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Note: Neo-Victorian Studies accepts submissions for forthcoming general issues throughout the year. Please see the general CFP that follows the special issue CFP(s) below. For forthcoming special issues, please observe the relevant posted deadlines.

Special Issue
Neo-Victorianism & Discourses of Education - extended deadline

Guest Editors: Frances Kelly and Judith Seaboyer

The nineteenth century saw the beginnings of mass education in Britain and elsewhere, while the more recent millennial turn has seen a range of reforms and ‘revolutions’ within educational systems world-wide, not least the insistent commercialisation of universities and a concomitant move to redefining educators and students as ‘service providers’ and ‘customers’ respectively. A large number of neo-Victorian novels are set in or engage with educational contexts, including universities, libraries, anatomy schools, private tutoring/governessing, ragged schools, and art colleges, mirroring the settings and concerns with Bildung in canonical works by Victorian writers such as Charles Dickens, Charlotte Brontë, and others. Just as significantly, however, are contemporary self-conscious engagements with inherited nineteenth-century ideas regarding the purposes and ethos of education, such as character building, civic identity formation, the connection between personal and societal development, issues of widening access, the inculcation of moral values and national ideologies, and the perception that education systems serve as ‘engines’ of the economy. Then as now, however, prevalent concerns and anxieties about the achievements and failings of education hardly constituted a monolithic uncontested discourse; rather they divided public opinion and provoked continuous political and societal debate, much as these same concerns continue to do today. This special issue will explore how neo-Victorian works contribute to this on-going debate by foregrounding the ‘origins’ of modern-day educational systems and approaches. What particular aspects of nineteenth-century education are highlighted and why? What are the main points of contention? How do today’s politicians appropriate (past) educational discourses for party-specific agendas? To what extent are nineteenth-century educational models proposed as alternatives to present-day problems in education? What nineteenth-century educational aims and ideals are depicted as still unfulfilled and unrealised? Possible topics may include, but need not be limited to the following:

·        the discourse of universal access and the move to ‘mass’ higher education

·         education as a means for national progress and economic development

·         Gradgrindean echoes of educational utilitarianism and measurable outcomes (performance statistics, league tables, proportional admission targets for economically disadvantaged groups, etc.)

·         representations and biofictions of educators and students past and present

·         curriculum changes and modifications, including tailoring courses to ‘consumer’ demand, the high proportion of nineteenth-century content (e.g. slavery, the British Empire, the US Civil War), links to conservative political agendas, targeted funding, and the recent valorisation of  Science and Technology over the disparaged Arts and Humanities

·         higher education, universities,  and the growing centrality of research and publication to institutional identities since the nineteenth century

·         Bildung and the Bildungsroman tradition (the idea of character formation, education in civic responsibilities, education as nation-building, etc.)

·         desired outcomes (the ideal of rational autonomy, personal development, societal prosperity and progress, production of a skilled workforce, national and international competitiveness, graduate attributes, etc.)

·         the emergence of disciplines at the nineteenth-century fin-de-siècle vs. more recent moves towards interdisciplinary teaching and research

·         the ethos of future pasts: nineteenth-century models, unrealised ambitions, and anticipated trajectories in education systems

·         discourses of liberal humanism and neo-liberalism, the impact on education of laissez-faire economics, and the revitalisation of (Smiles’) ‘self-help’ discourse

·         education and creativity, including Ruskinean notions of curiosity, mystery and wonder, discursive constructions of creativity, and the harnessing of creativity for  capitalism

·         education, industry, and the shift to a knowledge-based society in the information age

Please address enquiries and expressions of interest to the guest editors Frances Kelly at and Judith Seaboyer at Completed articles and/or creative pieces, along with a short biographical note, will be due by 15 October 2015 and should be sent via email to the guest editors, with a copy to Please consult the NVS website (‘Submission Guidelines’) for further guidance.


Special Issue 2016
Performing the (Neo-)Victorian

Guest Editors: Beth Palmer and Benjamin Poore

This special issue will explore the ways in which modern cultures have re-worked the Victorian past through performance. As Marvin Carlson has famously suggested, theatre is a haunted practice, summoning up ghosts of past productions, styles and performances, which are often inherited from the Victorian age. Present-day live representations of the Victorians inevitably mix elements of the ‘old theatre’ – nineteenth-century auditoria, costume and spectacle - with ‘new performance’, such as projections, recorded sound, and different configurations of performance space, actor-audience relations, performance styles and scripting or devising practices. This special issue seeks to examine such haunted interactions between old and new performance both in the theatre and beyond the stage. The guest editors invite contributions from those working across a range of arts disciplines, both scholars and practitioners, who can elaborate and analyse the ways in which the Victorians have been performed in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. While fiction and film have enjoyed scholarly attention in the field of neo-Victorian Studies drama, theatrical entertainments, music, dance, visual and audio cultures are all areas which have been relatively neglected. This special issue seeks to extend the existing neo-Victorian canon and firmly place performance as a practice heavily invested in the afterlives of Victorian culture.Topics might include but are not limited to:

·        Theorising neo-Victorian performance

·        Adapting (neo-) Victorian texts for performance

·        Understanding nostalgic performance, re-enactment,  commemoration and heritage

·        Satirising the Victorians and investigating comic performances

·        Neo-Victorian theatre and drama

·        Neo-Victorian dance and music

·        Neo-Victorian audio and visual cultures

·        Performing the (neo-)Victorian in the digital world

·        Probing the inceptions of neo-Victorian drama as far back as Patrick Hamilton’s Gaslight (1938) or Virginia Woolf’s Freshwater (1935), or earlier

·        Translating and adapting neo-Victorian performances for new cultural settings

Please address enquiries and expressions of interest to the guest editors Beth Palmer at and Benjamin Poore at Completed articles and/or creative pieces, along with a short biographical note, will be due by 15 July 2015 and should be sent via email to both guest editors, with a copy to Please consult the NVS website (‘Submission Guidelines’) for further guidance.


Special Issue 2016
Neo-Victorian Sexploitation

Guest Editors: Maria Isabel Romero Ruiz and Inmaculada Pineda Hernández

Neo-Victorian works display an obsessive interest in sexualised bodies and their physical and aesthetic exploitation, whether for pleasure, profit, pornography or outright abuse. Contemporary culture still contends with many of the sexual issues that precipitated public debate, scandals or panics in the nineteenth century, ranging from homosexuality, prostitution, pornography, incest, paedophilia, reproductive rights, sex crimes, sexually transmitted diseases, and human trafficking to sexual slavery.  Arguably, the return to the re-imagined nineteenth century becomes a means both of tracing these social phenomena’s genealogy and of working through their repercussions in our own time. Not least, the emergence of the scientific disciplines of sexology, gynecology, and anthropology produced corresponding idioms of hysteria and instinct, purity and contamination, forbidden desires, deviance, and taboo. These continue to inform today’s socio-legal contexts, which define and regulate sexual practices and public morality. This special issue of Neo-Victorian Studies aims to investigate the centrality of sexploitation and the desired/desiring body in neo-Victorian discourse, both in the Arts and within wider culture, from new chastity campaigns to contemporary sex abuse scandals, from gay rights activism to steampunk fashion, from burlesque to glamorisations of sex work. It will address the crucial role of sexploited neo-Victorian bodies, their representation and reception, the (un)ethical implications of strategies such as performativity, scopophilia, voyeurism, ‘sexsation’ and biofictional exposé, and the queer tensions arising between marginality and norms. Possible topics may include, but need not be limited to the following:

·      exhibitions of raced and sexually ‘colonised’ bodies

·       representations of the nineteenth-century sex and pornography trades

·       voyeuristic displays of non-normative sexualities

·       disability and the prurient gaze

·       representations of sex crimes and sexual deviance, including remediations of child sex abuse

·       sex and violence in steampunk culture

·       biofiction’s scopophilia and celebrity exposés

·       modes of resistance/resilience to sexual victimisation

·       the role of gender and genre (Gothic, detective fiction, sensation fiction, etc.) in depictions of sexual violence

·        neo-Victorian conceptions of slavery and implicit mirrorings of current cases of human trafficking

·       medical sexploitation and/or constructed relationships between social contamination and sexually transmitted diseases

·       the role of past and contemporary sexual policy and politics in neo-Victorian forms and critiques of sexploitation

Please address enquiries and expressions of interest to the guest editors, Maria Isabel Romero Ruiz at and Inmaculada Pineda Hernández at Completed articles and/or creative pieces, along with a short biographical note, will be due by 31 July 2015 and should be sent via email to the guest editors, with a copy to Please consult the NVS website (‘Submission Guidelines’) for further guidance.


General Issue 2015

Neo-Victorian Studies is currently soliciting scholarly and creative work for its 2015 general issue. The editors welcome articles from established and early career scholars and creative artists on any topic related to the exploration of nineteenth-century legacies from twentieth/twenty-first-century perspectives. We encourage papers that push the understanding or cultural memory of the ‘Victorian’ beyond its usual temporal and geographical boundaries, investigating the politics of memorialisation, appropriation, adaptation and revision within inter-disciplinary frameworks and across multimedia. We seek work that expands current theoretical concepts of neo-Victorianism and actively interrogates the conditions under which the nineteenth century re-appears in and continues to inform our globalised present. We welcome work on issues as diverse as historical trauma; nationalism and legacies of empire; the politics of nostalgia; ‘the repressive hypothesis’; cultural and economic neo-colonialism/reverse colonisation; aesthetic and political ideologies; the ‘neo-Victorian’ as hybrid genre, mode, or trace; and the 'after-lives' of Victorian figures, texts and artworks. We invite projects that explore the different genres, cultures and spaces of re-doing the nineteenth century or that examine the neo-Victorian as style, performance and practice.

In addition to:
– scholarly theoretical/critical articles of 6000-8000 words (plus bibliography)

– creative pieces (any genre of creative writing or creative arts)

NVS also invites:
– polemical pieces
– interviews
– notices of work in progress
– reviews of relevant critical/creative publications in the field
– critical/creative responses to previous contributions 

Please direct enquiries and send electronic submissions via email with Word Document attachment to the General & Founding Editor, Marie-Luise Kohlke, at Please consult our submission guidelines, prior to submission.


Forthcoming Issues:

Special Issue 2014/15 (CFP CLOSED)
Neo-Victorianism and Globalisation:  Transnational Dissemination of Nineteenth-Century Cultural Texts

Guest Editors: Antonija Primorac and Monika Pietrzak-Franger

This special issue seeks to explore the rise and the scope of the globalisation of neo-Victorianism. We are witnesses today to a transnational spread of all things Victorian verging on ‘Victorianomania’, where different elements of nineteenth-century literature and material culture are continuously translated, adapted and recycled for contemporary use. On the one hand, the re-visioned revival of popular genres of the nineteenth century is evident in a spate of neo-Victorian novels that re-visit Victorian fiction in terms of style and content as well as rethink the narrative format of the eponymous ‘loose, baggy monsters’. Whether they are playful investigations of cosmopolitanism within the history of globalised economy – as depicted in Amitav Ghosh’s The Sea of Poppies – or of transatlantic narratives and cultural connections between Victorian London and the contemporary US cityscape – as in HBO’s TV series The Wire – neo-Victorian fictions engage not only with nineteenth-century narrative pace and plotting but also with the period’s cross-fertilised popular genres. At the same time, the plethora of TV, film, video games, graphic novels, fashion and interior design adaptations and appropriations of Victorian art, literature and culture are clearly influenced by the global market, testifying to the impact of the ever-spreading "participatory culture" (Jenkins 2006). This special issue aims to chart the patterns and politics of neo-Victorianism’s transnational production and dissemination. Some of the key questions Neo-Victorianism and Globalisation aims to address are:

*    To what extent can we talk about the process of translating elements of nineteenth-century literature and culture into contemporary media as ‘neo-Victorianism’ outside the Anglo-American context?

*    How does nostalgia inform/deform the relationship between appropriated Victorian narrative forms and their global circulation?

*    How does nostalgia inform/deform the relationship between appropriated Victorian narrative forms and their global circulation?

*    What political dynamics underlie the transnational dissemination of the ‘(neo-)Victorian’, both as a term and concept, and what are its ideological implications?

*    How broadly can ‘neo-Victorian’ be expanded as a generic term before it loses its critical value?

*    Does neo-Victorianism run the risk of being construed as a form of cultural imperialism?

*    How does postcolonialism contest and/or intersect with trans- and multiculturalism in neo-Victorian remediations of the nineteenth-century past?

*    How can attention to multiple (national, ethnic, and cultural) publics and markets avoid totalising ‘neo-Victorianism’ as a monolithic concept?

*    Which particular Victorian genres (such as Gothic, detection or sensation fiction), predominate in different neo-Victorian media and cultural contexts and why?

*    What unacknowledged, potentially discriminatory or disabling mechanisms may be discerned in neo-Victorian critical discourse (e.g. Anglo-American/Euro-centrism, Western-focused trauma discourse, new forms of sexism, etc.)?

Please address enquiries and expressions of interest to the guest editors Antonija Primorac at and Monika Pietrzak-Franger at Completed articles and/or creative pieces, along with a short biographical note, will be due by 15 October 2013 and should be sent via email to the guest editors, with a copy to Please consult the NVS website (submission guidelines) for further guidance.