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Note: Neo-Victorian Studies accepts submissions for forthcoming general issues throughout the year. Please see the general CFP that follows the special issue CFP(s) below. For forthcoming special issues, please observe the relevant posted deadlines.


Special Issue 2021
Queering Neo-Victorianism Beyond Sarah Waters

Guest Editors: Caroline Koegler & Marlena Tronicke

Since the lesbian publishing sensation of the first of Sarah Waters’s trio of neo-Victorian novels, Tipping the Velvet (1998), nineteenth-century queerness has become an increasingly prominent trope across neo-Victorian media and criticism. On the one hand, neo-Victorian queerness functions as a means of recovering marginalised viewpoints and obscured histories, predominantly, though not exclusively, from the LGBTQI+ community. On the other hand, it serves as a strategic tool to negotiate both alliances and tensions between lesbianism and feminism, queer studies and gender theory, or gender-specific and queer-generic positionalities. This special issue will chart the current directions of queer neo-Victorianism, from its queer roots to its utopian potentials, exploring how notions of queerness as ‘against the norm’ continue to inform and transform neo-Victorian creative practice in a paradoxically more liberal but also more reactionary postmodern world. We invite critical essays and creative pieces that address the following questions: In what ways do queer readings of neo-Victoriana help us uncover which ‘outdated’ nineteenth-century norms and ideologies persist in present-day societies? How might such norms be constructively rethought through queer theory and neo-Victorian texts, in order to achieve more viable and inclusive subject positions? To what extent might we situate neo-Victorianism as an inherently queer project invested in redefining gendered and other forms of subjectivity or identity formation? In addition to welcoming contributions on more recent novels, films, etc. that are either explicitly or implicitly queer-themed, we are also interested in critically neglected neo-Victorian queer texts, such as Chris Hunt’s Street Lavender (1994), Isabel Miller’s Patience and Sarah (2005), or Jessica White’s A Curious Intimacy (2008), among others. Possible topics include (but are not limited to):


·        neo-Victorian cultural production and/as queer historiography

·        figurations of queered embodiment and ‘Other’ bodies

·        neo-Victorian queer politics and activism

·        intersectional neo-Victorian queerings of race, gender, able-bodiedness, age, and class

·        queer presences/absences in mainstream neo-Victorian productions and adaptations

·        queer oversights in the neo-Victorian ‘canon’

·        dialogues and dissonances between neo-Victorianism and queer studies

·        commodifications of queer neo-Victoriana

·        figurations of neo-Victorian queerness in visual media and art

 Please send 250-300 word proposals to the Guest Editors, Caroline Koegler at and Marlena Tronicke at, copying in, by 1 August 2019. Contributors will be advised of the editors’ decision by 1 October 2019, with articles due by 1 March 2020.


General Issue 2019/20

Neo-Victorian Studies is currently soliciting scholarly and creative work for its 2019/20 general issue. The editors welcome articles from established and early career scholars and creative artists on any topic related to the exploration of nineteenth-century legacies from twentieth/twenty-first-century perspectives. We encourage papers that push the understanding or cultural memory of the ‘Victorian’ beyond its usual temporal and geographical boundaries, investigating the politics of memorialisation, appropriation, adaptation and revision within inter-disciplinary frameworks and across multimedia. We seek work that expands current theoretical concepts of neo-Victorianism and actively interrogates the conditions under which the nineteenth century re-appears in and continues to inform our globalised present. We welcome work on issues as diverse as historical trauma; nationalism and legacies of empire; the politics of nostalgia; ‘the repressive hypothesis’; cultural and economic neo-colonialism/reverse colonisation; aesthetic and political ideologies; the ‘neo-Victorian’ as hybrid genre, mode, or trace; and the ‘after-lives’ of Victorian figures, texts and artworks. We invite projects that explore the different genres, cultures and spaces of re-doing the nineteenth century or that examine the neo-Victorian as style, performance and practice.

In addition to:
·        scholarly theoretical/critical articles of 6000-8000 words (plus bibliography)

·        creative pieces (any genre of creative writing or creative arts)

NVS also invites:
·        polemical pieces
·        interviews
·        notices of work in progress
·        reviews of relevant critical/creative publications in the field
·        critical/creative responses to previous contributions 

Please direct enquiries and send electronic submissions via email with Word Document attachment to the General & Founding Editor, Marie-Luise Kohlke, at Please consult our submission guidelines, prior to submission.

Special Issue 2018/19 (CFP CLOSED)
Neo-Victorian Trajectories of Wealth: Negotiations of Class and Material Inheritance

Guest Editor: Nadine Boehm-Schnitker

In the guise of her narrator in A Room of One’s Own (1928), Virginia Woolf wittily ponders the material foundations of the equality of the sexes:

My aunt, Mary Beton, I must tell you, died by a fall from her horse when she was riding out to take the air in Bombay. The news of my legacy reached me one night about the same time that the act was passed that gave votes to women. A solicitor’s letter fell into the post-box and when I opened it I found that she had left me five hundred pounds a year for ever. Of the two – the vote and the money – the money, I own, seemed infinitely the more important. (Woolf 1945: 38-39

Quite blatantly, equality boils down to money: colonial India provides the wealth required for women’s liberation in Britain. This special issue will explore the trajectories of wealth in the sense of the transmission of money, property and material possessions from the Victorian Age to the present, the ensuing social stratifications, and cultural representations of inherited fortunes. In whose hands are nineteenth-century riches concentrated today and in what ways does their conveyance through time impact on current cultures, particularly in the face of what Rolf Becker and Andreas Hadjar (2013) criticise as the “death of class”? How can neo-Victorianism be understood in economic terms to incorporate a self-conscious critique of the transmission of property into its body of research? If Victoriana has its origins in collectibles, as Cora Kaplan has shown (2007), it also seems worthwhile asking who owns Victoriana today. In what ways do trajectories of wealth influence how Victorian inheritances are negotiated publically and culturally by way of exhibitions and museums, trusts and foundations, donations and bequests? Several recent critical studies (Glendening 2013, Voigts, Schaff and Pietrzak-Franger 2014) have focused on inheritance in terms of evolutionary tropes employed to re-imagine the Long Nineteenth Century. In contrast, the more specific theme of neo-Victorian inheritance in terms of property, material objects, private collections, and handed-down social affluence and status remains underexplored. This special issue will investigate the manifold modes and modulations of the period’s legacies of wealth and accompanying sociocultural and political power and influence. We invite interdisciplinary contributions from scholars in the fields of literary, cultural and media studies, sociology, economics and history. Possible topics may include, but need not be limited to the following:

·        cultural legacies of the Victorian class system and period discourses on class

·        tropes and representations of individual, familial, ancestral, and national inheritance

·        the material, economic and social trajectories of inherited wealth

·        legal frameworks for the transmission of property (e.g. wills, primogeniture, bequests, charitable endowments, trusts, etc.)

·        the impact of birthright and inherited wealth: definitions, forms of transmission, (re-)distribution, and (mis)appropriation

·        (un)earned wealth

·        competing claims to the inherited past: contested ‘ownership’ of icons, monuments, properties, artworks, celebrity memorabilia, and public spaces

·        preserving legacies: museum and exhibition practices, donations/bequests, art markets, liabilities

Please send 250-word proposals to the guest editor Nadine Boehm-Schnitker at and by 2 August 2018, with 8000-word articles for selected proposals due by 1 March 2019. (Contributors will be advised of their abstract selection by 1 October 2018.) To be considered for inclusion, proposals should specifically address the special issue themes of inherited wealth in relation to class and material legacies.

Special Issue 2017/18 (CFP CLOSED)
Neo-Victorian Asia 

Guest Editor: Elizabeth Ho

Recent neo-Victorian scholarship has expanded the canon to explore examples of postcolonial, non-Anglocentric neo-Victorianism or neo-Victorian texts in translation, and critically examines neo-Victorian studies’ own colonising activities as it turns its attention to “global Victoriana” (Kaplan). This special issue contributes to the project of expanding and interrogating the geography of neo-Victorianism by drawing attention to Asia as a particularly fertile site of neo-Victorian production. Asia offers an opportunity to investigate the range of “improper postcolonialisms” (Ho) that have emerged in the aftermath of the British empire and, as a mnemic or representational strategy, neo-Victorianism can shed new light on topics such as neo-imperialism, still-existing colonialisms, race, gender and diaspora, to name but a few. However, Asia might also present neo-Victorian studies with interpretive obstacles and intercultural challenges if not outright resistance. This special issue seeks to examine the new perspectives that Asia might offer neo-Victorianism and vice versa. For the purposes of this issue, ‘Asia’ will be interpreted widely to include representations of Asia, Asians, and Asian culture in neo-Victorian works; ex-colonies of European empires; Asian colonization within Asia; and Asian locations that resisted or were enthralled by what ‘the Victorian’ represented. We encourage contributors to think widely beyond fiction and film to other media, including drama, architecture, dance, visual culture, art and politics. We also welcome essays treating neo-Victorian fiction and texts in translation or in languages other than English.  Topics might include but are not limited to:

·         neo-Victorian approaches to the after-effects of European colonial empires in Asia or Asian colonization and national expansion within Asia

·         colonial architecture, heritage conservation, adaptive reuse, Victorian space in postcolonial locations

·         ‘neo-Victorientalism’ and Asian aesthetics across genres and media, for example, steampunk, science fiction, videogames, anime and manga

·         Asian traffic – opium, slavery, coolies, migration, missionaries, travel literature –  and neo-Victorian texts

·         neo-Victorian exotics and erotics: opium dens, prostitution, harems, concubinage

·         neo-Victorian representations of race and bi-raciality

·         Asian adaptations of nineteenth-century texts; neo-Victorian adaptations of Asian texts

·         nineteenth-century borders and their conflicts past and present

·         Asian texts that expand the chronology of the neo-Victorian

·         theorising the ‘Asianisation’ of neo-Victorianism or the ‘neo-Victorianising’ of Asia

Please address enquiries and expressions of interest to the guest editor, Elizabeth Ho, at Abstracts, along with a short biographical note, will be due by 31 January 2016 and should be sent via email to the guest editor, with a copy to Successful submissions will be notified by 1 March 2016. Final articles and/or creative pieces and reviews will be due by 31 August 2016. Please consult the NVS website (submission guidelines) for further guidance.


Special Issue 2017/18 (CFP CLOSED)
Screening the Victorians in the Twenty-First Century

Guest Editor: Chris Louttit and Erin Louttit

Despite frequent predictions of their disappearance, appropriations of the Victorian era never quite seem to leave our film, television and computer screens. Indeed, in popular prime-time viewing from Doctor Who (2005-) to Sherlock (2010-) and Penny Dreadful (2014-), and in cinematic blockbusters such as Sweeney Todd (2007), Sherlock Holmes (2009) and Crimson Peak (2015), the Victorians remain a particularly visible part of present-day culture. This special issue will explore recent popular screen Victoriana ‘for the masses’ and the politics of its production, distribution, audience reception and consumption. We seek contributions that engage with the breadth of screen media, from big-budget film and television series produced by the likes of the BBC and Showtime to online web-series created by small production companies and non-professionals. How has screen Victoriana developed since the millennium? How might we address questions of neo-Victorianism’s periodization via the film medium? In a time when transnational co-production is increasingly common, how important are national origins and audiences in shaping neo-Victorianism on screen? What ‘sells’ these myriad moving images of the nineteenth century? Wherein resides their distinctive appeal and what meanings, values, and affects do audiences invest therein? Possible topics could include but are by no means limited to:

Please address enquiries and expressions of interest to the guest editors Chris Louttit at and Erin Louttit at Abstracts, along with a short biographical note, will be due by 15 March 2016 and should be sent via email to the guest editors, with a copy to Successful proposals will be notified by 15 April 2016. Completed articles and/or creative pieces, along with a short biographical note, will be due by 15 October 2016 and should be sent via email to the guest editors, with a copy to Please consult the NVS website (‘Submission Guidelines’) for further guidance.

Special Issue 2016 (CFP CLOSED)
Neo-Victorianism & Discourses of Education

Guest Editors: Frances Kelly and Judith Seaboyer

The nineteenth century saw the beginnings of mass education in Britain and elsewhere, while the more recent millennial turn has seen a range of reforms and ‘revolutions’ within educational systems world-wide, not least the insistent commercialisation of universities and a concomitant move to redefining educators and students as ‘service providers’ and ‘customers’ respectively. A large number of neo-Victorian novels are set in or engage with educational contexts, including universities, libraries, anatomy schools, private tutoring/governessing, ragged schools, and art colleges, mirroring the settings and concerns with Bildung in canonical works by Victorian writers such as Charles Dickens, Charlotte Brontë, and others. Just as significantly, however, are contemporary self-conscious engagements with inherited nineteenth-century ideas regarding the purposes and ethos of education, such as character building, civic identity formation, the connection between personal and societal development, issues of widening access, the inculcation of moral values and national ideologies, and the perception that education systems serve as ‘engines’ of the economy. Then as now, however, prevalent concerns and anxieties about the achievements and failings of education hardly constituted a monolithic uncontested discourse; rather they divided public opinion and provoked continuous political and societal debate, much as these same concerns continue to do today. This special issue will explore how neo-Victorian works contribute to this on-going debate by foregrounding the ‘origins’ of modern-day educational systems and approaches. What particular aspects of nineteenth-century education are highlighted and why? What are the main points of contention? How do today’s politicians appropriate (past) educational discourses for party-specific agendas? To what extent are nineteenth-century educational models proposed as alternatives to present-day problems in education? What nineteenth-century educational aims and ideals are depicted as still unfulfilled and unrealised? Possible topics may include, but need not be limited to the following:

·        the discourse of universal access and the move to ‘mass’ higher education

·         education as a means for national progress and economic development

·         Gradgrindean echoes of educational utilitarianism and measurable outcomes (performance statistics, league tables, proportional admission targets for economically disadvantaged groups, etc.)

·         representations and biofictions of educators and students past and present

·         curriculum changes and modifications, including tailoring courses to ‘consumer’ demand, the high proportion of nineteenth-century content (e.g. slavery, the British Empire, the US Civil War), links to conservative political agendas, targeted funding, and the recent valorisation of  Science and Technology over the disparaged Arts and Humanities

·         higher education, universities,  and the growing centrality of research and publication to institutional identities since the nineteenth century

·         Bildung and the Bildungsroman tradition (the idea of character formation, education in civic responsibilities, education as nation-building, etc.)

·         desired outcomes (the ideal of rational autonomy, personal development, societal prosperity and progress, production of a skilled workforce, national and international competitiveness, graduate attributes, etc.)

·         the emergence of disciplines at the nineteenth-century fin-de-siècle vs. more recent moves towards interdisciplinary teaching and research

·         the ethos of future pasts: nineteenth-century models, unrealised ambitions, and anticipated trajectories in education systems

·         discourses of liberal humanism and neo-liberalism, the impact on education of laissez-faire economics, and the revitalisation of (Smiles’) ‘self-help’ discourse

·         education and creativity, including Ruskinean notions of curiosity, mystery and wonder, discursive constructions of creativity, and the harnessing of creativity for  capitalism

·         education, industry, and the shift to a knowledge-based society in the information age

Please address enquiries and expressions of interest to the guest editors Frances Kelly at and Judith Seaboyer at Completed articles and/or creative pieces, along with a short biographical note, will be due by 15 October 2015 and should be sent via email to the guest editors, with a copy to Please consult the NVS website (‘Submission Guidelines’) for further guidance.


Special Issue 2016 (CFP CLOSED)
Performing the (Neo-)Victorian

Guest Editors: Beth Palmer and Benjamin Poore

This special issue will explore the ways in which modern cultures have re-worked the Victorian past through performance. As Marvin Carlson has famously suggested, theatre is a haunted practice, summoning up ghosts of past productions, styles and performances, which are often inherited from the Victorian age. Present-day live representations of the Victorians inevitably mix elements of the ‘old theatre’ – nineteenth-century auditoria, costume and spectacle - with ‘new performance’, such as projections, recorded sound, and different configurations of performance space, actor-audience relations, performance styles and scripting or devising practices. This special issue seeks to examine such haunted interactions between old and new performance both in the theatre and beyond the stage. The guest editors invite contributions from those working across a range of arts disciplines, both scholars and practitioners, who can elaborate and analyse the ways in which the Victorians have been performed in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. While fiction and film have enjoyed scholarly attention in the field of neo-Victorian Studies drama, theatrical entertainments, music, dance, visual and audio cultures are all areas which have been relatively neglected. This special issue seeks to extend the existing neo-Victorian canon and firmly place performance as a practice heavily invested in the afterlives of Victorian culture.Topics might include but are not limited to:

·        Theorising neo-Victorian performance

·        Adapting (neo-) Victorian texts for performance

·        Understanding nostalgic performance, re-enactment,  commemoration and heritage

·        Satirising the Victorians and investigating comic performances

·        Neo-Victorian theatre and drama

·        Neo-Victorian dance and music

·        Neo-Victorian audio and visual cultures

·        Performing the (neo-)Victorian in the digital world

·        Probing the inceptions of neo-Victorian drama as far back as Patrick Hamilton’s Gaslight (1938) or Virginia Woolf’s Freshwater (1935), or earlier

·        Translating and adapting neo-Victorian performances for new cultural settings

Please address enquiries and expressions of interest to the guest editors Beth Palmer at and Benjamin Poore at Completed articles and/or creative pieces, along with a short biographical note, will be due by 15 July 2015 and should be sent via email to both guest editors, with a copy to Please consult the NVS website (‘Submission Guidelines’) for further guidance.


Special Issue 2016 (CFP CLOSED)
Neo-Victorian Sexploitation

Guest Editors: Maria Isabel Romero Ruiz and Inmaculada Pineda Hernández

Neo-Victorian works display an obsessive interest in sexualised bodies and their physical and aesthetic exploitation, whether for pleasure, profit, pornography or outright abuse. Contemporary culture still contends with many of the sexual issues that precipitated public debate, scandals or panics in the nineteenth century, ranging from homosexuality, prostitution, pornography, incest, paedophilia, reproductive rights, sex crimes, sexually transmitted diseases, and human trafficking to sexual slavery.  Arguably, the return to the re-imagined nineteenth century becomes a means both of tracing these social phenomena’s genealogy and of working through their repercussions in our own time. Not least, the emergence of the scientific disciplines of sexology, gynecology, and anthropology produced corresponding idioms of hysteria and instinct, purity and contamination, forbidden desires, deviance, and taboo. These continue to inform today’s socio-legal contexts, which define and regulate sexual practices and public morality. This special issue of Neo-Victorian Studies aims to investigate the centrality of sexploitation and the desired/desiring body in neo-Victorian discourse, both in the Arts and within wider culture, from new chastity campaigns to contemporary sex abuse scandals, from gay rights activism to steampunk fashion, from burlesque to glamorisations of sex work. It will address the crucial role of sexploited neo-Victorian bodies, their representation and reception, the (un)ethical implications of strategies such as performativity, scopophilia, voyeurism, ‘sexsation’ and biofictional exposé, and the queer tensions arising between marginality and norms. Possible topics may include, but need not be limited to the following:

·      exhibitions of raced and sexually ‘colonised’ bodies

·       representations of the nineteenth-century sex and pornography trades

·       voyeuristic displays of non-normative sexualities

·       disability and the prurient gaze

·       representations of sex crimes and sexual deviance, including remediations of child sex abuse

·       sex and violence in steampunk culture

·       biofiction’s scopophilia and celebrity exposés

·       modes of resistance/resilience to sexual victimisation

·       the role of gender and genre (Gothic, detective fiction, sensation fiction, etc.) in depictions of sexual violence

·        neo-Victorian conceptions of slavery and implicit mirrorings of current cases of human trafficking

·       medical sexploitation and/or constructed relationships between social contamination and sexually transmitted diseases

·       the role of past and contemporary sexual policy and politics in neo-Victorian forms and critiques of sexploitation

Please address enquiries and expressions of interest to the guest editors, Maria Isabel Romero Ruiz at and Inmaculada Pineda Hernández at Completed articles and/or creative pieces, along with a short biographical note, will be due by 31 July 2015 and should be sent via email to the guest editors, with a copy to Please consult the NVS website (‘Submission Guidelines’) for further guidance.