Call for Papers for a Collection “*A Return to Catherine Cookson Country”*
Hailed as the “Dickens of the North,” Catherine Cookson returned time and time again to the Victorian past, writing what she called the “social history” of the area around the River Tyne in her 100-plus novels. In a writing career that spanned the aftermath of World War II, the rise of the welfare state, second-wave feminism and sexual revolution, and Thatcher’s booming Heritage Industry, Cookson used the setting of England’s industrial northeast to explore class and gender conflict, and the effects of poverty, illegitimacy, and violence on its men and women. Almost ten years after her death, fans on Cookson websites still claim that her stories of women overcoming hardships saved their lives, and the museum and trails that make up “Cookson Country”, luring thousands of tourists a year, attest to her legacy as a champion of women and the working class in England. Yet despite two adoring biographies and an occasional subchapter in literary anthologies, Cookson remains sadly neglected by academics. Romance scholars typically ignore Cookson, who herself resisted the label of romance novelist in favor of social historian, while historians are too eager to discredit the accuracy of her largely Victorian settings and plots. It is time to revisit Cookson Country and assess Cookson’s legacy as a publishing phenomenon.
This call for papers for an academic volume on Cookson welcomes essays from any disciplinary or theoretical perspective. Possible topics include but are not limited to:
* Cookson as a distinctly “British” novelist
* Representations of femininity, masculinity, and sexuality,
especially homosexuality and lesbianism, in Cookson’s novels and life
* Cookson Country and the Heritage Industry (includes the museum,
trails, on-line websites by and for fans, and TV movie versions of
* Re-evaluations of her texts: Feminist? Conservative? Subversive?
* Historical fiction or romance—do such labels really matter?
* Re-imagining Victorianism
* Class and gender politics in the historical/romance novel
Detailed abstract and a short CV are due by November 1, 2007. Please send in electronic format as Word attachment to email@example.com. Thank you.
Dr. Julie Taddeo
Visiting Assistant Professor of History
University of Maryland
College Park, MD 2074
University of Maryland
College Park, MD 20742
(301) 405-4304 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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