Lecture & Seminar on Alice in Wonderland, Universität Leipzig 13.&15.12.2016

I am excited to return to my alma mater to lecture on Lewis Carroll & Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, and what potential for original research historicist and interdisciplinary approaches to literature have to offer. In an accompanying seminar I will explore the aspects of play and game in children’s literature through Lewis Carroll’s interest in the two fields. Examining Alice and children’s literature as play or game, the seminar will explore what is being played with, by what means, and what insights into Victorian culture this can offer.

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Call for Papers ‘George MacDonald’s Scotland’ Conference 19-21 July 2017, University of Aberdeen

gmd-conf-logoThe organisers are excited to announce that the Call for Papers is now open for this three-day conference, which will be held from Wednesday 19th to Friday 21st of July 2017 in the Old Aberdeen Campus of the University of Aberdeen. It will explore all aspects related to the Scottish upbringing, education and heritage of the cleric, polymath and writer of fantastic literature George MacDonald. It aims to fathom the importance of this facet in his enduring literary, theological cultural impact upon a wide circle of thinkers and writers such as H. G. Wells, G.K. Chesterton, and the Inklings.

Keynote speakers include Dr David Robb (University of Dundee), Dr Dimitra Fimi(Cardiff Metropolitan University) Dr John Pazdziora (Shantou University) and Dr Colin Manlove (University of Aberdeen).

This event will draw together an international community of scholars to discuss his Scottish heritage as an overlooked aspect of MacDonald scholarship. In this context, it will refocus attention to the unique resources available within the North East of Scotland. In conjunction with University of Aberdeen’s Special Collections, attendees will be able to explore a selection of MacDonald’s manuscripts and letters through workshops and exhibitions. There will be an opportunity for delegates to visit the MacDonald’s birth place Huntly, and see further resources held in the town’s Brander Library which is not usually available to the general public.

Proposals are invited for 20 minute papers, or panel proposals of three speakers, which will explore MacDonald in contexts that may include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Scottish identity and use of Scottish settings
  • Scottish religion and church reform, esp. Calvinism
  • Scottish philosophical movements, esp. the works of Thomas Carlyle
  • Scottish Education
  • Scottish science, esp. Chemistry, Medicine, and Psychology; the works of Alexander Bain, William Gregory
  • MacDonald and Scottish novelists esp. Margaret Oliphant, R. L. Stevenson; aspects of nation building
  • Scottish folklore, art, magic and mysticism, and children’s literature
  • Celticism; Irish, Gaelic and Cymric studies
  • Representation of Scottish cities, esp. MacDonald’s home town of Huntly
  • The inclusion of Doric dialect in MacDonald’s novels
  • The impact and influence of MacDonald’s legacy within North East Scotland

Submissions should include the paper title, abstract (250 words), and a brief biography. Panel proposals should include abstracts (250 words) for individual papers in addition to a brief (max. 200 words) outline of the panel theme and title. All submissions should be sent to gmaberdeen2017@gmail.com Submissions for workshops or alternative forms of presentation are also particularly welcome.

The deadline for applications is March 1st 2017 Successful proposals will be contacted in early April 2017.

Any queries should be addressed to the conference organisers, Rebecca Langworthy, Franziska Kohlt, or Derek Stewart via the conference email address in the first instance: gmaberdeen2017@gmail.com

You can download a PDF copy of the Call for Papers here, and follow the conference on facebook and twitter.

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Creepy Victorians: Victorian Literature and Insects for #NIW2016

I wrote a blog on the Victorians’ fascination with insects for
National Insect Week 2016, featuring some stunning entomological fashion illustrations from the Punch magazine, space-insects, and Alice’s adventures as naturalist in Through The Looking-Glass – read the blog here!

Follow National Insect Week on twitter with the hashtag #NIW2016 and @insectweek, and on www.nationalinsectweek.co.uk/

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‘The real-life inspiration for the Mad Hatter and his Tea Party’

A press release for my article ‘The Stupidest Tea-Party in All My Life’: Lewis Carroll and Victorian Psychiatric Practice‘, published in the Journal of Victorian Culture, is now available here. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me with any enquiries.

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‘Alice in the Asylum’ article on The Conversation

In a new article on The Conversation I am exploring the reality of Victorian lunatic asylums in relation to Disney’s latest Alice adventure, Alice Through the Looking Glass. To learn more about the real mad tea parties of the Victorians, mad march hares and hatters, this way.
EDIT: The article ‘Alice à l’asile’ is now also available in French!

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Talk & Article on Lewis Carroll and Victorian Psychiatric Practice

I will be giving a talk on Lewis Carroll and his engagement with Victorian Psychiatric Practise at the Lewis Carroll Society Meeting (Art Worker’s Guild, London, 8th of April 2016). The talk is based on an article which has appeared in the Journal of Victorian Culture. Click here for more details on the talk!

tea party

Find out more about Mad Tea-Parties, Mad Hatters and March Hares!

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Frog Murder Christmas

Happy [weird Victorian] Christmas…?

Weird Christmas


It’s a joke, right?

It has to be. There’s no way this can be sentimental. There’s no remote possibility one could look at this and think of the holidays without the caption, right?

One thing’s certain: this card is far and away the most popular I’ve ever posted. It has thousands, THOUSANDS of reblogs and likes. It’s travelled in every genre and category of reposting blog I can imagine, from simple holiday things to S&M tumblrs to grandmothers to furry fans. This one struck a chord.

But why, exactly?

Part of me wants to believe that this card is a joke, plain and simple. But there are so many other odd ones where the humor is tinged with something “jolly” or “festive” that it makes me skeptical. This card is almost too ironic, too “modern,” to be the kind of humor that usually passes on these old cards. It…

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