RDG Conference Report of Pauline Mari F. Hernando

Write up about the Conference

From Brontë to Bloomsbury: Realism, Sensation and the New in Women’s Writing from the 1840s to the 1920s. The International Centre for Victorian Women Writers (ICVWW) is seeking collaborative partnerships for an extensive project that traces the development of women’ writing from the 1840s to the 1920s.

This five-year project aims to trace and reassess, decade by decade, how women’s writing develops across the cultural context of the 1890s to the 1920s: a transformative period in women’s private, public and literary lives.

Including the work of canonical authors such as Charlotte Brontë and Virginia Woolf, the project is also significantly concerned with rediscovering and repositioning the lives and work of neglected female authors.

Initial research questions include:

  • How and why does women change from Brontë to Bloomsbury?
  • How is feminist or anti-feminist writing constructed during this period?
  • How is genre constructed (realism, sensation, New Woman, children’s literature) and what are the implications for now texts were/continue to be read?
  • How significant is life writing to the interpretation of women’s literary texts?
  • What is the role of periodicals in circulation and canon formation?
  • How does women’s writing negotiate or exploit the celebrity culture of the nineteenth century?
  • How do twentieth century women writers view their Victorian past?

Feedback on paper presented

One of the feedbacks given on the paper presented is the query about the original intent of Emily Dickson’s poetry. It was very particular and apparent in her writings that most of the poems were not written for publication purposes but as little notes alongside her letters to family and friends. Most of them were divided in certain stanzas in between letters. That is why some delegates pose a question on the significance of once works published posthumously. Also it was mentioned to look for the effects of Dickinson’s disease in her literary pieces. One delegate also suggested to reconsider if Dickinson’s poetry were once been used or adapted as a song or in any other form.

Future directions of research presented

The paper presented in the conference was focused on the women’s writing of the 1840′s to 1850′s. This decade was mainly composed of Victorian writers and publishers in English. One of the potential directions of the research is to schematize a long-term system of mapping women’s literature on a per century and/or per decade basis. The effort of mapping women’s writing in the country during the nineteenth century is deemed relevant in theorizing about our national literature. 19th century is considered one of the most significant era in the colonial period of the country. This is also the century where local women writers started to make efforts to be visible, progressive, and daring in the national literary and political circles, providing a dynamic space in gender construct. To consider some limitations on this research, the other possible direction is to trace different transformative forces that shaped such creative productions based on race, class ethnolinguistic group, and education. This may seem a very ambitious project but would definitely provide new perspectives in the repositioning of women writers in literary criticisms, translation, and history. The richness of our local literature in Filipino, English, and vernaculars was also determined by the ingenuity of women writers and scholars from various cultural and literary movements in our nation.

Potential foreign collaborators

Some potential foreign collaborators include the publishing house Victorian Secrets, an independent press committed to publishing books about the nineteenth century, the International Centre for Victorian Women Writers, the first in the world dedicated to produce researches and scholarships on the Victorian era, Little and Loud, a social media specialists, and the Kent History and Library Centre, where researches are well archived for booth public exhibitions and private use.

Other important contacts and insights

Important contacts include the following:

  • Dr. Carolyn Oulton, ICVWW Co-Director ([email protected])
  • Professor Emeritus Adrienne Gavin, ICVWW Co-Founder
  • Alyson Hunt, ICVWW Research Associate

+44 (0) 1227 767700                                                             +44 (0) 1227 782900

Short write-up of one’s participation (to be used to feature/publicize the grantee’s participation in the conference)

Professor Pauline Mari Hernando from the Department of Filipino and Philippine Literature recently graced the inaugural conference at the International Centre for Victorian Women Writers of the Canterbury Christ Church University in Kent, United Kingdom. The conference entitled “From Brontë to Bloomsbury First International Conference: Reassessing Women’s Writing of the 1840′s and 1850′s was held last July 21-22. Professor Hernando presented a paper on “The Birthing of a Social Consciousness: Re-thinking the Letters and Poem of Emily Dickinson.” She was the sole presenter from the Philippines and one among the two Asian delegates, the other coming from Beijing International Studies University. A total of 39 selected professors and researchers mostly from different universities in the United kingdom gave their lectures on Gaskell, Clive, Yonge, Martineau, Wood, Eyre, Eliot, Brontë, and many other women writers from the mid-19th century. The said conference served as a launching event in an extensive five-year project that will map the political, cultural, and historical transformation of women’s writing from the 1840′s-1920′s