RSVP News

newsRead on for all the latest from RSVP! This page publishes announcements from the Society, including news about the conference, Victorian Periodicals Review, and our various awards and prizes.

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Call for Papers: Editing the Twentieth Century

Members of the RSVP community may be interested in the following CFP:

‘Editing the Twentieth Century’, The British Library. 5 September 2017

Call for Papers: What do editors actually do? What makes a good editor? And more importantly, what makes a successful editor? From the Times Literary Supplement to Les Temps Modernes and Novyi Mir, from The Criterion to Die neue Rundschau and Spare Rib, there can be no doubting the influence of literary-intellectual magazines in selecting and shaping our cultural knowledge, our beliefs and values. But we still know surprisingly little about how these crucial cultural institutions were led and managed and even how day-to-day editorial duties were undertaken in practice. Above all, we lack any kind of comparative perspective on the role of the periodical editor, both across national and historical boundaries and across different types of publications. How does the role of editor compare between the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, for example, or between the French and British intellectual fields? How does it vary across literary reviews, newspapers, academic journals and commercial magazines? And in all these cases, how can we reconcile the reality of editorial practice – so often mundane and resolutely collective –with the stubbornly persistent myth of the singular charismatic editor?

As part of the British Academy funded project, Editing the Twentieth Century, we invite papers and workshop contributions addressing these issues for a one-day event to be held at the British Library on 5 September 2017 exploring the key role played by the editors of periodical publications throughout the long twentieth century. As well as specific studies of individual editors and publications, we particularly welcome comparative analyses (both chronological and geographical), theoretical approaches, and reflections from practitioners. Contributors may choose to address one or more of the following issues:

  • Editorial success and failure
  • Editorial responsibilities, competences and dispositions
  • Editorial foundations, programmes, and manifestos
  • Editorial succession
  • Editorial leadership and administration
  • Editorial creativity and sociability
  • Editorship as authorship
  • Collective and uncredited editorship
  • Comparative studies across periodical genres, national contexts, and historical periods

Proposals of around 250 words for 20-minute papers should be sent to editors.bl.17@gmail.com by 15 March 2017. We also welcome proposals for joint panels of three or four related papers or other forms of presentation and discussion.

Memorial Service for Michael Wolff

A memorial gathering to celebrate the life and work of Michael Jonas Wolff will be held on Sunday, February 19, 2017 at 9:30AM at the Jewish Community of Amherst.

There will then be a gathering back at the Marriott Courtyard hotel for a light lunch after the service.

Jessica, Jeremy and Judith Wolff ask that if you would like to share a brief ​tribute or ​memory of Michael, to email them in advance.

RSVP Annual Conference CFP Extended: 15th Feb

The call for papers for our next conference Borders and Border Crossings is still open and the website can be found here. The conference will take place at

Freiburgfreiburg University, Germany, 27th – 29th July 2017.

RSVP is an interdisciplinary and international organization welcoming all scholars interested in the richly diverse world of the 19th-century British press. Please send a proposal (250 words maximum) and a short CV (no more than 200 words) to rs4vp2017@gmail.com by 15th February 2017. Individual presentations should be fifteen to twenty minutes, and proposals for panels of three are welcome. Please include a brief rationale for the panel along with an abstract and CV for each presenter.

Linda H. Peterson Fellowship: Deadline February 1, 2017

In 2017 the Research Society for Victorian Periodicals will award one Linda H. Peterson Fellowship to provide a researcher with the most valuable scholarly resource—time. The Peterson Fellowship is intended to support, first and foremost, primary research on the nineteenth-century newspaper and periodical press. Therefore, eligible projects must engage primary sources, whether those sources appear in print, manuscript, or digital facsimile. The amount of the award will be $17,500. To apply for the Fellowship please see the details of eligibility and application procedure here.

Call for Papers: ‘Visual Design: the Periodical Page as a Designed Surface’

Call for Papers: ‘Visual Design: the Periodical Page as a Designed Surface’

International Conference of the DFG research unit “Journalliteratur“ (FOR 2288), 23-25 November 2017, Philipps-Universität Marburg (Germany)

The conference “Visual design: the periodical page as a designed surface” is concerned with the visual design of the Journal, taken to mean the whole spectrum of periodical print publications, including amongst others newspapers and magazines. Interest is thus focused on the periodical page (or double-page spread) as a visible printed surface on which words and images appear in a designed context. The premise is that the written and pictorial content of the periodical are not realized in abstraction (as disembodied and placeless), but remain tied to the materiality of the periodical, which provides for a two-dimensional and sequential arrangement of diverse visual elements. The design governs how words and pictures appear across the broad spectrum of different media formats, as illustrations or in the typography or layout. The aim of the conference is to identify and outline periodical-specific elements of (double) page design, not least in comparison to the formats of other media, especially the book. Here the research unit is concentrating on German-language forms from the long 19th century. Older and more recent examples may also be discussed within the framework of the conference. Papers on periodical cultures in other languages are also explicitly encouraged. Case studies will be welcomed, as will historical and international comparisons, or studies comparing different media. The content and context of the following subject areas should be addressed:

  1. Preconditions: technology / economics / organization

The visual presentation of a printed page, the way words and pictures are arranged on it, e.g. the way they are distributed over columns or framed, is linked with technical requirements, e.g. with paper manufacturing, or the possibilities of typesetting, printing or binding. Page design is also influenced, however, by processes of organization and distribution, as well as by economic considerations. These connections, in turn, are subject to historical change: the acceleration of production processes as a result of technological developments, the improvement of distribution channels, or the diversification of the journalistic and literary market. Some possible questions on this complex might be: to what extent are historical caesurae in layout linked with technological innovations? Which specific forms of work emerge in different countries or in particular magazine formats? How does the organization of work processes shape the interplay of image and word? What layout schemes were recognized as especially efficient? What aspects of visual design practice are emphasized by the terms visual design, graphic design, layout, mise en page, typography etc.?

  1. Forms: aesthetics / design

Areas of interest from an aesthetic point of view are the rules determining page makeup, which are also subject to historical changes. These include prevailing logics of composition in the area of typography and layout, the way the reader’s gaze and attention are directed by the design and arrangement of areas of text and image on the periodical page (or double-page spread), and the rules and techniques for optimizing perception by means of typeface or image composition, typography, illustration and layout. The combination of texts and images constitutes a particular formal problem. Relevant questions might be, for example: what varying design strategies characterize different magazine cultures? What forms of the visuality of writing emerge in specific media and formats? What methods and terms can be used to describe the complex connections on a page and between the pages? What links are established between image and text?

  1. Consequences: cultures of reception / semantics / effects

The designed surface of the periodical page is intended to guide its own reception by means of optical arrangements. The visual design shapes specific reader expectations corresponding to the given media format, and suggests certain meanings, but at the same time it works on the premise that readers are able to understand the visual codes. As the number of pictures has increased since the 19th century, the relationship between image and word has taken centre stage. The connections created between pictures and words may be semantically contrasting, indifferent or mutually affirming. But pictures can also form the flow of words into a textual image, or make the page look like a three-dimensional arrangement. Relevant questions in this context might include: how is the content linked with the typography and layout? What directions of looking and reading are allowed for by the design, the columns and frames? To what extent can it be assumed that the contemporary audience had the skills to decipher the semantics of the typography and layout? Can intentions and concepts relating to the directing of readers’ attention be linked with the historical context? What role is played by frames, columns, and other methods for dividing up the page?

Submissions: Submissions are invited for 25-minute conference presentations. The conference languages are generally English and German, but presentations in French are also welcomed. Travel and accommodation costs will be covered by the research unit organizing the event. To apply, please submit abstracts (maximum length 500 words) and a short CV (maximum 150 words), which should be sent to journale@uni-marburg.de by 15 January, 2017.

The conference is being organized by subprojects 3 (Volker Mergenthaler, Nicola Kaminski, Stephanie Gleißner), 4 (Andreas Beck) and 5 (Jens Ruchatz, Vincent Fröhlich).

Please contact journale@uni-marburg.de if you have any questions.

Website of the research unit: www.rub.de/journalliteratur