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The Victorians Institute, 2008



Victorian Institute Journal

Rare Books & Special Collections


The Victorians Institute, 2008
Inconvenient Facts, Shocking Discoveries, Surprising Events, Forgotten Voices, Unknown Writings, Mangled Texts

University of South Carolina, Columbia
October 3-4, 2008

jugglersWhat would Victorian studies be like if we took seriously the discoveries that don't fit in?  Most active Victorianists come across in their research inconvenient facts, haunting or strange incidents or people or passages that if taken seriously would disrupt or complicate the versions of Victorianism our colleagues or editors or students have come to expect.  We invite proposals for 20 minute papers that report such disruptive discoveries, on any author or on any aspect of Victorian culture, and then briefly relate in what ways the discovery upsets conventional professional expectations--proposals grounded in some specific but unanticipated Victorian oddity, strangeness, quirk, scandal, or outrage; in some unknown or little-known piece of writing by an author we all know too well; in a long-ignored writer; or in a long misprinted or misread passage or text. 

Keynote Speaker and Program: The keynote speaker is Ian Duncan, of UC Berkeley, whose publications include Modern Romance and Transformations of the Novel: the Gothic, Scott, and Dickens (1992), Scott's Shadow: the Novel in Romantic Edinburgh (2007), and editions or essays on Scott, Hogg, Dickens, Ruskin, Borrow, Darwin, Conan Doyle, and others.  There will also be a special panel marking republication by the University of South Carolina Press of a long-lost Victorian novel, William North’s The City of the Jugglers, or, Free-Trade in Souls (1850).  The 2008 planning committee includes Patrick Scott, William B. Thesing, Anthony Jarrells, and Rebecca Stern, with Maria LaMonaca (Columbia College).  

Making a Proposal: Proposals (2 page maximum) should include proposer's name, proposed title, 1-2 page abstract, 2-3 line bio note, and contact information.  Proposals for panels should include include this information on each of the planned papers and participants, as well as a brief explanation for grouping them together.  Proposals may be sent by July 30, 2008, to Patrick Scott, Department of English, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC 29208 or (preferably) emailed to

The University, Hotels, Transport: This year's Institute is hosted by the University of South Carolina's flagship campus, in Columbia, the state capital, and is cosponsored by the Department of English and Thomas Cooper Library.  Most events (beginning midday on Friday October 3 and concluding about 5:30 p.m. on Saturday October 4) will be held in Thomas Cooper Library.  Rooms have been reserved at the recently-renovated Courtyard by Marriott, Assembly St., close by the library.  To get the conference rate, book by September 3 and say you are attending the Victorians Institute (  or tel: 1-803-799-7800).  Columbia is at the intersection of I-20, I-77, and I-26, and Columbia Metropolitan Airport has direct flights from many major cities, as well as connections through Charlotte and Atlanta.   

The Victorians Institute: Founded in 1971, and sponsoring its own journal, Victorians Institute Journal, since 1972, the Victorians Institute has  grown into a major annual forum for Victorian studies, attracting participants not only from its original home region in the mid-Atlantic and south-east, but nationally and internationally.  For further information, see

Deadline for proposals: July 30, 2008
Contact for proposals: