Much of the Victorian Press was built on an interdependency of work and leisure. Texts designed for consumption in leisure hours were created by armies of workers: authors, illustrators and editors, of course, but also printers' devils, water-colourists, photographers, ad agents, newsvendors, street sellers, and a host of others. Who exactly were these labourers and how were they organised?
Then, what was the "leisure" that they promoted and how different was it from work? Reading the press is obviously an insufficient answer. Reading could be work for teachers, reviewers or those trying to entertain children or colleagues. To what extent, indeed, was leisure a ruse? How far did the Victorian press inscribe women's domestic labour as a form of leisure, or male work as pleasurable? More generally, how did the press fit into the wider context of the entertainment industry: the theatre, travel, music, exhibitions, sport and shopping?
Not all of the press was devoted to leisure and its limits. What of that enormous sector that unashamedly named their focus as work-related: the trade and professional press, newspaper pages devoted to the stock market and commodity prices, articles worrying over women in the workplace, over the masculinity of the civil servant, or over the demands of labourers on strike?
Finally, what of the "cultural work" of the Victorian press? What was the function of the press in and on society? How might that cultural work relate to the pleasures of leisure?
Suggested themes include but are not limited to:
- Technologies and economies of production, distribution and consumption
- The cultural work of the Victorian press
- Trade and professional publications
- The nature and locations of labour and leisure as they pertain to the press
- The culture industries in the press, including travel, theatre, concerts, exhibitions, sport
- Holiday Supplements
As always, the Research Society for Victorian Periodicals invites proposals for papers that address any aspect of nineteenth-century British magazines or newspapers, although those dealing with the conference theme are particularly welcome.
Submissions: Please e-mail two-page (maximum) proposals for individual presentations or panels of three to Dr Clare Horrocks (C.L.Horrocks@ljmu.ac.uk) and Dr Andrew King (firstname.lastname@example.org). Please include a one-page C.V. with relevant publications, teaching, and/or coursework. Final papers should take 15 minutes (20 minutes maximum) to present. The deadline for submissions is February 1st 2011.
RSVP website: http://www.rs4vp.org/index.html