The Victorians and the Democratic Imagination

Країна: Гонконг

Місто: Hong Kong

Тези до: 15.11.2015

Дати: 13.05.16 — 13.05.16

Е-мейл Оргкомітету:

Організатори: University of Hong Kong


The Victorian period witnessed a number of democratizing reforms that eventually doubled the electorate, but not every Victorian embraced these changes. Matthew Arnold worried that such reforms held the potential for anarchy, while Thomas Carlyle advocated for a new, natural aristocracy made up of “captains of industry.” Critics have long been divided on how these concerns about democracy manifest themselves in Victorian literature. D. A. Miller and Mary Poovey have argued that the Victorian novel promulgated a politics of confinement that defined the limits of the individual subject; but more recently, Fredric Jameson has highlighted democratic impulses within the form of the novel itself, such as a de-emphasizing of protagonists to give minor characters greater interiority.

This workshop seeks papers that think about the Victorians’ participation in, and representation of, a democratic imagination. How do Victorian texts imagine the popular public and their social and political participation? How do novels give marginal characters representation in the space of the novel? What are the limits of the Victorians’ ability to depict democratic processes? How is the novelistic form influenced by democratic or undemocratic ideas of political representation? How can we see democratization in the ways the Victorian novel was distributed and read at home and abroad?

This workshop will take place on Friday, 13 May 2016, and is organized and hosted by the School of English at the University of Hong Kong. The plenary lecture will be delivered by Isobel Armstrong, Emeritus Professor of English at Birkbeck, University of London and a Senior Research Fellow of the Institute of English Studies at the University of London.

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