The Business of a Woman’s Life: Female Authorship, Celebrity and Fandom in the Long Nineteenth Century

CFP: The Business of a Woman’s Life:  Female Authorship, Celebrity and Fandom in the Long Nineteenth Century

An interdisciplinary conference to be hosted by the University of Reading, 26th March 2018.

Keynote Speaker (provisional): Prof. Alexis Easley, University of St. Thomas

Emily Midorikawa and Emma Claire Sweeney will also participate in a panel discussion about women’s literary friendships, drawing on their research for their recent book A Secret Sisterhood: The Hidden Friendships of Austen, Bronte, Eliot and Woolf (Aurum Press, 2017).

Conference website:

Literature cannot be the business of a woman’s life, and it ought not to be. The more she is engaged in her proper duties, the less leisure will she have for it even as an accomplishment and a recreation.

— Robert Southey to Charlotte Brontë, 1837

This interdisciplinary conference aims to explore the wide variety of women’s engagement with literary and theatrical cultures in the long-nineteenth century as authors, performers and audience members. Literary and dramatic pursuits brought women into the public consciousness not only as creators and critics, but also as fans and consumers. This conference develops the transdisciplinary perspectives of fan studies and audience engagement research back into the pre-twentieth century era. Scholars are invited from the fields of literary studies, social history, cultural studies, readership studies, book history, fan studies, and history of leisure and recreation to foster dialogues on the subject of nineteenth-century female creativity.

We invite proposals of 300 words for 20 minute presentations relating to the conference theme.

Topics may include, but are not limited to:

  • Responses to women’s literature, reading, authorship • Women’s literary ephemera • Female authors in conversation • Gender and dramatic/celebrity performance • Gender and performativity – of reading, writing etc. • The promotion and marketing for cultural events and publications featuring women, and/or aimed at a female audience • Women and the literature of professionalization.

Please send your abstract, and a 100 word biographical note, to organiser Evan Hayles Gledhill by 30 November 2017 at:



About Cindy

Associate Professor in the Department of English Literature at the University of Reading. Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.
This entry was posted in Department of English Literature news and events and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.