OCTOBER 13-14, 2017


Keynote Address Featuring

Dr. Pamela Gilbert, University of Florida

“Suffering has been stronger than all other teaching, and has taught me to understand what your heart used to be. I have been bent and broken, but – I hope – into a better shape.” -Charles Dickens, Great Expectations
“The reaction of joy was as passionate as his grief had been, and he hugged his recovered gems to his bosom.” -Arthur Conan Doyle, “The Adventure of the Beryl Coronet”


Recovery is a central desire of Victorian culture and literature. The ailing seek their former vigor: from Dickensian convalescents to the hopeful purchasers of patent concoctions. The grieving aspire toward their former faith: as with the Tennyson of In Memoriam, and the countless bereaved adorned with mourning jewelry. From popular ballad to fine art painting, “fallen” women vainly attempt to recover honor and social inclusion. Antiquarians and archeologists strive after the glories of lost civilizations, and grown men grasp at the evanescent innocence of childhood. Sometimes novels figure the restoration of lost property as necessary to individual or community harmony, as when Daniel Deronda claims his grandfather’s chest and connects with his heritage; but some eagerly sought family treasures are better left missing, like the Verinders’ ill-gotten diamond.

As a scholarly field, Victorian studies itself has been shaped by an impulse toward recovery: from historicist and archival work, to restoring the discourse of marginalized peoples or forgotten writers, or reclaiming and reimagining critical methods of prior generations. For the 46th annual meeting of the VICTORIANS INSTITUTE, we invite papers that thematize any aspect of recovery, either within the Victorian era, or within interdisciplinary Victorian studies and related university pedagogy.

Possible topics include:

Contemporary Professional Issues:

Rediscovered authors

Revivifying the humanities (V21 etc)

Reclaimed critical approaches (New Formalism, etc)

Archival finds and archive digitization

Restoring marginalized Victorian discourses (working-class, colonized peoples, etc)

Reimagining the canon





Physical and psychological healing
Repossession and recovering objects
Spiritual mediums/reconnecting with the dead
Rehabilitating fallen women
Reclaiming the agricultural past
Returns to childhood
Commemoration: personal and national
The Temperance Movement
Economic recovery
The Rest Cure
Seaside spas and health resorts
Long lost relatives return
Recovered artifacts of lost civilizations
Architectural renovation or restoration
Sanitation and public health initiatives


Please send 300-word abstract and brief CV to Gretchen Braun at, MS Word or PDF format. Proposals should include contact information. Panel proposals should include contact information for all participants, a synopsis of the panel, and abstracts for all papers.

All proposals are due by Thursday, 15 June, 2017.

VI offers limited travel subventions for graduate students whose institutions provide limited or no support. More information about travel awards and the application process will be posted to Please visit for information about the conference as it becomes available, the Victorians Institute, and the Victorians Institute Journal.



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