Beyond the Victorian and Modernist Divide
Lieu : Maison de l'Université, Université de Rouen - University of France
March, 27-28 2014, Rouen University
Beyond the Victorian and Modernist Divide
Professor Michael Bentley, University of St. Andrews
Professor Melba Cuddy-Keane, University of Toronto
Professor Hélène Aji, Paris West University Nanterre La Défense
Professor Catherine Lanone, Université Paris Sorbonne Nouvelle
Professor Laura Marcus, University of Oxford
Thursday March 27, Friday March 28 2014
Faculté des Lettres et Sciences Humaines
Maison de l’Université
2, place Émile Blondel, 76821 Mont-Saint-Aignan
This conference aims at challenging traditional periodisation by examining the existence of overlaps and unexplored continuities between the Victorians, the post-Victorians and the modernists from a broad range of perspectives across the disciplines.
We wish to particularly thank all the members of the scientific committee for their help:
Professor Catherine Bernard, Paris-Diderot-Paris-7 University
Professor Myriam Boussahba-Bravard, Paris-Diderot-Paris-7 University
Professor Isabelle Gadoin, University of Poitiers
Professor Elena Gualtieri, University of Groningen, Netherlands
Professor Catherine Lanone, University of Paris III-Sorbonne Nouvelle
Professor Laura Marcus, University of Oxford
Professor Christine Reynier, Paul-Valéry University, Montpellier III
We also want to thank Maxime Angot for devising the poster and program.
Photographie: © Carroll-Purton-Photography
Ezra Pound’s injunction to “make it new!” or Virginia Woolf’s “on or about 1910” statement have long been used in order no support a version of modernism as a strictly aesthetic revolution — or crisis — implying an essential break with Victorian art, culture and ideology. In the last decade, however, the crucial transition between the nineteenth and twentieth centuries has been variously reassessed. In the wake of the new modernist studies and of the recent revaluations of the Victorian period, a growing body of scholarship now challenges traditional periodisation by examining the existence of overlaps and unexplored continuities between the Victorians, the post-Victorians and the modernists. Once separated by a critical and cultural break, Victorian and modernist scholars have become preoccupied with a similar search for cultural and aesthetic complexities that make it possible to move beyond doxic discourses and fixed dichotomies: the past and the present, outer life and inner life, materiality and spirituality, tradition and innovation, ideology and aesthetics.
This international conference would like those scholars to join forces and contribute to this new phase in the Victorian-modern debate from a broad range of perspectives across the disciplines: literature, criticism, the visual arts, history, science and philosophy. The emergence or re-emergence of ideas such as the “modern”, the “new” or “change” at the turn of the century is an indisputable fact that we want to acknowledge and re-contextualize by examining the different meanings and practices they encompass. From there, we wish to explore the birth and perpetration of two critical meta-narratives and their interdependence: the myth of “high modernism” and the myth of “Victorianism”. If there is no clear repudiation of history and heritage on the modernists’ part, if “rupture” was a useful fiction, if the challenge to traditional aesthetics and ideology was already a Victorian preoccupation, then we definitely need to remap modernism and Victorianism simultaneously.
The papers that we call for are meant to contribute to a trans-disciplinary publication whose synopsis could be the following, although it is far from being fixed.
I- Periods, words, labels: historicizing and contextualizing the idea of the “break”
II- Victorian, Edwardian and modernist literature: unexplored lines of filiation
III- Art history, aesthetic philosophy and the visual arts across the Victorian/Modernist divide
IV- Science, philosophy, ideology: landmarks for a new history of ideas
V- New approaches to identity, gender and the self: from mid-Victorians to modernist ideologies and practices.
Pr Catherine Bernard, University Paris-Diderot — France, XXth-century literature and art
Dr. Anne Besnault-Levita, University of Rouen — France, British Modernism, genre and gender studies
Pr Michael Bentley, Université of St. Andrews — UK, XIXth-century and early XXth-century British politics
Pr Myriam Boussahba-Bravard, Université Paris Diderot — Paris 7, France, XIXth-century social and political history, women’s history and gender history
Pr. Laurent Bury, University of Lyon 2 – France, XIXth-century literature and visual arts, President of the Société Française d’Etudes Victoriennes et Edouardiennes (S.F.E.V.E.)
Pr Melba Cuddy-Keane, University of Toronto — Canada, modernism, narratology, globalism/internationalism, and book history/print culture
Dr Stefano Evangelista, University of Oxford— UK, XIXth-century English literature, comparative literature, Aestheticism and Decadence, gender and visual culture
Pr Isabelle Gadoin, University of Poitiers — France, XIXth-century literature, art history and visual arts
Pr Elena Gualtieri, University of Groningen — Netherlands, modern English literature and culture, visual arts
Dr Anne-Florence Gillard-Estrada, University of Rouen — France, XIXth-century English literature, art criticism and visual arts, Aestheticism and Decadence
Pr Catherine Lanone, University of Paris 3 — France, XIXth-century and literature
Pr Laura Marcus, New College, Oxford — UK, XIXth- and XXth-century literature and culture
Dr Philippe Vervaecke, University of Lille 3 – France, XIXth- and XXth-century social and political history
Armstrong, Tim, Modernism, Technology, and the Body: A Cultural Study, Cambridge, Cambridge UP, 1998.
— Modernism: a Cultural History, Cambridge: Polity Press, 2005.
Bentley Michael, “The Evolution and Dissemination of Historical knowledge,” The Organisation of Knowledge in Victorian Britain, ed. Martin Daunton, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2005, 173-198.
— Modernizing England’s Past: English Historiography in the Age of Modernism, 1870-1970, Cambridge, Cambridge UP, 2005.
Blakeney-Williams, Louise. Modernism and the Ideology of History: Literature, Politics, and the Past, Cambridge (GB), Cambridge University Press, 2002.
Bullen, J. B. ed., Writing and Victorianism, London and New York, Longman, 1997.
Chapman, Raymond, The Sense of the Past in Victorian Literature, Beckenham (Kent), Croom Helm Ltd, 1986.
Cuddy-Keane, Melba, Adam Hammond and Alexandra Peat, Modernism: Keywords, Wiley-Blackwell (forthcoming).
Culler, Arthur Dwight, The Victorian Mirror of History, New Haven and London, Yale University Press, 1985.
Feldman, Jessica R., Victorian Modernism: Pragmatism and the Varieties of Aesthetic Experience, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2002.
Heyck, Thomas William, The Transformation of Intellectual Life in Victorian England, Beckenham (Kent), Croom Helm, 1982.
Huyssen, Andreas, After the Great Divide: Modernism, Mass Culture, Postmodernism, Bloomington (Ind.), Indiana University Press, 1986.
Kaplan, Carol M., and Ann B. Simpson eds., Seeing Double: Revisioning Edwardian and Modernist Literature, New York, St. Martin’s press, 1996.
Longenbach, James, Modernist Poetics of History: Pound, Eliot and the Sense of Past, Princeton, NJ, Princeton University Press, 1987.
Keen, Suzanne, Victorian Renovations of the Novel: Narrative Annexes and the Boundaries of Representation, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1998.
Maxwell, Catherine, “Atmosphere and absorption: Swinburne, Eliot, Drinkwater”, in Algernon Charles Swinburne: Unofficial Laureate, eds. Catherine Maxwell and Stefano Evangelista, Manchester University Press, 2013.
Meisel, Perry, The Absent Father: Virginia Woolf and Walter Pater, New Haven; London, Yale University Press, 1980.
Parejo Vadillo, Ana, Women Poets and Urban Aestheticism: Passengers of Modernity, New York, Palgrave Macmillan, 2005.
Prettejohn, Elizabeth, Art for Art’s Sake: Aestheticism in Victorian Painting, Yale University Press, 2007.
—“From Aestheticism to Modernism, and Back Again”, Interdisciplinary Studies in the Long Nineteenth Century, 19, n° 2, May 2006.
Ross, Stephen, Modernism and Theory: A Critical Debate, London, Routledge, 2009.
Smith, A and J. Wallace eds., Gothic Modernisms, New York, Palgrave, 2001.
Zemgulys, Andrea, Modernism and the Locations of Literary Heritage, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2008.
Photographie: © Carroll-Purton-Photography
March, 27-28 2014, Rouen University
Beyond the Victorian and Modernist Divide
Professor Michael Bentley, University of St. Andrews
Professor Melba Cuddy-Keane, University of Toronto
Thursday March 27, Friday March 28 2014
Faculté des Lettres et Sciences Humaines
Maison de l’Université
2, place Émile Blondel, 76821 Mont-Saint-Aignan
Thursday, March 27th 2014
9.45-10.45 Keynote Speaker: Michael Bentley (University of St. Andrews): Thoughts on Historical Modernism
Chair: Géraldine Vaughan (University of Rouen)
Salle de Conférence
10.45-11.00 Coffee break
Plenary session: History, gender and culture across the generations
Chair: Michael Bentley (University of St. Andrews)
Salle de Conférence
11.00-11.30 Jana Funke (University of Exeter): Sexual Science, Modernism and the Politics of Anti-Victorianism
11.30-12.00 Kathryn Holland (MacEwan University, Canada): Lines of Filiation: The Multigenerational Literary Family in Later Victorian and Modernist Cultures
12.00-12.30 Anne Besnault-Levita (University of Rouen) : Gothic Modernism: Re-thinking History, Genre and Gender beyond the divide
12.30-14.00 Lunch (Maison de l’Université)
14.00-15.30 Parallel Sessions
Panel 1: The Legacy of Decadence
Chair: Anne-Florence Gillard-Estrada (University of Rouen)
Salle des Associations -2e étage
14.00-14.30 Sondeep Kandola (Liverpool John Moores University): Decadent Hauntings in the writings of D. H. Lawrence
14.30-15.00 Michael Shaw (University of Glasgow): The Decadent Origins of Modernism: Reconsidering the Relationship between Decadence and Nationalism
15.00-15.30 Alex Murray (University of Exeter): Decadence Revisited: Evelyn Waugh and the Afterlife of the 1890s
Panel 2: Within and beyond the private sphere
Chair : Catherine Lanone (Université Paris Sorbonne Nouvelle)
Salle divisible Nord
14.00-14.30 Eric Bennett (Providence College, Rhode Island): What Maisie (and the Other Children) Knew
14.30-15.00 María Casado Villanueva (Nesna University College, Norway): The inescapability of the Victorian nursery: Representations of Childhood in the writings of Katherine Mansfield
15.00-15.30 Jill Galvan (Ohio State University): New Realism and the Probing of the Marriage Plot
15.30-16.00 Coffee break
Plenary session: Victorian influences and proto-modernism
Chair: Isabelle Gadoin (University of Poitiers)
Salle de Conférence
16.00-16.25 Georges Letissier (University of Nantes): Between the “English nuvvle” and the “novel of Aloofness”: Charles Dickens’s Proto-(High) Modernism
16.25-16.50 Jaine Chemmachery (Université Paris 1–Sorbonne): Kipling’s and Maugham’s Colonial Short Stories: Experiencing “Modernistically” with Language and Temporality
16.50 -17.10 Break/discussion
Plenary session: Unexplored continuities: music, poetry, and rhythm
Salle de Conférence
Chair: Claire Joubert (University Paris-8)
17.10-17.35 Frances Dickey (University of Missouri): Musical Genres in Victorian and Modernist Poetry
17.35-18.00 Laura Marcus (University of Oxford): “Rhythm and the measures of the modern”
18.15-20.00 Coktail (Maison de l’Université)
Restaurant le Rouennais – 21.00
Friday, March 28th 2014
Plenary session: Visual Arts across the Divide
Chair: Catherine Bernard (Paris-Diderot-Paris-7 University)
Salle de Conférence
10.09.30-10.30 Anne-Florence Gillard-Estrada (University of Rouen): The paradoxical untimeliness of some “Aesthetic” Painters
10.30-11.00 Maxime Leroy (Université de Haute-Alsace, Mulhouse): Connecting Lines: Book Illustration across the Victorian/Modernist Divide
11.00-11.30 Coffee Break
11.30-12.30 : Keynote Speaker : Professor Melba Cuddy-Keane (University of Toronto) : Keywords as Memory Palimpsests: From Multiple Histories to Flexible Futures
Chair: Laura Marcus (University of Oxford)
Salle de Conférence
12.30-14.00 Lunch (Maison de l’Université)
14.00-15.30 Parallel Session (Salle divisible Sud)
Panel 1: Virginia Woolf before and after
Chair: Anne Besnault-Levita (University of Rouen)
Salle divisible Sud
14.00-14.30 Marie Laniel (Université de Picardie – Jules Verne): “Reading the two things at the same time”: Virginia Woolf’s Victorian Modernism in To the Lighthouse
14.30-15.00 Marina Poisson (ENS Lyon): George Meredith: a Victorian moderni(st)? Style, gender and fiction
15.00-15.30 Catherine Lanone (Université Paris Sorbonne Nouvelle): Pinning down gender: Virginia Woolf and Victorian Entomology
Panel 2: Remapping modernism and Victorianism from an international perspective
Chair : Anne-Laure Tissut (University of Rouen)
Salle divisible Nord
14.00-14.30 Emily Coit (Worcester College, Oxford): “I know it’s not because I’m getting old”: Edith Wharton and the Problem of Periodization
14.30-15.00 Anna Antonowicz (John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin, Poland): Pioneers of the Modern Movement: From the Cole Circle to Walter Gropius
15.00-15h30 Hélène Aji (Paris West University Nanterre La Défense) : “A poem containing history”: Ezra Pound’s Containment of Historical Contingency
Plenary session: Old selves, new selves: before and after the Great War
Chair : Melba Cuddy Keane
Salle de Conférence
16.00-16.25 Bénédicte Coste (University of Burgundy): “Unfamiliar old selves? John Middleton Murry, the Victorians and the moderns
16.25-16.50 Charlotte Jones (University College London): “A temporary state of mind”: an impression of war in the work of May Sinclair
16.50-17.10 Break / discussion
Plenary session: Bridging the gap: “currents”, “streams” and influences
Chair : Melba Cuddy Keane
Salle de Conférence
17.10-17.35 LeeAnne M. Richardson (Georgia State University, USA): Currents of Art and Streams of Consciousness: Charting the Edwardian Novel
17.35-18.00 Aakanksha Virkar-Yates (University of Sussex): Emotion in Art across the Victorian / Modernist Divide: T. S. Eliot and Schopenhauer
End of the Conference
Photographie: © Carroll-Purton-Photography
Beyond the Victorian and Modernist Divide
Université de Rouen
Thursday March 27th and Friday 28th 2013
List of participants
Michael Bentley (University of St. Andrews): Thoughts on Historical Modernism
Melba Cuddy-Keane (University of Toronto): Keywords as Memory Palimpsests: From Multiple Histories to Flexible Futures
Hélène Aji (Paris West University Nanterre La Défense) : “A poem containing history”: Ezra Pound’s Containment of Historical Contingency
At least two major contradictions inform Ezra Pound’s projections of tradition, which are powerfully evidenced in the ambivalent relations he establishes with his immediate predecessors. Whereas he starts out advocating a specifically American tradition—to be uncovered or made up—as well as a specifically American form for the poem, he does not seem willing to acknowledge European or American influences and directs his readers toward Asia for the poetic sources of his ground-breaking Imagism. Accordingly he lays emphasis on the need for radical innovation and a break from the modes of Romanticism, which in his essays, he derides at leisure.
This prescribed outlook on literary history has dominated criticism and led to the very notion of a Modernist age, indeed opened up by such poets as Ezra Pound, or William Carlos Williams, one which according to Marjorie Perloff in 21st-Century Modernism, is not yet over. It is this idea of a wholly new era to begin in the 1910s, a kind of Modernist divide divorcing modernity from the tactics of the Romantic age, which this paper will consider, especially by trying to read through the layers of the Modernist intertext to its poetic claims of didacticism, commitment and intellectual leadership.
The impulse to generate controlling master narratives for a different historical age might then be seen as an attempt to regain control over the uncertainties of historical contingency that the Romantic age had attempted to integrate.
Anna Antonowicz (John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin, Poland): Pioneers of the Modern Movement: From the Cole Circle to Walter Gropius
In 1936, the German modernist art historian Nikolaus Pevsner published Pioneers of the Modern Movement: From William Morris to Walter Gropius, a book that is vital to the topic of the conference for two important reasons: it undermined the rigidity of concept of “the Victorian/Modernist Divide,” and it put forward a most interesting vision of connections and interconnections across the Victorian and Modernist epochs that, though firm and bold, open up space for possible negotiations.
Firstly, Pioneers testifies to the fact that the Victorian/Modernist Divide was being questioned at the time of High Modernism, and this by a fervent enthusiast of the Modernist style (Pevsner’s mission was to promote Modernism in every field, and particularly in architecture and design). What is more, Pevsner was famous for his highly critical attitude toward Victorian architecture and design, claiming that these were “crude, vulgar, and overloaded with ornament”, because “just about everything” was made to satisfy “an uneducated public, a public with either too much money and no time or with no money and no time.” That he wrote a book in which he claimed William Morris, the leading Victorian art critic, designer, and founder of the Arts and Crafts Movement, as a hero of the Modern Movement, is perhaps unexpected. While the book predictably points to Morris’s devotion to historicism, and to the Middle Ages and handicrafts as typical nineteenth-century prejudices, it on the whole presents the Movement of the 1860s to the 1880s as leading towards Bauhaus and as marking “the beginning of a new era in Western Art.”
This paper will question Pevsner’s location of the “beginning” of the bridge between the Victorian and Modernist design principles and production. I aim to push the chain of pioneers back a decade further than did Pevsner, to the British 1850s, the decade of the Decorative Reform and the Cole circle (Henry Cole, Richard Redgrave, Owen Jones, Gottfried Semper). Rather than there being a linear development between them, William Morris and John Ruskin were at odds with the Reform’s ideals, particularly with the circle’s devotion to mass production, industrialization, non-mimetic representation and the wish for the new, modern style in design. These were exactly the ideals that divided Morris and Gropius, but which make the Reformers’ claims resonate well with the 1923 Bauhaus slogan, “Art into Industry.” Thus they point to the Cole circle as the missing first heroes of the Modern Movement.
Eric Bennett (Providence College, USA): What Maisie (and the Other Children) Knew
Did certain poets and novelists, starting in the 1890s, initiate an attack on the reduction, in scientific and philosophical accounts, of life as lived? This is a familiar organizing principle for modernists. The plausible genealogy leads from the anti-intellective philosophizing of Henri Bergson to the concrete poetics of T. E. Hulme and Ezra Pound to the empirically abject fictions of Gertrude Stein and Ernest Hemingway. Abstraction, in scientific analysis (the units under the integrated curve; the idea of a horse in contrast to the living horse) and abstraction in social discourse (the idealistic reductions of “rhetoric,” of approximate public language) do violence, according to this line of thinking, to the uninterrupted continuity of duration and experience. Adverbs become bugbears, Chinese ideograms a Shangri-la. The imagist poem captures unprecedented precision and discreteness; Aldington trumps Tennyson.
Chief among novelists, Marcel Proust investigates the virtues and limitations of habitual intellection and echoes the Bergsonian idea that true apprehension depends on escaping habitual patterns. He denigrates (in the Moncrieff translation) “voluntary memory, the memory of the intellect,” which “preserve nothing of the past itself.” The protagonist of Á la recherche du temps perdu famously breaks free through eating his madeleine in a decoction of lime-blossom. Yet the freshness of memory that he achieves is nothing more than the freshness of consciousness of the child he once was. He sees and feels again as he felt and saw when his senses were new. And what that child attains in perception is an intermingling between emotion and perception, imagination and material reality, that is, in fact, nothing very new to literature.
No novelist would have a harder time shucking off his Victorian designation than Charles Dickens; and no novelist has ever done such justice to little kids. In book after book Dickens enters into the nightmarish porousness of the juvenile imagination. In the opening pages of Great Expectations, the church, not Pip, flips upside down; Magwitch, fleeing through the brambles, looks “as if he were eluding the hands of the dead”; and our hero wakes the next morning to see “the damp lying on my window, as if some goblin had been crying there all night.” Hard Times conjoins such childlike imaginative perceptions with an attack on the industrial order: Coketown emerges in visual vividness through metaphors of savages and serpents and elephants. Behold two of a thousand examples.
This paper posits that the poetics of youthful consciousness transcends the Victorian/Modernist distinction; it sets the bedrooms of Proust—his “strange and pitiless rectangular cheval-glass”—against the bedrooms of Dickens; the inventions of Lewis Carroll against the Inventions of the March Hare (T. S. Eliot); and the child characters of Henry James the Victorian against the child characters of Henry James the modernist. It argues that the shift in eras involves permutation and intensification rather than rupture.
Anne Besnault-Levita (University of Rouen): Gothic Modernism: Re-thinking History, Genre and Gender beyond the divide
María Casado Villanueva (Nesna University College (Norway): The inescapability of the Victorian nursery: Representations of Childhood in the writings of Katherine Mansfield
This paper addresses the question of the weight of Victorian tradition in Modernist writing focusing on the image of the child projected in the work of Katherine Mansfield. Some critics have disregarded the relevance of this topic during the modernist period: “Modernism in its peculiar aloofness from childhood makes an island between Victorian sentimentality of the Golden Age and postmodern interest in children” (Hodgkins 2007: 357). However, the theme occupies a central position in the work of Mansfield, and the portrayal of childhood reflected in her early writing seems to stem from a characteristically Victorian conception of the child. The vast majority of Mansfield’s juvenilia (poems, stories and sketches) deal with childhood themes. She tends to idealize the child’s imagination, portraying it as a terrain populated by fairy-like creatures, reminiscent of Victorian children’s literature.
This paper examines the image of the child as projected in a number of such texts but also seeks to track a progressive development of the author’s fiction towards a more complex representation of the child and a characteristically modernist interest in psychological inquire (Hankin, 1994). A number of Mansfield’s more mature narratives deal directly with the experience of little children, and she often draws on her own childhood memories for these accounts. The child’s vision provides, in later narratives, an ideal discontinuous perspective to narrate the fragmentariness of experience. In this sense, however, the potential influence of childhood readings in the work of the modernists has also been emphasized: “Radical experiments in the arts in the early modern period began in the books which Lewis Carroll and his successors wrote for children” (Dusinberre 1987: 5). Moreover, despite innovative transformations, the Victorian image of the child as morally superior to the adult and faced with the harshness of an increasingly modernized and money-ridden world tends to prevail in Mansfield’s narratives. My paper provides an exploration of this intertextual dialogue, thus revaluating Mansfield’s Modernism and her debt to Victorian aesthetics.
Jaine Chemmachery (University of Paris 1 – Sorbonne): “Kipling’s and Maugham’s Colonial Short Stories: Experiencing “Modernistically” with Language and Temporality”
Maugham and Kipling can be respectively seen as para and proto-modernists in so far as their short stories on empire both experiment with language, in their respective ways, and temporality in a manner that has often been seen as modernist. Some of Kipling’s later stories have been said to be proto-modernist but his early Anglo-Indian tales in the 1880s already were as they experimented with ‘stream of consciousness’ or narrative polyphony. Maugham’s interwar colonial stories display fewer poetic innovations but they appropriate thematically modernist preoccupations such as the end of empire, gender and identity, and the explosion of the Victorian family model. Both authors’ productions still keep strong connections with the Victorian tradition, be it through Kipling’s attachment to nationalist issues involving the relation between England and its colonies or to the Victorian tale or Maugham’s rather poetic conservatism.
Kipling’s and Maugham’s stories on empire also stage colonials who experience modern temporality as a disjunction. While Kiplingian poetics of empire involves temporal acceleration or deceleration through the depiction of either young administrators feeling already old or of colonials behaving as children under the protection of their motherly wives, Maugham’s stories make it plain that two modernities, metropolitan modernity and colonial modernity, can never intersect as in “The Outstation” (1924) where the English hero gets the metropolitan press with a six-week delay in Borneo and insists on reading his papers chronologically. A singular metropolitan time and modernity is thus created.
I would like to articulate this reflection on temporality with both the modernist short story and an approach of modernity drawing on cultural studies. In Uncanny Modernity (2008), John Jervis contends that modernity is spectral, i.e. never to be equated with or superimposed to itself. I wish to suggest that the experience of time in modernity as anti-teleological, which has been often dealt with in modernist literary works, goes against the modern tendency to organise time according to chronological sequencing and patterns. Therefore, Jervis’s contention about the spectrality of modernity offers an interesting lens through which multiple temporality in Maugham’s and Kipling’s short stories can be read as well as it makes it possible to re-examine the treatment of time in modernist short stories.
Emily Coit: “I know it’s not because I’m getting old”: Edith Wharton and the Problem of Periodization
Edith Wharton (1862-1937) was a novelist contemporary with and yet notoriously “apart from” modernism. Deeply invested in the social, political, and artistic structures that modernism often sought to explode, Wharton consistently hailed nineteenth-century novelists as her primary models. Her most celebrated works, moreover, take a retrospective stance that gazes back with ambivalent nostalgia upon a lost Victorian world. When a reviewer compared her unfavorably to Woolf in 1925, she protested to a friend: “I was not trying to follow the new methods… my heroine belongs to the day when scruples existed.” It is easy, then, to read Wharton as a writer who troubles the boundary between Victorian and modernist simply by persisting as a Victorian writer well into the twentieth century. But to do so is to reduce “Victorian” to a certain artistic and social decorousness, and to permit an intellectually lazy assimilation of “Victorian” with “conservative.” Jennifer Haytock suggests we can better understand Wharton’s place in the modernist era by redefining “modernism” to include conservative responses like hers. This paper suggests that such a redefinition may be beside the point: what we need to recognize first is that Wharton’s conservatism made her relation with certain strains of Victorian thought as vexed as her relation with modernism.
Just as Wharton’s critique of modernism extends beyond objections to formal experimentation, her critique of Victorian thought goes far beyond deprecation of stifling brownstone-bound marriages. Her critique of Victorian ideas, like her critique of modernist ideas, is essentially political; it is a conservative, anti-democratic (and occasionally anti-feminist) critique. In order to see it more fully, we need to read Wharton with an eye to the democratic liberal strains in Victorian thought. She encountered these strains first-hand in the men of the so-called “genteel tradition,” who dominated her publishing milieu; while much scholarship has often understood these men as anti-democratic elitists, recent revisionist work shows that they were active participants in the discourse of Anglo-American Victorian liberalism, and dedicated to democratic ideals. By reading Wharton’s The Valley of Decision (1907) with this new understanding of the novel’s discursive context, I show that her work suggests an alternative to the standard chronological periodization locked down by “Victorian” and “modernist.”
Wharton explicitly rejected the idea that time was the variable separating her from literary modernism. She wrote: “I know it’s not because I’m getting old that I’m unresponsive. The trouble with all this new stuff is that it’s à thèse: the theory comes first, & dominates it.” This critique of modernism’s dependence on abstract theory is exactly the critique that Wharton also makes of Victorian liberalism. The continuity of this critique across the periods that define literary scholarship suggests that the rupture implied by those periods can be a distorting one. Wharton herself proposes a different way of categorizing artistic practice, one defined not by chronology but by aesthetic form and its political implications.
Bénédicte Coste (University of Burgundy): “Unfamiliar old selves? John Middleton Murry, the Victorians and the moderns
“Our old selves are unfamiliar to us.” John Middleton Murry wrote in introduction to his “Sign-Seekers” article of October 1916, trying to understand the experience of the war. Which were those “old selves” the literary critic was referring to? Were they the Victorian selves Murry had disparaged when he was the editor of Rhythm and The Blue Review from 1911 to 1913, or were they the selves of the early 1910s that the war was shattering? Murry did not provide a single answer in 1916 but continued writing about the effects of the conflict in distinguished periodicals until 1919 when he collected his essays in the aptly named The Evolution of an Intellectual (1920). His essays engage in discussing the function of art and literature, the shifting value of language and ideals, the definition of civilisation, and the evolution of personal and collective beliefs. Exploring the last two decades before World War One, Murry provides fascinating insights on the origins of a new sense of identity and belonging that are usually apprehended as modern. However a part of my contention will be that he may have overlooked some continuities between the despised Victorian era and the uncertain modern times. Discussing the most recent past in his collection of essays Murry was still partly steeped in the Victorian frame of mind. His testimony, which I propose to discuss, is all the more interesting for a revision of the Victorian-Modernist divide and a contribution to defining our tasks as historians.
Frances Dickey (University of Missouri): Musical Genres in Victorian and Modernist Poetry
A pervasive cliché of literary criticism holds that modernist authors made an abrupt break with nineteenth-century culture and ideas. I challenged this view in my 2012 book, The Modern Portrait Poem: From Dante Gabriel Rossetti to Ezra Pound, which shows the deep generic continuity running from Victorian painting and poetry through the modern portrait poem. In the course of writing this book, I saw that such continuities also existed in other genres, particularly in poems titled after or taking their cue from kinds of musical pieces.
Walter Pater’s famous statement that “all arts should aspire to the condition of music” captured, and indeed guided, a musical conception of poetry in the later nineteenth century, such as in the work of Swinburne, Ernest Dowson, and Arthur Symons. Modernist poets continued to produce work in what I call the “musical genres”: T. S. Eliot began his career with “songs,” “caprices,” and “preludes,” and ended it with “quartets”; Wallace Stevens entitled many poems after works of music (“bagatelles,” “waltz,” “martial cadenza,” “hymn”); Mina Loy and William Carlos Williams composed major works called “songs”; and Ezra Pound published a book of “Canzoni” (not to mention his Cantos). While critics such as David Chinitz and Daniel Albright have explored aspects of the relationship between music and writing in the modernist period, these musical genres – and their Victorian precursors – have yet to be examined and understood.
In this conference paper I lay the groundwork for an analysis of musical genres from the nineteenth through the twentieth centuries, focusing on instrumental genres. I pay special attention to T. S. Eliot’s reception of “preludes” and other piano works through the poems of symbolist Arthur Symons (including Silhouettes, 1892; London Nights, 1895; and Amoris Victima, 1897), which contain nearly all the musical genres that can be found in Eliot’s later oeuvre. I argue that looking at genre rather than linguistic style helps illuminate fundamental continuities between Victorian and Modernist poetry.
Jana Funke (University of Exeter): Sexual Science, Modernism and the Politics of Anti-Victorianism
The relation between literary modernism and sexology or sexual science has received abundant critical attention in recent years. It is often acknowledged that literary authors who are, at best, situated at the margins of modernism, such as Radclyffe Hall or Bryher, were strongly influenced by sexological thought. It is also often assumed that literary writers who are more readily recognized as ‘high modernist’, such as Virginia Woolf, Djuna Barnes or H. D., engaged more critically with sexological thought and sought to undermine supposedly rigid sexological understandings, e.g. of sexual identity or sexual development. Underpinning such readings is the assumption that sexological ideas about sexuality and gender were outdated, backward or ‘Victorian’, and no longer had a place in more ‘progressive’ modernist debates about sexuality. In keeping with the aims of the conference as a whole, this paper seeks to challenge this dichotomous reading and the assumptions about periodisation (Victorian versus modernist) and disciplinarity (science versus literary culture) on which it relies. Indeed, the anti‐Victorianism sustaining recent scholarly debates about the relation between literary modernism and sexology obscures the fact that anti-Victorianism in and of itself needs to be recognised as a crucial point of continuation between sexual science and literary modernism. Indeed, as early as the 1890s, sexual scientists began to authorize their claims by defining themselves against a supposedly outdated and backward Victorian period from which they wished to break free. Eminent English sexologist Havelock Ellis, for instance, maintained in his book The New Spirit (1890) that the nineteenth century was a “period of repression” that was coming to an abrupt end due to recent developments in literature and science. For Ellis, and contemporaries like Karl Pearson or Edward Carpenter, the ‘new’ scientific study of sex, broadly understood as incorporating the medical, historical and literary, was one means of leaving behind this supposedly repressed past. Thus, late nineteenth‐century sexual scientists, much like later modernist writers in the 1910s and 1920s, authorized their claims about sexuality by engaging critically and self‐reflexively with historical narratives, inventing and defining themselves against a Victorian past they presented as repressed, backward and outdated. This past was manufactured and drawn upon by literary and scientific writers alike and served to legitimate a ‘progressive’ sexual knowledge and to galvanize calls for sexual reform and change. The conscious turn away from a Victorian past also raised questions about representation, e.g. of taboo subjects or repressed psycho‐sexual experiences, that were again negotiated by scientific and literary writers, often in direct interaction. Overall, the paper demonstrates that being ‘anti-Victorian’ was a key mechanism allowing both supposedly ‘Victorian’ sexual scientists and ‘modernist’ literary authors to position themselves as the purveyors of a ‘new’ sexual knowledge. In so doing, the paper explores the often-overlooked ideological and aesthetic lines of filiations connecting scientific and literary representations of sexuality in the late nineteenth‐ and early twentieth century.
Jill Galvan (Ohio State University): New Realism and the Probing of the Marriage Plot
British literary histories of the turn of the twentieth century tend to cast realism as moribund due to its focus on externalities. By these accounts, Victorian realism offered naively totalizing social representations, while (as Virginia Woolf famously declared about Arnold Bennett) Edwardian realism was over-concerned with exterior facts; in contrast were the forward currents of modernism, with its focus on interiority. Or, as scholars today sometimes grant, if realism did survive in this period, it was only because modernists subsumed and transformed it to explore the reality of consciousness within the modern world.
Yet such presumptions about realism’s self-exhaustion obscure how this mode evolved on its own terms at the turn of the century and as such contributed to modern literary developments. Moreover, these presumptions overlook realism’s own investments in interiority. The late-Victorian period witnessed a vigorous debate within the periodical press about the state of fiction, and a key term that emerged for defining what was called the period’s “new” realism—by figures like George Moore, Thomas Hardy, and George Gissing—was “analysis.” Commentators talked about the realist analysis not just of social circumstances but also of “character,” foregrounding the exploration of psychological and emotional interiority. Espousing characterological depth, realists rejected narratives that favoured mere plot, such as the adventure romance. The latter tended to formal coherence and, unlike realism, was peopled by paperboard men and women.
I argue that one genre particularly disavowed by new realists was the courtship/marriage plot, with its formulaic, romantic happy ending. Realists became interested, rather, in the complexities of what happens after the wedding, especially in depictions of problematic marriages, of which there was a sudden plethora at the turn of the century, by Moore, Gissing, Hardy, Bennett, Henry James, Sarah Grand, H.G. Wells, May Sinclair, and many others. Notably, this analytical focus on marriage was both “new” and anticipated by that towering Victorian, George Eliot, a writer known for her own probing realism. (Think of the troubled unions in Middlemarch [1871-72] and Daniel Deronda .) I propose, further, that the narrative of marital conflict co-evolved with realism—that the two were mutually informing—such that this narrative is, to this day, one of realism’s primary terrains. Marital conflict became fertile ground for realism because it offered a particularly in-depth portrait of relational interiority. That is, it satisfied modernizing realism’s drive to analyse society inseparably with character, or intricate psychologies in interaction with one another.
This paper examines, first, Gissing’s New Grub Street (1891), which focuses on both the literary marketplace and one couple’s tortured marriage. A foremost new realist, Gissing self-consciously defies the romantic marriage plot to analyse the difficulties of maintaining affective intimacy while still respecting the individual’s private psychological needs. Three decades later, Elizabeth von Arnim’s Vera (1921) represents the horrors of a marriage in which one party has no consciousness of such private needs, and in fact oppressively denies them: the husband’s ideal of complete togetherness turns his new wife’s situation into a hell of mental and emotional imprisonment.
Anne-Florence Gillard-Estrada (University of Rouen): The paradoxical untimeliness of some “Aesthetic” Painters
This paper aims at exploring the untimeliness elements in the discourse and practice of some late Victorian artists previously referred to as “Olympian” or “Neoclassical” painters and now placed within the loose category of the “Aesthetic Movement”. They operated a rupture with the painting and art discourses of their times and yet there seems to be no continuity with the Modernist avant-garde. Still, some art critics and some artists evoked the pursuit of “abstract qualities” and this paper aims at exploring a particular aspect of this: for artists such as Frederic Leighton or Albert Moore, “classic” or more precisely “Greek” forms were seen as the best way to reach “abstraction”. Many art critics (Walter Pater, Sidney Colvin, W. M. Rossetti, etc.) were also arguing then in favour of an art that would concentrate on colours, forms and lines – using a vocabulary that recalls Clive Bell’s later “significant forms”. For these art critics and painters meant first of all to effectuate an artistic, aesthetic and political rupture with their times by rejecting the didactic, historical or narrative dimensions of art in favour of poetical and imaginary suggestiveness. However, one point of rupture with Bloomsbury may be the persistence of the “human significance”, which Vanessa Bell opposes to “form and colour”. Indeed, the figurative and the human remain central to these visions – incidentally, Bell, Duncan Grant and other Bloomsbury artists could not totally discard that either. But one must pay heed to a main point of rupture with these artists’ Victorian times – the highly subversive treatment of the body, of its impulsive movements, its uncontrolled desires and its unconscious volitions besides the “abstract” forms they sought after.
Kathryn Holland (MacEwan University, Canada): “Lines of Filiation: The Multigenerational Literary Family in Later Victorian and Modernist Cultures”
Discussions of the multigenerational family frequently appear in early-twentieth-century literature. Modernist scholarship often has examined texts in which authors emphasise their rejection of their predecessors’ intellectual and aesthetic values and their embrace of alternative affiliations that broke with conventional kinship models, both social and creative. Yet developments emerged from writers’ cross-generational exchanges, in and around the family unit, that are characterized by fruitful shifts rather than full denunciations of either the past or conventional social units. The multigenerational family merits new attention as a hub within networks that spanned the Victorian and modernist periods. This paper focuses on aspects of texts by three women in London-based Strachey family: Jane Strachey (1850-1928), Dorothy Strachey Bussy (1865-1960), and Julia Strachey (1901-1979). It uses new textual evidence to analyse the ways in which authors’ cross-generational encounters contributed to multiple cultural innovations. Because each of these Strachey women developed complex (and very diverse) perspectives on feminist writing and activism, this study also considers the ways in which political discourses reflect continuities as well as tensions among women writers of the later-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries. By doing so, it charts the longstanding interplay among women in a familial, feminist context and the ways such interplay contributed to the development, or generation, of literary modernism.
This paper’s object is to show some of the ways in which intertextual relationships across generations of writers stimulated transitions from later Victorian to varied modernist principles and practices – particularly those around women’s agency. Even as women’s extra-familial communities and productions grew at a rapid pace, the extended family unit continued to matter. By investigating women’s cross-generational exchanges, new scholarship can reveal previously unrecognized patterns of debate that yielded affinities as well as resistances among writers and gave rise to their contributions to the culture of the new century.
Charlotte Jones (University College London): ‘A temporary state of mind’: an impression of war in the work of May Sinclair
The First World War is often used to locate the precise moment of Modernist rupture with the past. To many critics the conflict represents, or even initiates, the epistemological break dividing the Modernist and Victorian eras. Yet the reality of the war’s literary legacy is much more complex. This complexity is encapsulated in the work of May Sinclair, the quintessential ‘Modern Victorian’, in the words of her biographer Suzanne Raitt. Publishing novels from 1897 to 1927, Sinclair is an artist of contradictions; she was closely affiliated with early twentieth century avant-garde groups such as the Imagists and Vorticists, and was an early patron of Ezra Pound, T.S. Eliot and H.D., while at the same time remaining close friends with realist stalwarts Thomas Hardy and Arnold Bennett.
Sinclair departed for the Belgian Front as part of an ambulance corps in autumn 1914. The experience, despite lasting only two weeks, would shape her fiction for the next ten years. Having experimented before the war with a ‘proto-Modernist’ representation of interiority in The Three Sisters, she turns after the war to a more characteristically nineteenth-century mode of representation: Impressionism. Her Journal of Impressions in Belgium was one of the first war-time women’s diaries published in Britain in 1915 and I wish to propose in this paper that Sinclair explicitly engages with Impressionism as a style uniquely attuned to the fragmented post-war subject.
In particular, I wish to examine the ways in which Sinclair’s Impressionism is more than simply a ‘strategy of inwardness’ (Frederic Jameson), the abstract imprint of sensory experience on a consciousness untouched by historical conditions. At this historical juncture, such abstract detachment is impossible. The instability of Impressionist technique – the slippage its emphasis on pure sensory perception allows between real and imagined experience – offers a space to re-live and refract traumatic memory through multiple overlapping paradigms of perception: sight, imagination, memory, fictional reconstruction. In Sinclair’s Journal, the ‘impression’ actually inaugurates an ‘outward turn’ which demands that we read the practice as a dialectic between private memoir and public testimony.
It is admittedly difficult to define what exactly ‘Impressionism’ means in an artistic, let alone literary, sense, and the problem is as much temporal as taxonomical. By 1910 Roger Fry was already declaring art ‘Post-Impressionist’, while Ford Madox Ford’s first attempt to define ‘Literary Impressionism’ did not appear until 1914. Yet recent critical rehabilitation (Jesse Matz, Tamar Katz, Max Saunders, Adam Parkes) suggests that it is this very indefiniteness that has made Impressionism a useful category in smoothing the transition from Realism to Modernism. I believe the specific context of its literary resurgence requires more attention, however. Why is Literary Impressionism so closely connected with the First World War, and what does Sinclair’s specific interpretation, one of the first after Ford’s essay, illuminate about its place in the post-war development of literary technique? These questions attempt to transcend a teleological construction of literary innovation and suggest a more nuanced understanding of the inextricability of Realist and Modernist form.
Sondeep Kandola (Liverpool John Moores University): Decadent Hauntings in the writings of D. H. Lawrence
This paper reads D.H. Lawrence’s Women in Love (1920) as a novel in active dialogue with fin-de-siecle Decadence. In the early chapter ‘Moony’ Decadent tropes abound (the sinister face of the moon, white and deathly, the inviolable moon as a white body, the fragments of its reflections as tattered rose petals and Birkin as the ‘blindly envious’ male aggressor cursing Cybele), images which all tangibly resonate to the nexus of moon images present in both Oscar Wilde’s Salome (1891) and Lord Alfred Douglas’s poem ‘Impression de Nuit: London’ (1899). And yet, as this paper shows, it is significant that this early scene also recasts Decadence’s sterile account of the moon and, by extension, femininity into one of serenity and harmony. Momentarily, Lawrence animates a scene where the communion between Ursula, the female viewer, and the figurative feminine, the moon, restores physical equanimity and mental serenity, a process from which, significantly, the Decadent male (Birkin) is banished. Moreover, in the first half of the novel the powerful attraction between Birkin and Crich which promises to supersede the dissatisfying heterosexual relationships they are involved in with the Brangwen sisters also sees Lawrence reconfigure the inherently tragic vision of same-sex unions to be adduced from Decadent texts such as The Picture of Dorian Gray (1890; 1891). However, as evinced in his declaration of the previous year that ‘The people that can bring forth the new passion, the new idea, this people will endure’, Lawrence’s commitment to ‘making it new’ is, in the final instance, undercut in the novel both by the failure of this model of male fellowship and the triumph of Gudrun and Loeke’s primitivist art. Drawing on both Lawrence’s own growing personal interest in homosexual love and his undoubted pessimism about the state of post-War Europe, this paper argues that in its stark mood of cultural ennui and crisis not only is Women in Love haunted by its Decadent forebears but also ultimately fails to exorcise them.
Marie Laniel (Université de Picardie – Jules Verne): “Reading the two things at the same time”: Virginia Woolf’s Victorian Modernism in To the Lighthouse
As a modernist ars poetica coming to terms with the ghosts of a Victorian past, and “inhabiting two worlds at once” (E. M. Forster), To the Lighthouse is of paramount importance in any attempt to reassess the continuities between Victorianism and modernism. Rather than merely express ambivalent feelings of nostalgia for and emancipation from Victorianism as a set of cultural, ideological and aesthetic values, Virginia Woolf succeeded in evolving a fictional form which evokes the past and its absence simultaneously, which does not just break away with Victorianism but reflects this break as part of its own process of self-definition. Central to this project is Woolf’s art of eliciting Victorian literary recollections, by alluding to a text and to its absence at the same time, by suggesting the presence of Victorian subtexts as “la manière d’être d’une absence, une absence désignée et disponible” (Antoine Compagnon). The “steady, unquenchable light” of Carlylean luminaries, “loadstar[s]”, “blessed beacon[s], far off on the edge of far horizons” (Past and Present), guiding lesser men through “the dark of human ignorance”, is summoned only to be subverted into the flickering ray of vacillating memory in “Time Passes”. Ruskin’s Pharos from Sesame and Lilies, casting its gentle domestic light, “creating drawing-room and kitchen”, “set[ting] them all aglow”, becomes the metaphor for a new poetics of everydayness, “little daily miracles, illuminations, matches struck unexpectedly in the dark”. Leslie Stephen’s nautical imagery of shipwrecks and drowning from “An Agnostic’s Apology” becomes part of a meditation on memory and the unsuccessful attempt to salvage the past. As Woolf uses Victorian imagery to foray into new modes of writing, making the splits and gaps with the original references apparent, she turns Victorian subtexts into tropes, signs pointing simultaneously to a meaning or set of values and to its absence, metaphors evoking “two things at the same time”. The enduring significance of To the Lighthouse in the wider context of modernism seems to lie in her ability not just to enact the break with the past, but to turn Victorian imagery into a metatextual idiom pointing to its own disappearance, a process which according to Theodor Adorno is at the heart of modernity (Aesthetic Theory). While re-examining Victorian subtexts in To the Lighthouse and suggesting new lines of filiation with the writings of Thomas Carlyle, Alfred Tennyson, John Ruskin, Matthew Arnold and Leslie Stephen, the object of this paper would be to highlight the semiotics of literary recollection in Woolf’s novel and reaffirm the centrality of her “Victorian modernism”.
Catherine Lanone (Université Paris Sorbonne Nouvelle): An entomology of literature: male taxonomy and female antennae from Gaskell to Ormerod and Woolf
« An entomology of literature: male taxonomy and female antennae from Gaskell to Virginia Woolf »
This paper returns to Woolf’s portrayal of the obscure Victorian entomologist Miss Ormerod, to problematize the issue of science and gender. Ormerod establishes her reputation as an entomologist by choosing the unsavory topic of injurious insects, re-inventing herself as an authority on pragmatic economic entomology, advising farmers with her pharmakon, Paris Green, a toxic solution. Woolf’s ambivalent portrayal hovers between irony and sympathy, challenging Victorian gendered difference. The essay becomes the visual frame through which one may read Woolf’s own systematic use of moths, butterflies and insects as tropes for text, writer and the brevity of life, as well as her descent from Mrs Gaskell and George Eliot, straying from science to conceptualize the writer and text as telepathic antennae.
Maxime Leroy: (Université de Haute-Alsace, Mulhouse): Connecting Lines: Book Illustration across the Victorian/Modernist Divide
This paper will explore lines of continuity and discontinuity in book illustration. I will discuss Joseph Pennell’s Modern Illustration (1895) and The Graphic Arts—Modern Men and Modern Methods (1920), to show that the technical, aesthetic and political changes that occurred during these crucial twenty-five years did not necessarily imply shaking off the heritage of book illustrators from the 1860s and 1870s. As Pennell writes in 1920: ‘it is impossible in this world—or what was the world—to create anything new, to be original. We can only carry on. But in every art and craft the men who have carried on are called inventors, creators, original, when they are only intelligent students of the past who have advanced their art one step in their own age by adapting the work of the past to their own needs.’ I will pay special attention to authors who illustrated their own works, from Carroll’s Adventures of Alice Underground (the original 1862 version of Alice in Wonderland) to Waugh’s Decline and Fall (1928) to show connections largely ignored so far. However, I will also show that major technical improvements from the 1890s, like the photographic halftone process, led to changes in readers’ expectancies and to the paradoxical development of non-mimetic illustration (as early as 1907-1909 in the James/Coburn collaboration). I will show the dynamics of persistence and change in the art of illustration, as through the creation in 1920 of the Society of Wood Engravers by modern artists like Paul and John Nash, among others, at a time when this old technique seemed doomed to disappear.
Georges Letissier (University of Nantes): Between the “English nuvvle” and the “novel of Aloofness”: Charles Dickens’s Proto-(High) Modernism
Ford Madox Ford’s unscholarly distinction between the “English nuvvle,” i.e. “commercial […] solid three-deckers,” and the “novel of aloofness,” “rendering the world […] uttering no comments, falsifying no issues,” is probably an instance of intellectual bravado more than an attempt at rigorous literary assessment. But Ford, through his proximity with both Henry James and Joseph Conrad, is a major transitory figure in any reflection on the shift between the Victorian age – he is the grandson of the Pre-Raphaelite painter Ford Madox Brown – and Modernism – he is the famous author of The Good Soldier (1915), a much praised modernist fiction. Through his undisciplined, and somewhat amateurish exploration of English fiction, Ford also blurs any simplistic, binary dichotomy between what would pass for a reactionary Victorian age and an artistically innovative Modernist period, by enlisting writers like Meredith and Trollope amongst the representatives of the Theory of Aloofness, whilst showing that the stilted English nuvvle was to persist well into the first decades of the new twentieth century.
The aim of this paper is to argue that Charles Dickens is, to a large extent, not reducible to any easy distinction between Victorianism and Modernism, even if he is, most legitimately, considered as the canonical, paradigmatic Victorian novelist. The Dickensian influence on Modernist writers such as Joyce and T.S. Eliot has of course been investigated by critics lately, after a long period when in the wake of Henry James’s scathing comments and Leavisite New Criticism, the Inimitable was often dismissed as cheap and melodramatic. Allusions will of course be made to critics who have pointed up the Modernists’ filiations with Dickens, but our purpose will be to target more specifically the two Fordian categories of “nuvvle” and “novel of aloofness” to show how within a single fiction the Victorian writer may switch from tale-telling and parasitic, authorial intrusiveness to the sort of impersonal polyphony which was studied notably by Bakthin. Even if it is generally the late works: Bleak House, Little Dorrit and chiefly Our Mutual Friend, which are chosen as affording emblematic examples of what may be construed as Dickens’s proto-modernism, it will be argued that early instances could be picked out from The Pickwick Papers, Dickens’s first full-length fiction dating from 1836-37. This would invalidate any progressive, teleological approach to literary studies and partly justify Ford Madox Ford’s off-the-beaten-track, labyrinthine exploration of the English novel, a method also favoured by Peter Ackroyd, another iconoclastic Dickensian.
Laura Marcus (University of Oxford): Rhythm and the measures of the modern
Alex Murray (University of Exeter): Decadence Revisited: Evelyn Waugh and the Afterlife of the 1890s
This paper will map the relationship between Evelyn Waugh and the 1890s as part of the broader problem of charting the afterlives of Decadence. There is an increasing amount of work being done on the reception of Decadent writers, much of which has focussed on Wilde. Waugh’s response was idiosyncratic, but also reflected broader cultural currents: he was drawn to the modish neo-Decadence of Ronald Firbank in the early 1920s, satirised and dismissed the increasing popularity of Wilde in the late 1920s, before developing a fond, even nostalgic attitude towards 1890s aestheticism in Put Out More Flags (1942) and Brideshead Revisited (1945). These shifts reflect the broader cultural climate in which the 1890s moved from notoriety to acceptance over the first half of the twentieth century, a history that can help us to understand the ways in which we read Decadence today. Decadence is, despite the best historicist attempts, still a twentieth-century construction and it was writers like Waugh, as well the earlier generation of T.S. Eliot and Ezra Pound who were responsible for the image of an affected, effeminate Decadence that still characterises popular representations. But as the case of Waugh reveals this was not a simple rejection of the 1890s, but a continual revisiting as the period became an index for Waugh’s shifting relationship to ideas of literary fashion and aesthetic beauty. In particular, I want to suggest that Waugh’s relationship to Decadence was reflective of the development of a nostalgia for the 1890s that began around the First World War and shifted and developed before Decadence emerged as safely ‘historical’ around the time of the Second World War.
Marina Poisson: (ENS Lyon): George Meredith: a Victorian moderni(st)? Style, gender and fiction
Focusing on four novels by George Meredith, The Ordeal of Richard Feverel (1851), The Adventures of Harry Richmond (1871), The Egoist (1879), and Diana of the Crossways (1885), my paper explores the stylistic, narrative and ideologic filiations of Meredith’s writings with the modernists’. More particularly, I wish to trace a possible influence of Meredith’s texts on Virginia Woolf’s.
Even though George Meredith was often criticized for his obscure and archaic style, his writing actually proves extremely innovative, if not subversive, possibly paving the way for a modern use of language, even verging on the stream of consciousness technique. Combining an analysis of Woolf’s writings about George Meredith with a close comparative reading of Meredith’s and Woolf’s texts, Mrs Dalloway and To the Lighthouse especially, I would like to establish some important commonalities in terms of rhythm, syntax, style and genre. Meredith’s use of dashes, focalisation and voice, for instance, frequently proves more modern(ist) than Victorian.
Meredith’s concern with gender and identity also seems to be quite “modern”. I will argue that such a “new”, innovative, possibly disconcerting stance is part of the reason why Meredith gained so little fame during the Victorian era. From an ideological point of view as well, George Meredith’s novels, with their interest in social issues and their criticism of Victorian society, might have been deemed too daring. With a transgressive notion of gender, a fragmented view of the self and the world, and a disrupted sense of time, Meredith’s texts also display many Freudian aspects, including for example the first instance of a Freudian slip in a British novel.
His novels are thus characterized by instability, mainly of the ego, a refusal of chronology, and a reliance on sensation and perception rather than on descriptive realism. In this respect, the Meredithian text represents rejection of the traditional novel form, with its emphasis on mimesis and linear time. The Meredithian text already displays signs of a “crisis of the novel”, thus inviting the reader to adopt a more “modern”, a more open way of reading and creating meaning.
LeeAnne M. Richardson (Georgia State University, USA): Currents of Art and Streams of Consciousness: Charting the Edwardian Novel
In his Introduction to the Oxford Book of Modern Verse, 1892-1936, Yeats famously describes the end of the Decadent movement: “Then in 1900 everybody got down off his stilts; henceforth nobody drank absinthe with his black coffee; nobody went mad; nobody committed suicide; nobody joined the Catholic church; or if they did I have forgotten.” The final phrase is Yeats’s sly admission that this view is an exaggeration, if not an invention; nonetheless he goes on to differentiate the work of the Moderns from that of the previous generation, specifically noting that the “revolt against Victorianism” meant, among other things, a revolt against “the political eloquence of Swinburne.” Yeats’ example here indicates that he’s building something of a straw man: why focus on Swinburne’s political poetry unless to evade the fact that Swinburne’s early Poems and Ballads are similar in kind to the “revolutionary” poetics of the Moderns? Or perhaps Yeats had “forgotten” the ways in which earlier poetics inform those that came after.
Yeats is most notably joined in re-interpreting his immediate predecessors by Virginia Woolf, whose “Mr. Bennett and Mrs. Brown” (1923) famously claims that “in or about December, 1910, human character changed” and that none of the Edwardian novelists writing in 1910 understood how to represent the new reality. Because “the tools of one generation are useless for the next” she and other modern writers must craft an entirely new aesthetic. But like Yeats’s forgetfulness in the realm of poetry, Woolf’s account does not recall the proto-stream-of-consciousness chapter in Arthur Morrison’s 1895 slum novel A Child of the Jago, or any of the other examples a reader of fiction from 1880-1920 might find. Indeed Arnold Bennett’s 1910 Old Wives Tale includes a character who exactly limns Woolf’s idea of the newly-emergent character, the “Georgian cook.” Lascelles Abercrombie offers an explanation for the forgetfulness of Yeats and Woolf. His 1933 essay “Literature” explains how easy it is to miss the roots of one’s literary era and to therefore envision an entirely new stream of human consciousness:
For some reason or other we pick out a certain term of years and call it a period. Naturally, into this period there run all sorts of tendencies, forces, movements from the preceding years, some of which—currents perhaps which have long been flowing and growing underground—now first come to the surface. Abercrombie’s assessment of constantly flowing “currents” can help us can bridge the gap between the Victorian and the Modern, demonstrating the ways in which literature at the turn of the century literally and conceptually connects the putatively divergent eras. By identifying and drawing out lines of continuity, convergence, and revision—lines that are emerging in the nineteenth century and that become more clearly defined in the twentieth—we can develop a more complex understanding of literary trends, of the intersections between experimentation and tradition, of the coexistence of the literary and the popular. This conference paper will conclude by examining selected novels of H. G. Wells, Arnold Bennett, and E.M. Forster in order to map the Victorian streams that flow into the Modern era.
Michael Shaw (University of Glasgow): The Decadent Origins of Modernism: Reconsidering the Relationship between Decadence and Nationalism
Decadence is often understood as the movement that bridges the Victorian and the Modern. David Weir and, most recently, Matthew Potolsky, have argued that the anti-nationalism of Decadent writers’ and artists’ works paved the way for Modernism’s break with the local and traditionally structured imagined communities. This paper will interrogate such understandings of Decadence. Using Scottish literature and art as a case study, the paper demonstrates that Decadent writers and visual artists could be engaged with questions of nationalism and that this engagement could pave the way Modernism.
The paper will primarily focus on the art of Charles Rennie Mackintosh and the writings of his friend, Sir Patrick Geddes (who both became French residents). First, it will examine the writings of Geddes (c.1890) who demonstrated how Aestheticism and Decadence could be means of rejecting the garish design of the past and ushering in a new era of Modernism. The paper will show that this was a central idea in Geddes’s cultural nationalist project, evident in his journal The Evergreen: for him, this new Modern epoch could regenerate Scottish culture and help form ties with other nations, creating new proximities that could release Scotland from traditional British cultural affiliations. In 1890s Scotland, Nationalism could work hand-in-hand with Decadence in ushering in Modernism.
From this theoretical discussion, the paper will then consider a clear example of these ideas: Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s Glasgow School of Art building design (1896). This building, considered by many to be the first Modernist building internationally, is also a clear expression of the emerging Scottish cultural nationalism and Decadence: a fusion of Scottish architectural heritage but yoked with Japanese design tropes, an evocation of primitivist spirituality and mysticism. The building embodies the close connections between Scottish cultural nationalism and Modernism in the era of Decadence. Some of Geddes’s comments on the building will be considered to draw out the kinship of ideas between these two important figures in framing the beginnings of Scottish Modernism.
Scholarship on Modernism is increasingly acknowledging that nationalism was often a central concern of Modernist writers and visual artists, but scholars on Victorian Decadence still fail to acknowledge the close relationship between the emerging Modernism and nationalism. This paper intends to contribute towards rectifying this tendency.
Aakanksha Virkar-Yates (University of Sussex): Emotion in Art across the Victorian / Modernist Divide: T. S. Eliot and Schopenhauer
T. S. Eliot’s poetics of impersonality are a landmark in twentieth-century criticism and a cornerstone of “high modernism”. “Tradition and the Individual Talent” (1919), in particular, is a youthfully uncompromising rejection of romantic subjectivism and emotionalism; its companion piece, “Hamlet and his Problems”, offers up the much-touted modernist dictum of the “objective correlative”. In the circumstances, perhaps the most unlikely figure in the carpet to emerge from Eliot’s essays of 1919 is Arthur Schopenhauer, whose romantic philosophy Eliot is keen to distance himself from. As Eliot writes in his Varieties of Metaphysical Poetry, Schopenhauer’s philosophy is “muddled by feeling – for what is more emotional than the philosophy of Schopenhauer or Hartmann?” (VMP, p. 222) Here, as elsewhere, Eliot paints Schopenhauer as a despairing, overwrought romantic. Such a presentation is in keeping with the Victorian modernist divide that Eliot is anxious to perpetuate whilst promoting his radical theories of the new century. In actual fact, Eliot’s formulation of impersonal emotion borrows much from Schopenhauer’s aesthetics of poetry in The World as Will and Representation (1818). Indeed, the lurking presence of Schopenhauer is found in the two best-known formulations of Eliot’s criticism: the chemical-catalytic mind of the poet, and the “objective correlative”. Not only does Eliot’s iconic presentation of the poet-chemist find precedent in the chemist-poet of Section 51 of WWR, but the very same section of Schopenhauer’s opus flags up his earlier discussion of a principle which he now identifies at the heart of lyric poetry. This is the principle of identity between the subject of willing and the subject of knowing; a principle which, in his Essay on the Fourfold Root of the Principle of Sufficient Reason (1813), Schopenhauer defines in relation to subjective and objective correlatives.
From this centre point in Eliot’s early criticism of 1919 we begin to see the widening circles of Schopenhauer’s influence on Eliot’s later work. Notably, this extends to Eliot’s application of Schopenhauer’s discourse on the sublime in the Four Quartets, which invokes the elevation or “erhebung” by which the philosopher defines sublime experience. Schopenhauer’s analysis of the sublime as an elevation above the will is effectively a depersonalization or dissociation from emotion. As such, Eliot’s employment of Schopenhauer’s “erhebung” is entirely in keeping with an emerging picture of a theory of emotion in art propounded by the high priest of modernism, yet dubiously derived from the philosophy of Schopenhauer.
(Some of this material will be published in a short article forthcoming in Philosophy and Literature; the article is entitled “An Objective Chemistry: what T. S. Eliot borrowed from Schopenhauer”.)
Hélène Aji is Professor of American literature at the Université de Paris Ouest Nanterre. In addition to a number of articles on Modernist and contemporary American poetry, she is the author of Ezra Pound et William Carlos Williams: Pour une poétique américaine (L’Harmattan, 2001), William Carlos Williams: Un plan d’action (Belin, 2004) and a book-length essay on Ford Madox Ford’s The Good Soldier (Armand Colin, 2005). More recently she edited an issue of the European Journal of English Studies on “Reading the Modernist Past,” a volume on modernist little magazines and politics (Revues modernistes, revues engagées, Presses Universitaires de Rennes, 2011), and an issue of the Revue Française d’Études Américaines on the discourses of truth in literature and history (2013).
Anna Antonowicz has written a PhD dissertation of Orientalism and Indian at in the mid-Victorian period and teaches in the Institute of English Philology in Lublin (Poland). She specialises in British cultural studies, aesthetics, art and the institution of the museum, Victorian cultural policy, style & the questions of identity and representation, the faces of modernity and on colonialism, the Other, and counter-cultures. She has written a number of articles on the subject of Ethnographic Exhibitions and the Politics of Difference, on Orientalism and Indian Decorative art, and on the Victorians and Aesthetic Modernization.
Eric Bennett holds an MFA from the University of Iowa and a PhD from Harvard University and teach at Providence College in Providence, Rhode Island. His intellectual history of creative writing programs in the United States, Workshops of Empire, is forthcoming from the University of Iowa Press. He has published articles on Henry James (in New Writing), Ernest Hemingway (in Modern Fiction Studies) and the Cold War university (in the Blackwell Companion to Creative Writing). He is currently at work on a study of Fyodor Dostoevsky and David Foster Wallace.
Michael Bentley is Emeritus Professor of Modern History in the University of St Andrews and is also attached to the History Faculty at Oxford where he now lives. He is well-known to historians as a specialist in the history and theory of historical writing. His huge Companion to Historiography (1997) is used by students across Europe and in the United States. A study of The LIfe and Thought of Herbert Butterfield (Cambridge, 2011) has attracted more recent attention. Most relevant to this symposium are perhaps the Wiles Lectures, an expanded version of which, Modernizing England’s Past, was published by Cambridge University Press in 2005.
Anne Besnault-Levita is Senior Lecturer at the University of Rouen where she teaches English literature. She is the author of Katherine Mansfield: La voix du Moment (Paris: Messène, 1997) and of many articles on Katherine Mansfield, Virginia Woolf and the modernist short story. Her current fields of interest are modernist fiction and criticism, Virginia Woolf as literary critic, and genre and gender studies in nineteenth- and twentieth-century British literature. She is now working on a book on Virginia Woolf’s literary conversations with her nineteenth-century foremothers.
María Casado Villanueva works as associate professor in English at Nesna University College (Norway). In June 2013 she completed her Ph.D. from the University of Santiago de Compostela (Spain). Her doctoral dissertation was entitled “Enchanting and Disenchanted Narratives: Fairy Tales and the Short Fiction of Katherine Mansfield and D.H. Lawrence”. Her research interests range widely from modernism, to postmodernism, fairy tales, children’s literature and children in Literature.
Jaine Chemmachery is currently teaching at the University of Paris 1 – Sorbonne. She defended her dissertation on R. Kipling and S. Maugham’s short stories on Empire on June 28th, 2013 at the University of Rennes 2. She is interested in colonial and postcolonial literatures, potstcolonial theory, modernity and modernism, the genre of the short story and the making of the canon. Among her publications are: « “Helpless” Colonisers in Rudyard Kipling and Somerset Maugham’s Short Stories: the Sustainability of Western Modern Institutions Under Examination ». Published in Reinkowski Maurus, Thum Gregor (eds.), Helpless imperialists: Imperial failure, Fear and Radicalization, Göttingen; Bristol, US: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2013. « Nouvelles sur l’Empire de Rudyard Kipling et Somerset Maugham: maintien des identités et intégration forcée ? », published in Intégration de l’altérité : Formes et procédures, in Rives, Cahiers de l’Arc Atlantique, Paris : L’Harmattan, 2011. « Self-censorship and Silence as Modes of Revelation of the “Unspeakable” in a Selection of Rudyard Kipling’s Short Stories ». To be published in the next issue of The Kipling Journal (in process). « La représentation de la colonisation dans les nouvelles de Rudyard Kipling et de Somerset Maugham ou la modernité comme liant entre le colonial et le postcolonial ». To be published at the Presses Universitaires de Rennes (in process).
Emily Coit is a Junior Research Fellow at Worcester College, Oxford, where she teaches literature in English from 1830 to the present. Her current book project is about understandings of elitism and condescension: it uses revisionist accounts of the “genteel tradition” to reassesses anti-democratic engagements with Victorian liberalism in works by expatriate American novelists of the Gilded Age. A version of her chapter on Henry James and liberal cultivation is forthcoming in The Henry James Review. Previously, Coit taught as a postdoctoral lecturer at Princeton; she received her Ph.D. from Yale, where she wrote a dissertation about the role of the novel in political consumerism. Her article in Nineteenth-Century Literature, “This Immense Expense of Art: George Eliot and John Ruskin on Consumption and the Limits of Sympathy,” is drawn from that study.
Bénédicte Coste teaches Victorian studies at the University of Burgundy. She mainly works on essayists such as Walter Pater, Oscar Wilde and other fin de siècle writers. Her projects include an exploration of the transition between the late-Victorian period and the first third of the 20th century in various works on literature and literary criticism.
Melba Cuddy-Keane is Emerita Professor, University of Toronto-Scarborough and an Emerita Member of the University of Toronto’s Graduate Department of English. Her publications include Virginia Woolf, the Intellectual, and the Public Sphere (2003), the Harcourt annotated edition of Between the Acts (2008), and the collaborative book, co-authored with Adam Hammond and Alexandra Peat, Modernism: Keywords (2014). Recent essays include “Ethics” in Modernism and Theory: A Critical Debate (2008); “World Modelling: Paradigms of Global Consciousness in and around Virginia Woolf” in Virginia Woolf’s Bloomsbury 2 (2010); and “Movement, Space, and Embodied Cognition in To the Lighthouse” in the forthcoming Cambridge Companion to that novel.
Frances Dickey is Associate Professor of English at the University of Missouri, where she teaches Modernism and American Literature. Her 2012 book, The Modern Portrait Poem: From Dante Gabriel Rossetti to Ezra Pound (University of Virginia Press), crosses between media and periods to follow the development of the portrait poem from the 1860’s to the 1920’s. Along with chapters on Rossetti and Pound, this book includes discussions of Swinburne, T. S. Eliot, William Carlos Williams, Amy Lowell, and other American poets. She has also published articles on Elizabeth Bishop, Robert Frost, and Walt Whitman. Dickey is co-editor of volume 3 of the Complete Online Prose of T. S. Eliot (Johns Hopkins University, forthcoming 2014), a digital edition that for the first time will collect and annotate all of Eliot’s over 800 prose pieces in one place. She serves as Vice President of the T. S. Eliot Society and editor of Time Present, the Eliot Society journal, and is editing a volume of essays on Eliot and the arts.
Jana Funke is Advanced Research Fellow at the Department of English, University of Exeter. She is the co‐editor of Sex, Gender and Time in Fiction and Culture (Palgrave, 2011) and editor of the forthcoming critical edition of The World and Other Unpublished Works of Radclyffe Hall (Manchester University Press, 2014). She has published several book chapters and journal articles on nineteenth‐ and early twentieth‐century literature and sexual science and is currently working on a monograph entitled Temporal Mobility: Modernism, Sexuality and Female Development. The book explores the prevalence of various forms of time travel in literary and (pseudo‐)scientific narratives of female sexual development in the modernist period. She is also working on a second book project, jointly and equally co‐authored with Professor Kate Fisher (History, University of Exeter), on uses of the past in scientific debates about sexuality in the late nineteenth‐ and early twentieth century. Drawing on the historical insights generated by this book project, she is currently developing a large collaborative and interdisciplinary research project in the Medical Humanities, exploring interdisciplinary perspectives on the medicalisation of sex in the past and present.
Jill Galvan is an Associate Professor of English at Ohio State University and the author of The Sympathetic Medium: Feminine Channeling, the Occult, and Communication Technologies, 1859-1919 (Cornell University Press, 2010). Her general field is the Victorian period, but her research is particularly concerned with the late Victorian and early twentieth centuries, as is her teaching (for instance, she is currently teaching a graduate seminar on the fin de siècle). Her essays have been published, or are scheduled to be published, in Victorian Studies, The Henry James Review, Victorian Literature and Culture, Science Fiction Studies, BRANCH (Britain, Representation, and Nineteenth-Century History), ELT (English Literature in Transition), and the edited collection The Ashgate Research Companion to Nineteenth-Century Spiritualism and the Occult.) Past projects have focused on spiritualism, communications media, and gender, as well as both Victorian and current ideas of the post-human. Her second book project examines changes in literary realism at the turn of the century, which she argues are inseparable from the realist fascination with troubled marriages.
Anne-Florence Gillard-Estrada is a lecturer at Rouen University and a member of the ERIAC research unit. Her research and teaching interests include British literature, art criticism and painting of the 1860s-1890s. She has published a number of articles on the topic of Antiquity, Greece and Hellenism in the works of Walter Pater and Oscar Wilde and in the paintings of the “Neo-classical” and “Aesthetic” Movement (1860-1900). She is currently writing a book on the subject of “Greece” and the body in the painting of that period and in its reception in contemporary art criticism and periodicals.
Kathryn Holland teaches English literature at MacEwan University, Canada. Her research interests include later Victorian and modernist literary networks, literature and visual arts, and synchronic approaches to literary history. She is co-editor of Interdisciplinary/Multidisciplinary Woolf: Selected Papers from the 22nd Annual International Conference on Virginia Woolf (2013), She has also published in Tulsa Studies in Women’s Literature, Modernist Cultures, Modernism/Modernity, and the Times Literary Supplement. She has been a Fleur Cowles Endowment Fellow at the Harry Ransom Center, University of Texas at Austin, and she took her doctorate at Oxford University.
Charlotte Jones graduated from University College London in 2012 with a Congratulatory First, and has just completed a Masters in English Literature 1850-Present at Kings College London. She is now starting the first year of a PhD at UCL researching May Sinclair’s engagement with avant-garde movements such as Imagism, Vorticism, Impressionism and Modernism, and their influence on her realist fiction between 1908 and 1922. She has an essay on Ford Madox Ford and Rebecca West forthcoming in War and the Mind: Ford Madox Ford, Parade’s End and Psychology (Edinburgh UP, 2014).
Sondeep Kandola is a Senior Lecturer in English at Liverpool John Moores University, UK. She has published articles on W.B. Yeats and Arthur Machen and also a monograph and further articles on Vernon Lee. Her research hitherto has largely focused on the Gothic, particularly at the fin-de-siècle, and British national identity and this paper is part of a new project she will embark upon on sexuality and nationalism in the writing of D. H. Lawrence.
Marie Laniel is a lecturer at Université de Picardie – Jules Verne (France). Her research focuses on Victorian subtexts in the works of E. M. Forster and Virginia Woolf. She has published several papers on this topic, particularly on Virginia Woolf’s rewritings of the works of Matthew Arnold (‘Virginia Woolf, lectrice de Matthew Arnold: la fortune littéraire du “scholar-gipsy” dans les essais et la fiction’, Études britanniques contemporaines, automne 2007), Thomas Carlyle (‘Revisiting a Great Man’s House: Virginia Woolf’s Carlylean Pilgrimages’, Carlyle Studies Annual, Saint Joseph’s University Press, Philadelphie, 24, 2008), Leslie Stephen (‘Généalogies de l’essai: de Leslie Stephen à Virginia Woolf’, L’Atelier 2.2, 2010) and Alfred Tennyson (‘“The Name Escapes Me”: Virginia Woolf’s Dislocation of Patrilineal Memory in A Room of One’s Own’, recently submitted to Études britanniques contemporaines). Her recent publications also include papers on intertextuality in the works of contemporary British writers (Ian McEwan, Jeanette Winterson). She is currently completing a book on Victorian subtexts in the works E. M. Forster and Virginia Woolf to be published by Presses Universitaires de Rennes.
Catherine Lanone is a Professor of British Literature at the Université Paris Sorbonne Nouvelle). She specializes in 19th- and 20th-century novels and has published extensively on Dickens, the Brontes, Thackeray, Woolf, Forster and Greene, among others.
Maxime Leroy is a lecturer at the University of Haute-Alsace (Mulhouse). In his PhD dissertation (2003) he proposed to read authorial prefaces from Scott to Conrad as systems of communication. Since then he has deepened his understanding of authorial paratexts (articles on Thackeray, Eliot, Stevenson, etc.) and he is preparing a book on authorial illustration from the 1840s to the present day. Intertextuality, intersemioticity and interpictoriality are central concepts he has used in recent articles and papers on text/paratext/image relations (for example in 2013: captions to illustrations in various 19th-early 20th century novels; the representations of antique shops in Dickens, Stevenson, James and contemporary painters). He founded the group Illustratio with three colleagues from the Universities of Dijon, Nancy and Valenciennes (the first conference will be held in Dijon in April 2014). He is also interested in the works of George Borrow (two forthcoming articles) and he is the editor of Charles Dickens and Europe (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2013).
Georges Letissier is professor at the University of Nantes. After completing a thesis on the Neo-Victorian Novel (Ackroyd, Byatt, Gray, Swift, Urquhart) in 1997 he has worked on the reception of Victorian culture more generally, notably by studying Modernist texts (Conrad, Ford Madox Ford). He has also published on Victorian authors: Dickens, Eliot and Christina Rossetti.
Laura Marcus (University of Oxford) took up her post as Goldsmith’s Professor of English Literature and Fellow of New College in January 2010. She was previously Regius Professor of Rhetoric and English Literature at the University of Edinburgh. Her research and teaching interests are predominantly in nineteenth- and twentieth-century literature and culture, including life-writing, modernism, Virginia Woolf and Bloomsbury culture, contemporary fiction, and literature and film. Her book publications include Auto/biographical Discourses: Theory, Criticism, Practice (1994), Virginia Woolf: Writers and their Work (1997/2004), The Tenth Muse: Writing about Cinema in the Modernist Period (2007; awarded the 2008 James Russell Lowell Prize of the Modern Language Association) and, as co-editor, The Cambridge History of Twentieth-Century English Literature (2004). She is on the editorial boards of a number of journals and is one of the editors of the journal Women: a Cultural Review. Her current research projects include a book on British literature 1910-1920, and a study of the concept of ’rhythm’ in the late nineteenth- and early twentieth-centuries, in a range of disciplinary contexts.
Alex Murray is Senior Lecturer in English at the University of Exeter. He has written widely on nineteenth and twentieth century literature, as well as critical theory. His most recent books are the monograph Giorgio Agamben (Routledge, 2010) and with Jason Hall the forthcoming edited collection Decadent Poetics: Literature and Form at the British Fin de Siècle (Palgrave 2013). He is currently completing a project entitled ‘Landscapes of Decadence: Literature and Place, 1880-1920’
Marina Poisson has taught at Oxford University, Sciences-Po, at the Sorbonne Nouvelle – Paris 3 and Paris Diderot – Paris 7 Universities and is Head of the RESSEN research group (Réfléchir la Sensation), which she created at the Ecole Normale Supérieure in 2008. She has edited two books (Réfléchir (sur) la sensation, 2011 and Réfléchir la sensation : littérature et création dans le monde britannique, 2013) and is currently writing a PhD on George Meredith under the supervision of Marc Porée (Sorbonne Nouvelle – Paris 3 University).
LeeAnne M. Richardson is Associate Professor of English at Georgia State University. She earned her PhD in Victorian Literature with a minor in Cultural Studies at Indiana University. She is author of New Woman and Colonial Adventure Fiction in Late-Victorian Britain: Gender, Genre, Empire (2006) as well as articles on late-century magazines, women poets, and fiction by Flora Annie Steel.
Michael Shaw is a final year PhD student at the University of Glasgow; his thesis is titled: ‘Cultural Nationalism and Decadence: The Scottish Movement, c.1880-1914’, supervised by Professor Murray Pittock. He has contributed towards the British Library’s Catalogue of Photographically Illustrated Books, served on an advisory panel for the BBC, and produced several public engagement projects. His first publication ‘The New Paganism: Revolutionising the Victorian Family in 1890s Scotland’ is a forthcoming chapter of the collected book ‘Queer Relations: Revising the Victorian Family’, ed. by Duc Dau and Shale Preston.
Aakanksha Virkar-Yates completed her doctorate at the University of Sussex. She is currently a visiting research fellow at Sussex and also at the Institute of English Studies, School of Advanced Study, University of London. She is working on a monograph on G. M. Hopkins (Ashgate) and her work has appeared or will appear in journals including Victorian Poetry, Literature and Theology, Philosophy and Literature, Notes and Queries and The International Journal for the Study of the Christian Church.
Catherine Bernard is Professor of English literature and art history at the University Paris Diderot — Paris 7. She has published extensively on contemporary art (Cy Twombly, Andy Warhol, Rachel Whiteread, but also Gillian Wearing and Sam Taylor-Wood). Her recent research has also focused on the Bloomsbury Group and more specifically Roger Fry’s aesthetics. She has also done extensive work on recent English fiction (Martin Amis, Peter Ackroyd, Pat Barker or Graham Swift).
Her research has also turned to Virginia Woolf and more widely Modernism. She has co-edited several volumes of articles on Woolf, has published a critical study of Mrs Dalloway, as well as a critical edition of Flush, for the Pléiade Edition of Woolf’s works (2012). She is currently working on a critical edition and translation into French of a selection of Woolf’s essays, to be published in 2014.
Isabelle Gadoin is Professor of British Art and Literature at the University of Poitiers, France. She is a Thomas Hardy specialist, and one of the founding members of “FATHOM” (the French Association for Thomas Hardy Studies, http://fathomhardy.fr/), as well as the co-editor of the online Journal of the association. Apart from her interest in Victorian literature, she has worked mostly on the question of visual perception and the apprehension of space in novels and travel narratives, and more generally in the field of Visual Culture Studies and text-and-image studies, on which she has published extensively. She is co-director of the Master Degree on Text and Image at the university of Poitiers (“Texte-Image : Littérature Ecrans, Scènes”), and the president of “SAIT” (“Société Angliciste Image-Texte”, the French Society for Intermedial and Intertextual Studies). She also holds an MA in Art History from the Sorbonne, for which she specialized in Islamic art, working more precisely on the reception of Persian art in Victorian Britain. She has published several articles on Victorian Orientalism, and co-edited two volumes on the subject (Rêver d’Orient, Connaître l’Orient, Lyon, Presses de l’ENS, 2009 ; and Figures pionnières de l’Orientalisme: Convergences européennes, Revue Res Orientales n°20, 2012).
Claire Joubert Claire Joubert is professor of English literature at the Department of English Literary Studies, University of Paris 8. Her work focuses on the poetics of foreignness, studying the theoretical and political effects of linguistic difference, and its critical function in the history of discourse on language, literature and culture. She has published on the epistemology of comparatism (Comparer l’étranger. Enjeux du comparatisme en littérature, with E. Baneth-Nouailhetas, 2006) and the poetics of multilingualism (special issue Samuel Becket et et le théâtre de l’étranger, with A. Bernadet, 2008), on translation and on postcoloniality (Le « Postcolonial » comparé: anglophonie, with E. Baneth-Nouailhetas, forthcoming). She currently works on three fields where the history of English is in particular interaction with otherness : Indian literary history, the history of Black globalisms, and the intellectual history of globalism.
Anne-Laure Tissut est Professeur de littérature américaine à l’Université de Rouen. Spécialiste de littérature américaine contemporaine et de traduction, elle poursuit une recherche sur la lecture et plus largement l’esthétique, en particulier l’évolution des formes de représentation et les modalités d’échange entre divers arts et moyens d’expression. Auteur d’un ouvrage sur Paul West, et de divers articles sur les œuvres de Blake Butler, Don DeLillo, Percival Everett, Nick Flynn et Steve Tomasula, entre autres, elle est aussi traductrice (de Wiley Cash, Percival Everett, Nick Flynn, Joumana Haddad, Aryn Kyle, Adam Thirlwell, Steve Tomasula, Margaret Wrinkle).
Geraldine Vaughan lectures in modern British history and civilisation in the English Studies Department, Rouen University. She recently published a book on Irish migrants, The ‘Local’ Irish in the West of Scotland 1851-1921 (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013), and is currently working on popular anti-Catholicism and its impact on British identities across the British World (1880s-1930s).