Social Media

Remembering VSAWC 2015

25 June 2015

VSAWC 2015 (April 10 to 11, 2015):*

Victorian Bodies

at the Manteo Lakeside Resort in Kelowna, BC


A link to linear version of our story if you prefer:


Conference organizers would like to thank the following sponsors:

The Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies at UBCO


Victorian Review


Massey College


Another VSAWC Conference has Come and Gone

19 August 2014

Catch up on the fun had below! We hope to see everyone next year!



Victorian Review Site Preview: Interviews

22 January 2014

At the annual VSAWC conference last year, the team at Victorian Review interviewed upcoming and established scholars about their research. We previewed four of these interviews over the holiday break, and more will soon follow on the redesigned Victorian Review website. For now, catch up on what you might have missed.

Interview with Sarah Bull

Interview with Monica Flegel

Interview with Paisley Mann

Interview with Keridiana Chez

— Caley



Victorian Review Site Preview: Interview with Keridiana Chez (VSAWC 2013)

19 January 2014

Image from Mostly Movies

Keridiana Chez met with us to discuss her article from the Victorian Review 37.1, the Spring 2012 issue, “You Can’t Trust Wolves No More Nor Women”: Canines, Women, and Deceptive Docility in Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Ms. Chez’s article addresses the “problematic husband-wife and master-pet relations” (89) in the novel.  She examines English women and their affection for their pets, in relation to its effect on marital life. “The structural positioning of women and dogs is surprisingly similar,” she notes, “and the treatment of rabid dogs mimics the way that men were supposed to treat the women that they loved as well.” English women and their “chiens de luxe” are cast in the same light, suggesting that domesticated women, like domesticated dogs, are public and private hazards. As she asserts in the Victorian Review, idle women are spoiled, useless, and “deceptively docile household member[s]” (77). Furthermore, in Dracula the rabid pet wolf Bersicker, and other pets, are presented as being highly susceptible to rabies, and women, as keepers of these luxurious pets, are more likely than men to be bitten and infected with rabies, or worse, vampirism.

Keridiana Chez 

Keridiana Chez is a PhD candidate working on her dissertation “The Affective Uses of Dogs: Pet-Keeping in Nineteenth-Century England and America” at City University of New York Graduate Center. She is an alumnus of New York University School of Law and State University of New York at Binghamton.

– Sabrina Schoch, Constance Crompton, and Ruth Knechtel

For previous entries in this series, see our interview with Sarah Bull, Monica Flegel, and Paisley Mann.


Victorian Review Site Preview: An Interview with Paisley Mann (VSAWC 2013)

6 January 2014

Paisley Mann’s article “Memory as ‘Shifting Sand’: The Subversive Power of Illustration in George Du Maurier’s Peter Ibbetson” explores the unreliability of memory in Du Maurier’s novel, which follows the life of its eponymous hero Peter Ibbetson. In this autobiographical fiction, Ibbetson claims and attempts to prove that he can telepathically communicate with The Duchess of Towers, also known as his childhood friend Mimsey, through dreams. Mann’s research examines Du Maurier’s accompanying illustrations, supposedly provided by Ibbetson, through the lens of the unreliable narrator. Multiple illustrations are provided for each memory, initially at the time of first remembrance, and then again when Ibbetson and Mimsey travel through their memories together. These illustrations do not match and these irregularities, Mann claims, “suggest a connection that Peter fails to recognize” (177). Mann gives historical context for her interpretation, reminding her readers that Frances Power Cobbe insisted that the mind and, by association, memory is merely “safe for an hour from obliteration or modification, after being formed” (162). The narrative loses almost all stability, Ibbetson suffers a mental break after he is charged with murder and sentenced to death.

It was her work with DuMaurier’s Trilby that brought Ms. Mann to her current work on verbal and visual representations of Paris:


Paisley Mann

Paisley Mann received her Bachelor and Master of arts in English at the University of Victoria. She now attends the University of British Columbia where she is working on her Doctorate in English. Her current dissertation examines Paris and its representation in the culture and literature of the Victorian Age. Ms. Mann’s “Memory as ‘Shifting Sand’” can be found in the Victorian Review‘s Spring 2011, issue 37.1.

— Sabrina Schoch and Constance Crompton

For previous entries in this series, see our interview with Sarah Bull and Monica Flegel

Victorian Review Site Preview: An Interview with Monica Flegel (VSAWC 2013)

27 December 2013

Cat Ladies from "The Curious Brain"

We sat down to talk with Monica Flegel about animal studies at VSAWC 2013. Her paper at the conference, “Becoming Crazy Cat Lady: Victorian Spinsters and their Furry Kin,” builds on her work on Victorian animal and children’s rights, with a particular focus on the construction of the spinster and her cat as a type of family.

We asked Dr. Flegel to describe the nature of her research. She noted that, in general, people are under the impression that children acquired rights before animals and thus animals had fewer rights than children, which isn’t the case. Dr. Flegel argues that “children’s rights were about making children less like humans and more like animals at the end of the century.”

She briefly discussed the difference between pets and wild animals, specifically the domestication hierarchy. Dr. Flegel argues that pets are outside the default human-animal relationship. She suggests that domesticated animals do not represent nor symbolise the “true” animal, that the comparison is too simplistic. Pets, she says, “have a place in human culture, and can trouble concepts of the nuclear family.” On a controversial topic, we asked about her stance on the concept of humans and other animals, and “nonhuman animals.” Dr. Flegel contends that the term “nonhuman animals” suggests a speciesist approach. “Materially we do not live in the way that animals do,” she argues, “as Derrida said there is an abyss between us and other animals,” but pointing out the divide between animals and humans is not meant to suggest that humans are “better, and other, and higher” than animals, but that our alterity cannot be bridged “by saying that we are animals too.” Moreover, we can still have “ethical relations with animals without [suggesting] that we are all animals together.”

Monica Flegel

Monica Flegel is an Associate Professor in the Department of English at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, Ontario. Her research interests include Victorian Studies, Cultural Studies and children and animals. Dr. Flegel holds a Bachelor of Arts in Honours English from the University of Saskatchewan, a Masters degree in English from Dalhousie University, and a PhD of English from the University of Alberta. Her current research on Victorian pets is funded by the Social Science and Humanities Research Council.

– Sabrina Schoch, Constance Crompton, and Ruth Knechtel

For previous entries in this series, see our interview with Sarah Bull.


Victorian Review Site Preview: An Interview with Sarah Bull (VSAWC 2013)

19 December 2013

We sat down with Sarah Bull in April to discuss her Spring 2012 Victorian Review article “Purveyor of Garbage? Charles Carrington and the Marketing of Sexual Science in Late-Victorian Britain.” Her work examines the relationship between nineteenth century pornographic and sexual science texts. In her article, she argues that Charles Carrington, the preeminent producer of these texts, “perceived that science and pornography’s overlapping terrain” was quietly acknowledged by readers (56).

We asked Sarah about her new research:


She also shared what she thinks is the exciting development or new direction in Victorian Studies:


Sarah Bull

Sarah Bull is a graduate student at Simon Fraser University in BC’s Lower Mainland. Her dissertation “examines how, why, and to what effect sexual-scientific works circulated through the Victorian pornography trade,” under the supervision of Colette Colligan. Ms. Bull’s research interests include the history of science, Victorian literature, history of sexuality, and obscenity studies. Sarah Bull is the 2013 Victorian Review Editors Prize winner for her article “Purveyor of Garbage? Charles Carrington and the Marketing of Sexual Science in Late-Victorian Britain.”

– Sabrina Schoch, Constance Crompton, and Ruth Knechtel

Lazy Summer Edition

9 July 2013

From Pre--Raphernalia (click image for link)

All is quiet on the VSAWC front right now, so I thought I would take a moment to share with you some of my favourite bits of Victoriana on the web. Please share your favourite sites in the comments!


1) Pre-Raphernalia, run by illustrator and comic book artist Raine Szramski, explores the personalities, reputations, and scandals of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood through a series of comics. For further information on the project, I encourage you to check out the blog’s inaugural post. For lighter fair, take a look at Szramski’s post on Dickens’s review of Millais’s The Carpenter’s Shop. The post contains the memorable (and, for me, all purpose) phrase “When Dickens Attacks!”


2) If you are not already following Queen Victoria Tweets (@QueenVicTweets note: this link takes you to the Twitter account), well, you should be. For more information on the project, check out the associated website @QueenVicTweets (note: this link takes you to the project’s website). Here are some recent gems from the Twitter feed:


Finally, if you haven’t already, check out my previous post on print-making at DHSI 2013.

See you in August!

— Caley

Links of Interest (Long Weekend Edition)

17 May 2013
Queen Victoria

Image from Wikipedia

Link the First:

Queen Victoria’s Journals on-line resource. If you are in the UK, you can participate virtually. Click here for further information (event information courtesy of NAVSA).

If you are on Twitter, I recommend following Queen Victoria Tweets, which tweets Queen Victoria’s authentic diary entries on the day they were written from her Coronation onwards. My favourite tweet so far: “@QueenVicTweets: Walked. Felt very sulky and cross.”

Link the Second:

One last link before the long weekend. Check out this new blog post from the Journal of Victorian Culture Online about reading Dickens’s Tale of Two Cities in weekly instalments. Time for a weekend read-a-long?


As always, If you have a CFP or event you would like share on this website, please contact Caley Ehnes via e-mail ( or Twitter (@CaleyEhnes)


New Victoriana

13 May 2013

Every week I will update this post to feature posts and activities of interest to Victorianists.


For the Week of May 13, 2013:

If you are attending the NAVSA BAVS AVSA conference in Venice (lucky you!), you may want to prepare for your journey by joining the Stones of Venice reading group at the Journal of Victorian Culture Online. Click here for more information.

Check out Daniel Martin’s recent post on melancholia and the digitization of Victorian culture, inspired (in part) by the recent VSAWC conference.

Finally, a few less serious pieces:

via Twitter–a nineteenth-century image of Victorian lady academics. Enjoy!

via The Hairpin–thoughts on reading Wilkie Collins’s The Woman in White.
My personal favorite has to be number three: “Decided that someone should make a TV show in which Wilkie Collins and Dickens fight crime – supernatural crime”



Next Page »