Queen Victoria & George Eliot: Lives and Afterlives
Loughborough University, UK
May 24-25, 2019
Professor Martin Hewitt (Anglia Ruskin University)
Rethinking the Victorians generationally:
The lives and afterlives of Darwin’s On the Origin of Species
Professor Beverley Rilett (University of Nebraska–Lincoln)
George Eliot’s Life in Biography
“it is curious how sometimes you can trace likenesses many generations back….”
(letter from Victoria to Leopold I of Belgium, 24 October 1843)
This conference will focus on the lives and afterlives of Queen Victoria and George Eliot, both born in 1819 and both defining figures in our understanding of the Victorian period. The double bicentenary also offers an exciting opportunity to reflect on how academic and public attitudes to the Victorian period have changed, and this conference will bring new research on Victoria and Eliot together with explorations of questions around periodisation and interpretation from leading academics and heritage sector professionals. How have biographies, fictionalisations and new discoveries about Queen Victoria and Eliot informed our understanding of their lives and afterlives? What was the effect of different literary, social and political networks and communities on Victoria and Eliot’s reputations, both during their lifetimes and after? How can new methodologies in the analysis of literature and history change our understanding of these women, and the Victorians more broadly? What do Victoria and Eliot represent today, and how have they become emblematic of the Victorian era itself? How has our understanding of what it meant to be a ‘Victorian’ and a ‘Victorianist’ transformed in the past two centuries?
The anniversary of Victoria’s birth is 24 May 2019. The conference will commence on this day and feature an innovative double structure, with the first day focusing on Victoria and Eliot as living figures in the nineteenth century, and the second day centering on representations of these figures in museums and heritage sites, biography, literature, and media (including new media such as video games, film and TV).
Through this dual focus we aim to foster dialogue between a range of disciplines, as well as bearing in mind the potentialities of these figures for outreach work, public engagement and alternative academic careers. How can we responsibly bring these two long-dead women to life for twenty-first century audiences?
We invite abstracts from a range of disciplines. Applications from postgraduates and early career researchers are particularly encouraged.
Topics might include, but are not limited to:
- Queen Victoria – lives, afterlives, biographies, adaptations, fictional representations
- George Eliot – lives, afterlives, biographies, adaptations, fictional representations
- New methodologies in Victorian studies
- Defining ‘the Victorian’, problematising the term ‘Victorian’
- Victorian generations – relationships between older and younger generations
- Afterlives – biographies and fictional representations (across media)
- Networks and communities – publishers, biographers, memoirists
Please send proposals of 250-300 words and a bio of 150 words to: EliotVictoria1819@gmail.com by 27 February 2019.
We will be offering a small number of PGR bursaries, thanks to generous sponsorship by the George Eliot Fellowship. Further information about applying for these will be made available in March.
You can now register for the conference here:
Waged – both days £80.00 / 1 day £45
PGRs/ECRs/unwaged – both days £50.00 / 1 day £35.00
Free to Loughborough University students
Organised by Emily Bell, Eleanor Dumbill and Sarah Parker, as part of the Cultural Currents, 1870-1930 research group. This event is generously supported by the Institute of Advanced Studies, Loughborough University and the George Eliot Fellowship.