Victorian Popular Fiction Association 4th Annual Conference

11–13 July 2012

Institute of English Studies, University of London, Senate House

Theme: Hard Cash: Money, property, economics and the marketplace in Victorian Popular Culture

Keynote speakers: Regenia Gagnier: 'The global circulation of British literature and culture: British fiction, economics and the marketplace', and Deborah Wynne: 'Hades! The Ladies! Male Drapers and Female Shoppers'

Guest Speakers: David Waller, author of The Perfect Man: The Muscular Life and Times of Eugen Sandow Victorian Strongman and Helen Rappaport author of Beautiful For Ever: Madame Rachel of Bond Street – Cosmetician, Con-Artist, and Blackmailer

The VPFA conference is now an established event on the annual conference timetable and offers a friendly and invigorating opportunity for established academics and post graduate students to share their current research. Our theme this year is Hard Cash: Money, property, economics and the marketplace in Victorian Popular Culture. This theme enables us to develop the interdisciplinary study of nineteenth-century popular culture, and changing attitudes to money and economics across the period.

For further information about the Victorian Popular Fiction Association, see:


£65 Standard
£45 Speakers/IES Members/Unwaged
£30 Postgraduate students

Registration Form [word.97kb] 

Registration Form [pdf.408kb]

Provisional Programme

Wednesday 11th July
1.00-2.00 Registration: Grand Lobby, 1st Floor, Senate House
2:00-2:10 Welcome: Greta Depledge and Jane Jordon


Professor Regenia Gagnier (University of Exeter), 'The Global Circulation of Victorian  Popular Fiction.'

3:30-3:50 Coffee

Panels A, B & C

Panel A: Victorian Popular Culture: Economic Crime and Financial Crises

Paul Rooney: 'Literary Speculation(s) on a Crises in Banking: commodification, the marketplace, and Arthur Griffith's Fast and Loose (1883-4)'

Helen Goodman: 'Speculation, swindling and sanity: Economic and psychological crises in mid-Victorian popular fiction'

Gregory Brennan: '"Transactions" of Government: Negotiating the State's Response to Financial Crime and Crisis in Sensational Fiction'

Panel B: Victorian Popular Culture and the Self-made Man

Caroline Dakers: ‘James Morrison 1789-1857: a model millionaire?’

Jad Adams: ‘“The Wonderful Mission of Earl Lavender”: Money as the Measure of Evolutionary Success'

Emelyne Godfrey: 'Some Knowledge of Edwardian Martial Arts: Edward William Barton-Wright, Sherlock Holmes and the Baritsu Club'

Panel C: Female novelists, women and consumerism

Christine Pullen: ‘“Whiteley’s was Her Happy Hunting Ground”: Commerce and Consumerism in Amy Levy’s Novels’

Natasha Green: ‘Platforms to Pleasure: Women, “Yellow Backs” and the Railway Bookstall’

Susan Walton: ‘“Hard cash is a necessary consideration”: Charlotte Yonge’s exploration of money and class in The Pillars of the House (1873)’


Guest Speaker

David Waller, author of The Perfect Man: The Muscular Life and Times of Eugen Sandow, Victorian Strongman (2011)

6.15 Wine reception: Grand Lobby, 1st Floor, Senate House
Thursday 12th July 
9:00 VPFA meeting

Panels D & E

Panel D: Victorian Women and Commodity Culture (i)

Viv Gardner: ‘Promoting Perfection: The Sandow girl, performances of female beauty and the popular stage, 1900-1914’

Georgina O’Brien Hill: ‘Shop ‘Til You Drop: Shopping and Consumerism in Charles Reade’s A Simpleton

Catherine Pope: ‘Who Pays for the Butter?  Florence Marryat and the Married Women’s Property Act'

Panel E: The Victorian Popular Novelist and the Literary Marketplace (i)

Andrew King: ‘Ouida, money and a change of heART’

Alberto Gabriele: ‘Mary Elizabeth Braddon in the Global Marketplace: Muquardt and the Circulation of Popular Fiction in Belgium and the Continent’

Claire Wood: ‘Dealing with the profits of death:  from Little Nell to Doctor Marigold

10:50-11:10 Coffee


Professor Deborah Wynne (University of Chester): ‘Hades! The Ladies! Male Drapers and Female Shoppers’

12:30-1:30 Lunch

Guest Speaker

Helen Rappaport, author of Beautiful For Ever: Madame Rachel of Bond Street – Cosmetician, Con-Artist, and Blackmailer (2010)


Panels F & G

Panel F: Money and Morality

Cordelia Smith: ‘When is a lottery not a lottery? Popular paintings and the art unions’

Angharad Eyre: ‘Fundraising, Noble Work and Imperial Economics in Dinah Craik’s The Half-Caste and Bread Upon the Waters

Alice Rowe: ‘"Preying upon the public stomach": Selling and consuming medicine in the Victorian popular press'

Panel G: Victorian Women and Commodity Culture (ii)

Anna Brecke: ‘Top Hat, Fashion Magazine, and Shopiness: Mary Braddon, Material Culture and the OED’

Eugenia Gonzalez: ‘Rampant Modernisations: The Luxury Doll, the Girl of the Period and the Sensational Heroine’

Maggie Harvey: ‘Pounds, Shillings, and Pence (L.S.D.): Women as Currency in Novels by Dickens, Trollope and Eliot’

3:55-4:25 Tea

Panels H & I

Panel H: Social Identity

Jacqueline Young: ‘“Eurasianism”: The Nowhere People and the Fiction of Inheritance’

Esther Bellamy: ‘Serving God and Mammon: The Victorians and Their Possessions’

Ana Clara Birrrento, ‘Carlingford: one town, many streets:  locations of class and money’

Panel I: The Victorian Popular Novelist and the Literary Marketplace (ii)

Julie Watt: ‘Regency Soap: The Popular Fiction of Letitia Elizabeth London’ 

Tom Ue: ‘Literary Communities and the French Connection: Daudet’s Jack and Gissing’s New Grub Street

Janine Hatter: ‘Short, Sharp and Successful: The Economic and Literary Value of the Victorian Short Story’

5:45 Closing Remarks


General Enquiries

Jon Millington, Events Officer, Institute of English Studies, Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU; tel +44 (0) 207 664 4859; Email

The School of Advanced Study is part of the central University of London. The School takes its responsibility to visitors with special needs very seriously and will endeavour to make reasonable adjustments to its facilities in order to accommodate the needs of such visitors. If you have a particular requirement, please feel free to discuss it confidentially with the organiser in advance of the event taking place.