May 2021 Newsletter

Greetings fellow Victorianists!

I hope you are well wherever you are and getting a chance to enjoy the merry month of May, even in this difficult time. The VSAO has been active since the start of 2021.

In January, we held our first ever online VSAO Winter Evening Lecture. Simon Grennan, Roger Sabin, and Julian Waite presented a wonderful talk on the pioneering Victorian cartoonist Marie Duval. The talk, held as a Zoom meeting, was very well attended, and we had a terrific discussion after Simon, Roger, and Julian’s presentation. Be sure to get a copy of their newest book, Marie Duval: Maverick Victorian Cartoonist (Manchester University Press, 2020):

As well, you can check out The Marie Duval Archive, a free image archive of Duval’s known work, created by Simon, Roger, and Julian, at

In April, our Annual Spring Conference was held as a webinar, owing to continuing COVID restrictions. The conference this year, “Light in Dark Places: Victorian Animals and Human Interventions,” was held via Zoom, and featured four fabulous papers: Sandy Burnley (Michigan State University), “And Say the Animal Responded? Lewis Carroll’s Unsympathetic Exchanges”; Joanna Holliday (York University), “Fleecing the Flocks for Profit and Patriotism”; Matthew Rowlinson (Western University), “Towards a Theory of Species-Lyric: Darwin, Swinburne, Biopolitics”; and Asha Hornsby (Queen Mary University and UCL), “The Pen and the Scalpel: Representations of Painful Vivisection in Victorian Britain.” The papers encompassed a wide diversity of approaches and topics, even within the rubric of Victorian animal studies, and a lively discussion during the virtual sherry hour followed the presentations.

Our upcoming events include the two joint VSAO ACCUTE “Eco-Victorian” panels at Congress 2021, hosted by the University of Alberta this year. The panels will take place online on May 31st at 9 am Mountain Time (11 am ET) and 11 am Mountain Time (1 pm ET) Please see details below:


Chairs: Emily Rothwell, Carleton University, and Lin Young, Queen’s University


Marielle Lippmann, LARCA, University of Paris, “Terraforming England: Richard Jefferies’s Shifting Landscapes”

Alyce Soulodre, Queen’s University, “‘A land of swamps and evil things and dead old shadows’: Menacing Mires and Victorian Masculinity in H. Rider Haggard’s She and Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Hound of the Baskervilles

Molly Dawe, University of Toronto, “Folklore, Myth, and Ecological Forgetting in George Eliot’s Adam Bede

Jeffrey Swim, Western University, “Victorian Eco-Pagan Legacies: Richard Jefferies’ After London and the Future Swamp of Modernity”


Chairs: Emily Rothwell, Carleton University, and Lin Young, Queen’s University


Michelle Elleray, University of Guelph, “‘Whirling through North and South’: Faith in Victorian Atmospheric Science”

Nahmi Lee and Thomas Stuart, Western University, “Pictures and Fancies: Lizzie Hexam and the Thames’s Affective Flow”

Joanna Holliday, York University, “Tides and Transformations: The Narrative Ecology of the River in News from Nowhere by William Morris.”

The panels are open to members of ACCUTE only. For information on ACCUTE, please go to

To register for the conference, please visit