Material Traces and Tactility in Neo-Victorian Literature and Culture
Rosario Arias, 6 February 2017, CEIR Seminar Series
Leaving the warm shores of Malaga, Spain, and braving the wind and rain of Cardiff in February, Rosario Arias presented the first paper of 2017 for the Centre of Editorial and Intertextual Research. Drawing on her research for an upcoming book project, Arias focused her discussion on neo-Victorian literature and culture in relation to tactility and material traces.
Beginning by acknowledging the pervasiveness of haunting in neo-Victorian fiction and culture, Arias goes on to suggest that, in recent years, this emphasis on the presence of the spectral past has shifted to include a conceptualisation of the actual textual and material remains of the past. As she explains, the Victorians are at once ghostly and tangible in contemporary culture, both their philosophical and physical, or material, legacies retaining a strong affective presence in modern Britain. It is the material legacies of the Victorians that Arias focuses on in this paper, considering the overflow of the past into the present through materiality in contemporary literature. Employing critical approaches such as thing theory, affective materiality and phenomenology, her research is concerned with literary texts that emphasise the sensual interplay between contemporary Britain and Victorian culture. (more…)
Rosario Arias (Universidad de Málaga) will be presenting her paper, ‘Material Traces and Tactility in Neo-Victorian Literature and Culture’, at 5.30pm on Monday, 6 February 2017. The talk will take place in the Cardiff University’s John Percival Building, Room 2.47, and will be followed by a wine reception.
In the latest issue of the online journal Neo-Victorian Studies (9.1: 2016), devoted to neo-Victorianism and the stage, co-editors Beth Palmer and Benjamin Poore acknowledge the relevance that ‘the idea of haunting and hauntedness’ bears upon the field of neo-Victorian studies (1). Indeed, the pervasiveness of the Victorians in contemporary culture has been addressed through the master trope of haunting and spectrality, as many critics have noted. However, Cora Kaplan in Victoriana (2002) has aptly suggested that ‘[t]he Victorian as at once ghostly and tangible … [has] had a strong affective presence in modern Britain’. Therefore, time seems ripe for the consideration of the tangibility of Victorian traces and the traces of the Victorians in contemporary culture. In this talk, I will pay attention to the material side of the trace of the Victorian past, objects and things, as well as the overflow of the past into the present through sensorial materiality, in contemporary literature and culture. In so doing, I will focus on a selection of texts that illustrate the sensuous interplay between the Victorian past and today’s culture by employing critical approaches such as Thing theory, affective materiality and phenomenology.