This interdisciplinary seminar meets three or four times a semester to hear and discuss work in progress on topics in Victorian literature, history, art, science, and popular culture.  Both local and visiting speakers are featured.  Papers are not pre-circulated, and everyone is welcome to attend. Contact us if you would like to be added to the Victorian Literature and Culture email list.

Upcoming Events

Elizabeth Miller, University of California, Davis
Extraction Ecologies and Victorian Literature
Thursday, October 26, 2017 - 6:00pm
Room 133, Barker Center


This paper is taken from my current book project, “Extraction Ecologies and the Literature of the Long Exhaustion, 1830-1930,” which examines extraction capitalism as an ecological strategy in the century following the Industrial Revolution and asks how extraction left its mark on the literary, textual, and aesthetic forms of nineteenth-century Britain and its empire. While quarrying, mining, and the extraction of underground commodities are industries that long predate our period, nineteenth-century Britain saw a ramping up of extraction as the steam engine and other new technologies, including new explosives, contributed to an unprecedented acceleration in extraction and the global establishment of an extractivist version of ecological imperialism. The focus of my analysis here will be two key Victorian literary genres that depict human life in extraction-based society: provincial realism and the colonial adventure tale. If London novels, as Jesse Oak Taylor and Allen MacDuffie have recently demonstrated, are stories of fog, combustion, and consumption, we must go outside the city, to provincial and colonial settings, to find extraction’s forms in the nineteenth-century fictional landscape. Just as the rhythms of agricultural labor are bound up in the forms of the pastoral, I argue that the industrialized mining of finite, underground, non-living, and non-reproductive stores of material possessed social and aesthetic forms of its own, forms that are evident in Victorian fiction and its rendering of time, space, and labor.

Graduate Student Panel
Thursday, November 30, 2017 - 6:00pm
Room 110, Barker Center


Eliza Holmes
Harvard University

Jennifer Thomas
Brandeis University

Alyssa Bellows
Boston College


Adela Pinch
University of Michigan

Past Events 2017 - 18

Pamela Fletcher, Bowdoin College
The Belatedness of Work: Ford Madox Brown and the Problem of Realism

Past Events 2016 - 17

Aviva Briefel, Bowdoin College
"Freaks of Furniture": The Useless Energy of Haunted Things
Benjamin Morgan, University of Chicago
Fin du Globe: On Decadent Planets
New Work in Victorian Studies
Jeremy Melius, Tufts University
Vivisection and the Visual Arts
Arianne Chernock, Boston University
The Right to Rule and the Rights of Women in Victorian Britain
Numbers in the Novel: A Roundtable

Past Events 2015 - 16

Marah Gubar, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Sending Up the Cult of the Child
Aeron Hunt, Boston College
Military Relics: Thomas Hardy’s Soldiers and Sailors at Home
New Work in Victorian Studies
James Najarian, Boston College
Matthew Arnold and the Rivalries of Central Asia
Elaine Auyoung, University of Minnesota
Reading for the World

Past Events 2014 - 15

James Buzard, MIT
"He Can't Bear His Name": David Copperfield and the Thresholds of Modernity
William Cohen, University of Maryland, College Park
Why Is There So Much French in Villette?
Graduate Student Panel
Debra Gettelman, College of the Holy Cross
Imagining “Otherwise": Middlemarch’s Counterfictions
Lauren Goodlad, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Victorian Studies and the Longue Durée

Past Events 2013 - 14

Ellen Ross, Ramapo College
The Sisters of the People and Interwar London
Simon During, University of Brisbane
Kafka's Middlemarch
Rebecca Thorndike-Breeze, Northeastern University
Matthew Heitzman, Boston College
Marg Carkeet, Brandeis University
Graduate Student Panel
Rachel Ablow, SUNY Buffalo
Wounded Trees, Abandoned Boots: Thomas Hardy and the Homelessness of Pain
Anna Henchman, Boston University
Visualizing the Novel: Astronomy and Narrative Universes
Amy King, St. John's University
Seeing the Divine in the Commonplace: Seashore Natural History and Eliot’s Early Realism

Past Events 2012 - 13

Frances Ferguson
"Mill on Bentham and Coleridge (Again)"
Maia McAleavey, Boston College

"The Improper End: Aurora Floyd and Jude the Obscure"

Judith Pascoe
"Wuthering Heights, Japanese Style"
Graduate Student Panel
Harriet Ritvo, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
"A Touch of Class?: Hybridization, Breed, and Species in the Nineteenth Century"
Alison Byerly, Middlebury College
"Virtual Travel and Victorian Realism"
Rae Greiner
"Stupid Thackeray, or, Barry Lyndon"
David Kurnick
"Character in the Commons: The Case of George Eliot"

Past Events 2011 - 12

Karen Bourrier, Boston University
"Orthopaedic Deformity in the Nineteenth-Century Novel: Disability in *Madame Bovary*, *The Mill on the Floss*, and *Sir Richard Calmady*"
Graduate Student Panel: New Work in Victorian Studies
Yopie Prins, University of Michigan
“Metrical Discipline: Swinburne on The Flogging Block
Judith Plotz, The George Washington University
"Invisible Playmates: or Girl Ghosts and Adult Comfort in Ghost Stories by Burnett, Canton, and Kipling"
Matthew Rubery
“Canned Literature: The Book after Edison’s Phonograph”
Ivan Kreilkamp, Indiana University
"'Rare Forms:' Existlessness, Extinction, and Nonhuman Life in Hardy’s Lyrics"

Past Events 2010 - 11

Nicholas Daly, University College Dublin
"Bill Stickers Beware: The Frenzy of the Legible in the Victorian City"
Graduate Student Panel
Elaine Hadley, University of Chicago
"Partial War and Liberal Partiality in the Victorian Public Sphere"
Mary Wilson Carpenter, Queen's University
"Reviewing the Clinical Gaze: A Victorian Hospital Patient's Narrative"
Seth Koven, Rutgers University
"The Global Traffic in Matches and Match Girls"
Talia Schaffer, Queens College and the Graduate Center, CUNY
"Reorienting Victorian Families"