CfP deadline looming – The Popular and the Middlebrow Postgraduate Conference

Postgraduate Conference

The Popular and The Middlebrow: Women’s Writing 1880 –

12 April 2012, Newcastle University

Keynote Speaker:

Professor Nicola Humble (Roehampton)

This event aims to bring together postgraduate researchers from across the UK and beyond
to discuss the growing interest in and importance of the categories of the middlebrow and
the popular as ways of engaging with women’s writing in the late nineteenth and early
twentieth centuries. Both of these terms have become crucial ways of exploring the work
of more marginalised female writers who were not directly involved in larger intellectual
discourses such as Modernism or social realism, but who enjoyed a great deal of success
during their own time. From the regency romances of Georgette Heyer to the crime fiction
of Agatha Christie, from the muted socialist politics of Winifred Holtby to the witty asides
of Molly Keane, the conference reasserts the importance of these women’s writing as part
of a wider literary tradition. It encourages papers which both work with and interrogate the
terms ‘popular’ and ‘middlebrow’ as well as those which choose to apply them to the work
of a specific woman or group of women in order to challenge or consolidate their usage.
It asks: do the terms still contain inherent value judgements? Are they problematic when
applied to women’s literature? Or do they engender a challenge to preconceptions about
women and literary history, allowing for a reconceptualization of notions of canonicity?

Women writers and the popular

Domesticity and the home
Place and landscape
War and politics
Queer fictions

Proposals of no more than 300 words should be emailed to middlebrow-
conf by 30 November 2011.
For more information: http://www.pop-

In association with the Long Nineteenth Century Research Cluster (School of
English) and the Gender Research Group (Newcastle Institute for the Arts, Social
Sciences and Humanities) and supported by a grant from the Catherine Cookson

Organized by Katherine Cooper and Jodie Laird

**This conference will run in conjunction with another event, ‘Gender,
Travel and Modernity, 1850-1950’ taking place on 13th and 14th April 2011.
Delegates may wish to attend both events. For more information: http://