Neo-Victorians

Last weekend I went to “Adapting the Nineteenth Century” at the University of Lampeter, and had a wonderful time! There were so many neo-Victorianists there I felt a bit of a fraud, since I’ve read and enjoyed Sarah Waters (it was nearly a Waters conference…) but that’s about it. I heard lots of papers which looked at how contemporary authors have appropriated aspects of the nineteenth century novel, and have a much longer to-read list now than before (Top of the list: The Crimson Petal and the White and The End of Mr Y). It’s fascinating, though, to see how we’re still so fascinated with the past (this has set me on the track of thinking about nostalgia as an aspect of memory) and how we are writing and re-writing histories in entirely different ways.
I was particularly fascinated to hear about the Brotherhood of Ruralists, who were a neo-Pre-Raphaelite group formed in the Seventies and appropriated many of the artistic and also literary ideals of the PRB, and I’m looking forward to going to see their exhibition in Falmouth later this year.
I have no time to go into details, but it was a most enjoyable conference – made more so by red wine and feminism on Friday night. More weekends should be like that!

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