There has been a historic tide of scholarship arguing the merits of classic Victorian Sensation texts such as The Woman in White and Lady Audley’s Secret. While scholars from Oliphant to Ruskin have added valuable interpretations to the genre by focusing on its Gothic and Romance origins, contemporary critics such as Cvetkovich and Daly have begun probing the frames that closely link Victorian sensation novels to Modernity. This panel will examine the ways in which Victorian Sensation Fiction interacted with Modernity. How did the genre respond to the plethora of late 19th century Parliamentary activity? In what ways did sensation fiction challenge or reflect evolving ideas about gender and identity? How did sensation fiction plots and stylistic devices mirror everyday domestic events in Britain? Panelists will interrogate sensation fiction’s relationship to the new art and aestheticism movement, advances in technologies including “iron horses,” commercial culture, and Modernity’s historical and political events, including Britain’s empire project. We will discuss the ways in which sensation fiction seeded later literary movements such as the “New Woman” novels. Panelists will also explore the important implications of this new scholarship in positioning a broader, fresh frame that links the genre of sensation fiction to Modernity.
Panelists should examine specific text(s) that demonstrate literary, historic and cultural links between Sensation Fiction and Modernity (for example: changing gender roles, commercial culture, technology, the arts and the Empire project). 500 word Abstract/CV by 9/30 to Co-chairs Adrienne Munich (Adrienne.Munich@stonybrook.edu) AND Sophie Lavin (firstname.lastname@example.org) with subject line “NeMLA SenFic Submission.”
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