Centre for Studies in Literature

Wounded Bodies, Tortured Souls

Annual Postgraduate Symposium 2012

KEYNOTE SPEAKER: Dr Marie-Luise Kohlke, University of Swansea 

In recent years the study of trauma has become central to contemporary conceptualisations of personal and collective narratives of pain and loss. Often identified as a ‘modern’ phenomenon, a product of industrialisation and modernisation, trauma emerged as a distinct pathology alongside the rise of a middle-class readership, and accounts of physical and psychological wounds abound in Victorian fiction. In turn, Victorian tropes of trauma have been appropriated by the neo-Victorian novel, often in ways which offer a self-conscious or critical engagement with past representations.

This conference seeks to examine the intersection between the physical and psychical representation of trauma in both Victorian and Neo-Victorian literature. It aims to explore the importance of the relationship between the mind and the body, as well as the relationship between Victorian literary representations and neo-Victorian appropriations. We welcome papers examining representations of trauma in Victorian and neo-Victorian fiction, as well as contributions from the fields of literary theory, cultural studies, and the visual arts.

Possible areas of interest include, but are not limited to:

  • Victorian trauma narratives
  •  Pain in Victorian art, literature and culture
  • Neo-Victorian traumatic appropriations
  •  ‘Wound Culture’
  • Traumatic performances (race/gender/sexuality, etc.)
  •  Imperial trauma