CFP: George MacDonald conference

Among the other crazy things I do, I’m also doing the following, aiding the redoubtable efforts of my lovely colleague Ginger Stelle. You heard it first on Paradoxes.

Call for Papers:

George MacDonald among His Contemporaries

A one day conference hosted by the School of English, University of St Andrews

30 March 2011

Kennedy Hall, St Andrews, Scotland

George MacDonald (1824-1905) is most often discussed in terms of what came after: his role in the development of fantasy literature and his influence on writers such as C. S. Lewis and
J. R. R. Tolkien. Though providing valuable insights into MacDonald’s legacy, this emphasis tends to obscure his involvement in his own time. MacDonald was a Victorian. His works attest to his wide knowledge of his time and culture, and his deep engagement with the issues of the day.

George MacDonald among His Contemporaries looks to re-establish MacDonald’s place within his own context. We invite proposals for a variety of disciplines for papers and presentations which offer critical reinvestigation of MacDonald’s work. We particularly welcome papers that look beyond MacDonald’s fantasies to consider other aspects of his works.

Relevant topics might include:

  • examinations of MacDonald and social issues, such as women’s rights and suffrage, racism and abolition, poverty and social welfare, animal rights, et al.
  • genre criticism of MacDonald: historical fiction, sensationalism, romance, et al.
  • gothic influences on MacDonald
  • medievalism in MacDonald’s poetry and fiction.
  • MacDonald and science or pseudo-science: evolution, vivisection, and mesmerism
  • MacDonald’s literary criticism
  • MacDonald and Victorian readings of Shakespeare
  • critical re-examination of MacDonald’s poetry
  • the interplay of poetry and prose in MacDonald’s works
  • the interfacing of visual arts and MacDonald’s narratives, notably his connection to the Pre-Raphaelites
  • MacDonald’s role in the Scottish preaching tradition
  • MacDonald in relation to other Victorian literary figures: Dickens, Eliot, Kingsley, the Rossettis, Tennyson, Ruskin, et al.
  • MacDonald and Scotland: Burns, Scott, Hogg, the Highlands, et al.

Keynote speakers will be Stephen Prickett and David Robb.

Papers will be 20 minutes. Please submit a 300-word abstract, in .doc, .docx, or .pdf format, with biographical information to Ginger Stelle (gs345 [at] and John Patrick Pazdziora (jpp6 [at] before 15 January 2010.


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