meldola and the Making of a Scientific Career”
Georgy Levit (King’s) “Bernhard Rensch´s (1900-1990) Panpsychistic Identism and the Modern Evolutionary Synthesis”
Ian Hesketh (UBC) “Mythologizing the Oxford Debate of 1860”
Trevor Pearce (Chicago) “The Spencer-Weismann Dispute in the 1890s”

3:30pm – 5:00 p.m.
Second Session
Location: Paterson 201
Emily Simmons, (University of Toronto) “ ‘A Goodish Profit on the Original Investment’: Luggage, Writing, and ‘Market Stories’ in Dickens’s Christmas Numbers”
Alison Rukavina, (University of Alberta) “The Rise and Fall of Edward Petherick and his Colonial Booksellers’ Agency (1887-1894)”
Chris Lendrum, (University of Ottawa) “Representing ‘That Mighty Heart’: John Scott’s Editorial Practice in the London Magazine”

Saturday, May 30, 2009

3:30pm – 5:00pm
Nineteenth-Century Medicine and Nursing
Location: TB 208
“Navigating the Political Straits: Florence Nightingale and the Doctors in the Crimean War.” Carol Helmstadter (Independent Scholar)
“Workhouse Medicine in Pre-Confederation Toronto: A British Perspective on Limited Medicalization.” Kevin Siena (Trent University)
“Nursing in the Canadian West, 1800 to 1900.” Glennis Zilm (Independent Scholar)