May 2012

1.The President’s Message
2.Panels of Interest to Victorianists at Congress 2012
3.Summary of 2012 Evening Lecture

The President’s Message

It was a pleasure to see so many VSAO members at our 45th spring conference, held the last weekend of April at York’s Glendon College. The conference theme asked participants to work on the threshold between cultural production and anthropology, and attendees were rewarded with a superb collection of papers. In the morning panel, Deborah Reed-Danahay and Martin Danahay gave a talk that was literally a dialogue between disciplines, as an anthropologist and a literary critic compared takes on Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde; Sherrin Berezowsky spoke on Francis Galton’s early Narrative of his South African travels; and Alisha Walters gave an account of race and hybrid identity in Dinah Craik’s novel Olive. The panel closed with questions and discussion before the conference moved to lunch.  After lunch we were treated to two marvelous plenaries.  The first was by Kathy Psomiades of Duke University, who discussed theories of primitive marriage in Victorian anthropology and social theory, and the turn in the 1860s away from understanding society to be founded on an economic or social contract to understanding based on the idea of sexual contract. In the second talk of the afternoon, Audrey Jaffe spoke on Eliot’s Adam Bede, though in a talk with resonance far beyond that single novel, on the image of looking across a threshold as a figure for the reader’s conscription by the realist novel. It was a truly stimulating and enriching day, and I am grateful to all of the speakers for their presentations, as well as to the VSAO executive for organizing the conference.

On the topic of the executive, I must with regret note that two of our Members at large, Fiona Coll and Connie Crompton, have reached the end of their term. We wish them all the best as their academic careers move forward, and offer them many thanks for all they have done for the Association in the last three years. At the annual business meeting over lunch at the conference, we elected three new Members at large to the executive: they are Beth Martin and Letitia Henville, both of the University of Toronto, and Tina Choi of York University. A very warm welcome to all three, and deep thanks for agreeing to serve.

A special thank you to Fiona Coll, whose service to the Association has continued even after her term on the executive has formally concluded; she has contributed the guide to Victorian papers at this year’s Congress to be found elsewhere in this issue of the Newsletter. I will look forward to attending some of those sessions, and hope to see you there.

Matthew Rowlinson
Department of English and Centre for Theory and Criticism,
University of Western Ontario


Panels of Interest to Victorianists at Congress 2012

University of Waterloo and Wilfrid Laurier University

The following is a list of panels happening under the purview of Congress 2012. The panels mentioned here focus on Victorian studies for the most part, but a few panels have been listed because they include an individual paper on a Victorian topic. Please confirm time and location details in the final programs. Individual organization programs can be accessed through the Congress website:

Our VSAO panel will be happening at ACCUTE on Tuesday, 29 May, 10:45 to 12:45:
13B – Victorian Hesitations: Indeterminacy in Language, Art, and Politics
Location: TBA
Organizers: Fiona Coll and Constance Crompton
Lesley Higgins (York): “‘Holy, wholly, hesitant’: The ‘wreck’ of the Speaker in Hopkins’s Poetry”
Letitia Henville (Toronto): “‘Untranslatable Eyes’:  Indeterminacy in Jude the Obscure
Martin Danahay (Brock): “‘Are We not Animals?’: Indeterminacy and Biopower in The Island of Dr. Moreau

ACQL – Association for Canadian and Québec Literatures
ACCUTE – Association of Canadian College and University Teachers of English
BSC – Bibliographic Society of Canada
CASBC – Canadian Association for the Study of Book Culture
CCLA – Canadian Comparative Literature Association
CHA – Canadian Historical Association
CLSA – Canadian Law and Society Association
CPA – Canadian Philosophical Association
IGA – International Gothic Association
NAVSA – North American Victorian Studies Association

Sunday, 27 May

9:00 – 10:00
The Role of the Imagination in the Work of William James
Location: RCH 207
Speaker: K. Bromhall (Guelph)
Commentator: K. Laderoute (McMaster)
Chair: B. Monast (Laval)

9:00 – 10:30 
5B – Victorian Technologies
Location: TBA
Organizer: Jennifer Esmail
Mary Ellen Campbell (McMaster): ‘”The Terror By Day’: Information, Technology and the Limits of Knowledge in Richard Marsh’s The Beetle (1897)”
Jessica Kuskey (Syracuse): To ‘make all classes kin’: Media, Class and the Victorian Pleasure Telephone
Christopher Keep (Western): “Spirit Photography and Commodity Fetishism in the Nineteenth Century”

10:45 – 12:15
6A – Early Canadian Print Culture
Location: TBA
Jessica Langston: “Troubling History: The Deconstruction and Reconstruction of the Document in Three Canadian Long Poems”
Ceilidh Hart: “Isabella Valancy Crawford: Authorship and the Newspaper Press”
Kevin Hutchings and Blake Bouchard: “Of Bad Blood and Stolen Skulls: Anna Jameson and Sir Francis Bond Head among the First Nations of Canada”

10:45 – 12:15
6C – Glancing Backward
Location: TBA
Bruce Wyse: “Gothicized Authors and Uncanny Textuality in Two Neo-Victorian Novels”
Jessica Wolfe: “Species of Series: Collins, Darwin, and the Natural History of Resemblance”
Heather Jones: “Selling Technology: The Furniture Industry in Trollope’s Orley Farm

10:45 – 12:15
6G – Blood and Guts and DNA
Location: TBA
Sylvia Pamboukian: “‘That Wretched Italian Quack’: Chloroform, Blood Transfusion, and Quackery in Mary Elizabeth Braddon’s ‘Good Lady Ducayne'”
Amanda Lim: “Spread the word and go viral: poetry, DNA, and dreams as archives of creative sharing”
Heather Latimer: “Stories for a New Generation: Reproduction, Biopolitics and Citizenship in Three Short Stories”

11:30 – 1:00
Revisiting the 19th Century
Location: (Waterloo) Hagey Hall 2107
Chair: Michel Mallet
Vladimir Tumanov (Department of Modern Languages and Literatures, University of Western Ontario): “Reproduction in Thomas Hardy’s Tess of the D’Urbervilles: From the Stone Age to the Victorian Age”
Agata Buda (The Philological- Pedagogical Institute, Technical University of Radom, Poland) and Anna Włodarczyk-Stachurska: “The Idea of Intertextual References in the Postmodernist Novels by Antonia Susan Byatt: Comparative Aspects”
Paul Morris (École de traduction, Université de Saint-Boniface): “The Dead Child in the Writing of Vladimir Nabokov”

3:15 – 4:45
8B – Contemporary Gothic
Location: TBA
Organizer: Karen MacFarlane
Angela Facundo: “The Queer Gothic: Peculiar Failures of Epistemophilia in Mark Danielewski’s House of Leaves
Bruce Wyse: “Re-situating Nineteenth-Century Gothic: Postmodern Riffs, Proliferating Dualities and the Triumph of Bio-Power in Jekyll
Charn Jagpal: “To Believe or Not to Believe: Postmodernizing the Gothic in Bollywood’s Om Shanti Om

3:15 – 4:45
8F – Other Victorians
Location: TBA
Patricia Rigg: “Aestheticism, Anachronism, and Late Victorian Gender Politics in the literary drama of Michael Field, Augusta Webster, and A. Mary F. Robinson”
Jo-Ann Wallace: “Lytton Goes to School: The Other Victorian Bloomsbury”
Dara Greaves: “Gender-Transcendent Sympathy: Late-Victorian Alternatives to Feminine Sympathy”

Monday, 28 May

8:30 – 10:00
Political Engagement in Colonial Canada 
Location: (Waterloo) MC 4045
Jarett Henderson (Mount Royal University): “‘Addressmania’: Public Addresses, Personal Engagement, and the Politics of Loyalty in Post-Rebellion Lower and Upper Canada”
Dan Horner (McMaster): “‘Everyone has the right to protect themselves from a threatening scourge’: Debating Quarantine during Montreal’s 1847 Typhus Outbreak”
Bradley Miller (Toronto): “‘The joy of the fugitive for ages past’: Transnational Law and the Status of Refugees in British North America, 1833-1865”

8:30 – 10:00
Race, Indigeneity and Justice in Legal History
Location: TBA
Bettina Bradbury, “Troubling Inheritances: An Illegitimate Maori Daughter Contests Her Father’s Will in the New Zealand Courts and the Judicial Review Committee of the Privy Council”
Susan McKelvey, “Creating the Myth of ‘Raceless’ Justice in the Murder Trial of R. v. Richardson, Sandwich, 1903”
Lyndsay Campbell, “Law and Racialization in Canada, 1850-1890”

9:00 – 10:30
9D – Victorian Poets Abroad
Location: TBA
Rebekah A Lamb: “‘I would that I were dead’: Reading the Relationship between Boredom, Desire, and Temporality in Tennyson’s and Millais’ Representations of Mariana”
Amanda Labelle: “Romancing the Shadow in the Light of the Moon: The Construction of Blackness through Whiteness in Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s ‘The African'”
D.M.R. Bentley: “Pre-Raphaelites Abroad: A Phenomenological Reading of Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s ‘A Trip to Paris and Belgium’ as a Reflection of Pre-Raphaelite Aesthetics and Practices”

9:00 – 10:30
Early Canadian Texts 
Location: (Laurier) Dr. Alvin Woods Building (DAWB) 2-105
Oana Godeanu-Kenworthy (Miami University, Ohio) “Citizens of a Global Empire: Forms of Government as Forms of Belonging in Early Canadian Literature”
Laurel Ryan (Toronto) “New Old World Tales: Medievalism in Montreal’s Literary Garland (1838-1851)”
Shoshannah Ganz (Memorial) “Eastern Encounters: L. Adams Beck as Buddhist Missionary”

10:00 – 11:00
Mediating Benjamin
Location: (Waterloo) Hagey Hall 2107
Chair: Martin Parrot
Lauren Beard (Centre for Comparative Literature, University of Toronto): “‘The rags, the refuse’: Walter Benjamin as Chiffonnier of the Nineteenth Century”
Lee Kuhnle (Social and Political Thought, York University): “The Text in the City: Reading Berlin’s Architectural Physiognomy as an Expression of Walter Benjamin’s 1st These in ‘Über den Begriff der Geschichte'”

10:30 – 12:00 
Becoming Modern: Fin de siècle Canada
Location: (Waterloo) MC 2017
Facilitator: Penney Clark (UBC)
William Jenkins (York): “Toughest Street in Town? Toronto’s Stanley/Lombard Street, 1850-1914”
Madelaine Morrison (Carleton): “Imagining the Amateur : The Musical Conservatory Movement in Ontario, 1887-1919”
Alison Norman (Toronto): “‘A teacher to her people’: Aboriginal teachers in Southern Ontario”
Sara Spike (Carleton): “‘Observers in training’: Phenological Reporting and Rural Vision in Late Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Century Nova Scotia”

10:30 – 12:00
Creating the Canadian State : Mid-Nineteenth Century Governance 
Location: (Waterloo) MC 4045
Facilitator: Roberta Lexier (Mount Royal University)
Daniel Heidt (Western): “‘First Among Equals’: Ontario Federalism, 1864-1872”
Joanna Pearce (York): “Not For Alms But Help : Free Education for the Blind in Nova Scotia, 1873-1882”
Peter Price (Queen’s): “An ‘immorality’ or ‘modern doctrine’? Changing the nature of national allegiance in the Canadian Naturalization Act, 1881”
Daniel Simeone (McGill): “Moral Risk and Commercial Uncertainty : The Bankruptcy and Insolvency Debate in 1840s to 1890s Canada”

10:45 – 12:15 
10D – Border Crossings
Location: TBA
Julia M. Wright: “The Outsider National Tale: Irish Romantic Writers on the French Wars of Religion”
Mélissa LeBlanc: “Longfellow’s Legacy: Evangeline across National and Linguistic Borders”
Leslie Allin: “‘My blunt way of writing’: The efficacy of the pen and narratives of masculine imperialism in Haggard’s King Solomon’s Mines

10:45 – 12:15
10F – The Technologies of Victorian Studies
Organizer: Jennifer Esmail
Location: TBA
Susan Brown (Guelph and Alberta): “Grace Aguilar’s ‘Lady Gresham’s Fete’: Female Commodification, the Annual and Technologies of the Visual”
Sherrin Berezowsky (Western Ontario): “Neo-Victorian Knitting: Print Technology and the Refashioning of the Past”
Eddy Kent (Alberta): “Collaboration in Victorian Studies: An Ecological Approach to the Emergence of New Interpretive Communities”

10:45 – 12:15
10G – Timely Interventions
Location: TBA
Jason Camlot: “Generic Transposition in Blackwood’s Criticism, 1825-1835″
Victoria Lamont: “The Cowboys vs. the Dentists: The Regional Struggle for the Popular Western, 1902-1920”

12:15 to 1:20: 19th Century
Christianity and Literature Study Group
Location: TBA
Chair: Michael John Di Santo (Algoma)
Heather Jones (Fraser Valley):  “Wisdom Literature and Protestant Poetry: The Book of Psalms, Milton, and Charles Heavysege’s Sonnets”
D. M. R. Bentley (Western): “Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s Painter Pictures, Robert Browning’s ‘Art-Poems,’ and the End of Pre-Raphaelitism”


1:30 – 3:00
11E – Victorian Shattered Nerves
Location: TBA
Melissa Walker: “There, there, drink your milk: Nervousness, the Case Study, and Self-Help in Ella Hepworth Dixon’s The Story of a Modern Woman
Margaret Anne Young: “‘Phantom Life’: Spectralization, Women, and the Gothic”
Ada Sharpe: “No ‘dull list of words’: North and South‘s Paratextual and Metafictional Claims for a British Tradition of Women’s Writing”

1:30 – 3:00
Ethnicity and Religion in Turn of the 20th Century in North America
Location: (Waterloo) MC 2034
Facilitator: Royden Loewen (Winnipeg)
Ashleigh Androsoff (Toronto): “Citizenship at the Crossroads : Non-Citizens and Nation-Building in Turn of the Century Canada”
Benjamin Bryce (York): “On the Borders of North America : German Lutheran Space,
Transnationalism, and Community, 1880-1930”
Cornelius Jaenen (Ottawa): “Catholicism and Belgian Immigration to Western Canada, 1880-1960”

1:30 – 3:00
Women, Power and Colonial Society in the Nineteenth Century
Location: (Waterloo) MC 2054
Facilitator: Melanie Newton (Toronto)
Laura Ishiguro (University College, London): “British women and Anglo-Indian military communities on the late nineteenth-century Northwest Frontier”
Meleisa Ono-George (Warwick): “Women, Sex and Freedom : ‘Illicit’ Sex in Post-Emancipation Antigua”
Adele Perry (Manitoba): “Free Women of Colour in early Nineteenth Century Guyana”

1:30 – 3:00
Taxing the Working Man in Georgian and Victorian Canada
Location: (Waterloo) MC 4045
Facilitator: Lynne Taylor (Waterloo)
Jeffrey L. McNairn (Queen’s): “Contribution and Consent : Statute Labour and Governance in Upper Canada”
Colin Grittner (McGill): “Working at the crossroads : statute labour, manliness, and electoral franchise on Victorian Prince Edward Island”
Elsbeth Heaman (McGill): “Taxation at Point-Blank Range in mid-Victorian British Columbia”

2:30 – 4:00
Questions of Religion
Chair: Paul Morris
Location: (Waterloo) Hagey Hall 2107
Anna Makolkin (Frank Iacobucci Centre for Italian Canadian Studies, University of Toronto): “The Biblical Past in the 19th-century Historical Opera: Verdi/Solera’s Nabucco
Uzma Qazi (Centre for Comparative Literature, University of Alberta): “Crossroads and Crosscurrents in Iqbal”

3:00 – 5:00 
Authors, Editors, and Publishers
Location: (Waterloo) J.R. Coutts Engineering Lecture Hall 307
Chair: Sandra Alston (University of Toronto)
Frederick David King (University of Western Ontario): “Inverting the Ideal Book: Charles Ricketts, Aubrey Beardsley, and Queer Textuality”
Elizabeth Willson Gordon (Simon Fraser University): “The Unknown History of the Hogarth Press: 1941 to the Present”
Lise Jaillant (University of British Columbia): “‘I’m Afraid I’ve Got Involved with a Nut’: William Faulkner, James Culpepper and Random House”
Chris Fox (University of Victoria): “Editing in Literary Diversity: Barbara Kuhne Re-visions Press Gang’s Publishing”

Tuesday, 29 May

10:45 – 12:15
13B – Victorian Hesitations: Indeterminacy in Language, Art, and Politics
Location: TBA
Organizers: Fiona Coll and Constance Crompton
Lesley Higgins (York): “‘Holy, wholly, hesitant’: The ‘wreck’ of the Speaker in Hopkins’s Poetry”
Letitia Henville (Toronto): “‘Untranslatable Eyes’:  Indeterminacy in Jude the Obscure
Martin Danahay (Brock): “‘Are We not Animals?’: Indeterminacy and Biopower in The Island of Dr. Moreau

Wednesday, 30 May

10:40 – 12:00
Women Writers and Readers
Location: (Waterloo) J.R. Coutts Engineering Lecture Hall 305
Chair: Kathryn Carter (Laurier)
Comment: Isabelle Lehuu (UQAM)
Leah Knight (Brock): “Uncertainty in the History of Reading: A Case Study of Method”
Cecily Devereux (Alberta): “‘This little Work’: The Uncertain World of Pre-Confederation Poetry Monographs by Women in Canada”

Summary of 2012 VSAO Evening Lecture

Jennifer Esmail (Wilfrid Laurier University)

“‘I wonder what a chimpanzee would say to this?’:
Primate Cognition in the Victorian Evolutionary Debates”

7 March 2012, University College, University of Toronto

Professor Esmail’s talk focused on how Victorian responses to the debates about evolution attended to the potential, or imagined, cognitive capacities of apes. She argued that at a time when qualities such as reason or speech were culturally understood as the barrier between humans and animals, ape abilities became a “battleground” for the evolutionary debates that involved Victorians in a range of disciplines from scientists like Charles Darwin, George J. Romanes and T.H. Huxley, to animal activists including Frances Power Cobbe and Henry Salt, to fiction writers such as Rudyard Kipling and H.G. Wells. Whether these Victorians were focused on the differences between the physical attributes of each species’ brain structure, the potential ability of apes to use language or the ethical implications of similarities between humans and apes, they rhetorically drew on ape capacities – and often, an ape’s imagined perspective – in order to “support their own ideological positions on evolutionary theory and, more widely, on animal-human relations.” Indeed, all of these cultural discussions responded to Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection by imagining the potential ethical responsibilities that hinged on closer human-animal relations.