2015 Robert and Vineta Colby Scholarly Book Prize – Winner Announced!

The Research Society for Victorian Periodicals is delighted to announce the winner of the 2014 Robert and Vineta Colby Scholarly Book Prize – Caroline Bressey, author of Empire, Race, and the Politics of Anti-Caste (Bloomsbury, 2014). The Colby Prize is awarded to the scholarly book that most advances the understanding of the nineteenth-century British newspaper or periodical press. The selection committee praised Caroline Bressey’s book as innovative and conceptually engaging, citing its challenge to metropolitan-centric modelings of transnational and trans-Atlantic traffic in ideas, people, and publications and its careful contextualization of a pair of periodical case-studies. In engaging prose, the beautifully illustrated book makes original and powerful use of two micro-histories to address a big-picture issue – 19th c. antiracial activism in and beyond Britain and the US. Noting the multiple ways that ideas of geography shape the structure and inform the discourse of the book, the committee singled out its attention not only to periodical communities but also to the social networks supporting these periodical communities.


The committee awarded an “honorable mention” this year to Martin Hewitt, author of The Dawn of the Cheap Press in Victorian Britain: The End of the ‘Taxes on Knowledge,’ 1849-1869. The committee praised Hewett’s wonderfully researched study for its meticulous documentation of “the changes and challenges wrought by the legacy of repeal” of taxes on knowledge in the mid century.

REMINDER: CFP deadline approaching for the Annual RSVP Conference

A reminder that the deadline for proposals for the annual conference of the Research Society for Victorian Periodicals is February 1.  RSVP welcomes proposals on any aspect of 19th-century magazines and newspapers, but the specific topic for the 2015 conference is “Life and Death in the 19th-Century Press.”  The conference will be held in Ghent, Belgium, on July 10 and 11.    For more information please visit our Conference News area of the website.

cfp Margaret Oliphant in Context 6 July 2015

Margaret Oliphant in Context

6 July 2015

Victorian Studies Centre

University of Leicester



A conference on the Victorian novelist, biographer, literary critic and historian Margaret Oliphant (1828-97) is being held at the Victorian Studies Centre, University of Leicester, to celebrate the publication of the 25 volume Selected Works of Margaret Oliphant, (Pickering and Chatto, 2011-16) under the general editorship of Joanne Shattock and Elisabeth Jay. See www.pickeringchatto.com/oliphant

Margaret Oliphant was a Victorian woman of letters, who wrote across multiple genres: fiction, literary criticism, history, travel writing, and biography. Her Autobiography (1899) is justly celebrated as a unique writing life. In her reviewing and in her wider journalism, her subjects included literature in English and European languages, philosophy, theology, art and current social issues, especially those affecting women. She was also a translator and a series editor.

Papers are invited on all aspects of Oliphant’s writing from her subject matter to her use of a variety of genres. Comparisons with other Victorian writers are encouraged.  Topics might include but are not confined to:

serial fiction; the short story ; life writing; journalism; reviewing ; travel writing; translation; literary history; social history; the supernatural; independent women; Scotland; the prolific writer; the professionalization of literature

Deadline for paper and panel proposals 2 March 2015

Please submit a 250-300 word proposal to victorianstudies@le.ac.uk . Papers will be limited to 20 minutes. Proposals for panels of two or three papers are welcome.