VICTORIAN & EDWARDIAN INTERIORS (Université Toulouse Jean-Jaurès, 27-28 January 2022)

An international conference organized by the C.A.S (EA 801) with the support of the SFEVE (Société Française d’Etudes Victoriennes et Edouardiennes)

        Confirmed Keynote speakers:
                Claudia Kinmonth (independent cultural historian, former researcher in the Furniture Department of the Victoria & Albert Museum)
                Charlotte Ribeyrol (Université Paris Sorbonne, VALE)
                Penny Sparke (Director of the Modern Interiors Research Centre, Kingston University)

As we gradually come out of a long period of enforced global confinement which has challenged us, amongst other things, to take a ‘journey round [our] room[s]’ (Xavier de Maistre) and reconsider our assumptions about inside and outside, the 2022 SFEVE conference invites scholars to look afresh at the historical emergence, material manifestations and cultural significance of the interior in the long nineteenth century. Building on recent interdisciplinary research in material studies, architectural design theory, the Victorian architectural imaginary and the poetics, politics and phenomenology of dwelling, this conference seeks to explore the multiple facets of the interior from the beginning of the nineteenth century to the end of the Edwardian era.

Central to the concept of ‘interior’ is the imbrication of the word’s spatial, physical, emotional, mystical and political meanings. ‘Interior’ came into use in the English language in the sixteenth century to mean inside as divided from outside, but also more specifically to describe the deeper, more spiritual nature of the soul within the body. Derived from the Latin ‘intus’ (i.e. ‘within’), ‘interior’ is a comparative form, whose meaning is accentuated in the superlative ‘intimus’ (i.e. innermost, deepest, most secret, most private). From the early eighteenth century, ‘interiority’ was used to evoke inner character and individual subjectivity. But from the middle of the eighteenth century the ‘interior’ was also a geo-political term used to refer to the domestic affairs of a state and to the territory that belongs to a country. It was only at the beginning of the nineteenth century that, according to the _Oxford English Dictionary_, the ‘interior’ came to mean ‘the inside of a building or room especially in reference to the artistic effect; also a picture or representation of the inside of a building. Also, in a theatre, a “set” consisting of the inside of a building or room.’

Thus, as Charles Rice notes, the nineteenth-century interior is inherently double, both a physical three-dimensional space and at the same time an image—a painting, print, theatrical backdrop—which can ‘be imagined and dreamed, and inhabited as such’ (2). While nineteenth-century conceptualizations of the interior were clearly linked to important questions of public health, territorial expansion, historical knowledge and the exploration of the body, subjectivity and the unconscious, the Victorians thus foregrounded the idea of the interior’s deliberate and artful constructedness. In some of the commemorative colour prints of colonial interiors on display at the Crystal Palace in 1851, for example, the theatricality of the interior is regularly emphasized through the presence of visitors/spectators peering through drawn curtains.

In fact, the notion of ‘interior decoration’, appearing for the first time in Thomas Hope’s 1807 _Household Furniture and Interior Decoration_ —and popularized through countless Victorian and Edwardian periodicals and manuals—firmly articulated the idea of the interior through decor. This new preoccupation led to the founding in 1837 of the London School of Design, rebranded in 1853 as the Museum of Ornamental Art (today known as the Victoria & Albert Museum). The interior became understood as the creation of a scenography, complete with adornments and furnishings which served to soften, conceal or transform—however fleetingly—the architectural structure, in order to make it livable, hospitable and culturally legible. In Vlad Ionescu’s words, the interior can thus be seen as the ‘moment when a building receives its cultural significance [and] “speaks” to its users’ (2). Such a dynamic, dialogic, relational approach to the interior is particularly striking in the nineteenth-century print culture through which a great variety of interiors were depicted and shaped. The idea of the interior as relational is also poignantly captured in numerous works of literature. One memorable example (among many) can be found in Charles Dickens’ _Hard Times_ , in the following exchange between Louisa and her dying mother: “‘Are you in pain, dear mother?’ ‘I think there’s a pain somewhere in the room,’ said Mrs. Gradgrind, ‘but I couldn’t positively say that I have got it.’” (chap.9).

If, as Walter Benjamin famously put it in the 1930s, ‘[t]he nineteenth century, like no other century, was addicted to dwelling,’ this conference, however, will attempt to qualify and/or revise Benjamin’s conceptualization of the Victorian interior as ‘the étui of the private individual’ (9), as well as his rather sinister notion that the nineteenth century encased the person ‘so deeply in the dwelling’s interior that one might be reminded of the inside of a compass case, where the instrument with all its accessories lies embedded in deep, usually violet folds of velvet’ (220). Instead, we wish to broaden the scope of attention to Victorian and Edwardian interiors not limited to the bourgeois, domestic and urban. Participants are therefore encouraged to consider a diverse array of interiors. Proposals may for example consider:

        *interiors which enabled a renewed critical engagement with the exterior rather than an anti-historical retreat from the world
        *complex or problematic interiors (such as public interiors, utopian/political/militant interiors, transparent interiors, gendered interiors, queer interiors, working-class interiors, cosmopolitan interiors, colonial interiors, natural interiors, etc.)
        *the aesthetic experiences, cultural practices, or socio-economic transformations made possible through the decorating/designing of interior spaces/rooms
        *how interiors and interiorities were staged, mediated and/or marketed, and the role played by new visual technologies (stereoscope, photography, museum displays etc.)
        *how the interior was represented across political, scientific, medical and architectural discourses
        *the poetics, aesthetics, politics and economics of the interior in literature, art, magazines, book design and material culture
        *the articulation between interiors and subjectivity, objects and people, the material and the immaterial
        *various forms of dwelling, as well as the allied notions of ‘home’, homelessness and homesickness
        *issues of preservation, renovation and re-use of nineteenth-century interiors
        *contemporary re-interpretations of the nineteenth-century interior in neo-Victorian fiction, heritage cinema, etc. 

Please send a 300-500-word abstract (for a 20-minute presentation followed by 10 minutes of question/discussion) with a short bio-bibliography to Catherine Delyfer ( AND Amélie Dochy (amé

Deadline for submissions: 10 July 2021
Notification of acceptance: 30 July 2021

Publication: a selection of peer-reviewed articles will be published in a special issue of _Cahiers Victoriens et Edouardiens_

Languages of the conference: English and French

Bauer, Dominique. The Imagery of Interior Spaces. Punctum Books, 2019.
Benjamin, Walter. The Arcades Project. Translated by Howard Eiland, Kevin McLaughlin. Harvard 1999.
Berstein, Susan. Roomscape. Edinburgh UP, 2013.
Cohen, Deborah. Household Gods: The British and their Possessions. Yale UP, 2006.
Dillon, Steve. ‘Victorian Interior’, Modern Language Quarterly 62.2 (2001): 83-115.
Edwards, Clive. Turning Houses into Homes. Routledge, 2015.
Edwards, Jason and Imogen Hart eds. Rethinking the Interior, 1867-1896: Aestheticism and Arts and Crafts. Routledge, 2011.
Fisher, Fiona, Patricia Lara-Betancourt, Victoria Kelley & Penny Sparke eds. ‘Complex Interior Spaces in London, 1850-1930,’ The London Journal 45.2 (2020): 177-188.
Gilbert, Pamela. Victorian Skin: Surface, Self, History. Cornell UP, 2019.
Hayes, Richard. ‘The Aesthetic Interior as Incubator of Health and Well-Being’. Architectural History 60 (2017): 277-301.
Heidegger, Martin. ‘Building Dwelling Thinking’ [1954], Poetry, Language, Thought, translated and introduced by Albert Hofstadter, Harper Collins, 1971, pp. 141-160.
Hoberman, Ruth. Museum Trouble. University of Virginia Press, 2011.
Ionescu, Vlad. ‘The interior as interiority’. Palgrave Communications. 4.1 (2018): 1-6.
Leckie, Barbara. Open Houses: Poverty, the Novel, and the Architectural Idea in Nineteenth-Century Britain, University of Pennsylvania Press, 2018.
Logan, Thad. The Victorian Parlour: a Cultural Study. Cambridge UP, 2001.
Maistre, Xavier de. Voyage autour de ma chambre [1794]. Flammarion, 2003.
Marcus, Sharon. Apartment Stories: City and Home in Nineteenth-Century Paris and London. University of California Press, 1999.
McNeil, Peter. ‘Designing Women: Gender, Sexuality and the Interior Decorator, 1890-1940’. Art History 17.4 (1994): 631-657.
Morrison, Kevin. Victorian Liberalism, Material Culture: Synergies of Thought & Place, Palgrave 2018.
Muthesius, S. The Poetic Home: Designing the 19th-Century Domestic Interior. Thames & Hudson, 2009.
Neiswander, Judith. The Cosmopolitan Interior: Liberalism & the British Home 1870-1914. Yale 2008.
Pimlott, Mark. The Public Interior as Idea and Project. Ram Publications, 2016.
Plotz, John. Portable Property: Victorian Culture on the Move. Princeton UP, 2008.
Rice, Charles. The Emergence of the Interior: Architecture, Modernity, Domesticity. Routledge, 2007.
Sparke, Penny. Nature Inside: Plants and Flowers in the Modern Interior. Yale UP, 2021.

Organising committee: Catherine Delyfer, Amélie Dochy, Alice Guerrin, Leslie C. Howard, Lilia Louati

Scientific committee:

Philippe Birgy (Université Toulouse Jean Jaurès)
Catherine Delyfer (Université Toulouse Jean Jaurès)
Amélie Dochy (Université Toulouse Jean Jaurès)
Isabelle Keller-Privat (Université Toulouse Jean Jaurès)
Laurent Mellet (Université Toulouse Jean Jaurès)
Fabienne Moine (Université Paris Est Créteil)
Christine Reynier (Université Paul Valéry Montpellier)
Laurence Roussillon-Constanty (Université de Pau Pays de l’Adour)
Laurence Talairach (Université Toulouse Jean Jaurès)
Gilles Teulié (Aix-Marseille Université)
Nathalie Vanfasse (Aix-Marseille Université)

CFP – CVE – Autobiographies

Call for contributions for Cahiers victoriens et édouardiens n°98, Fall 2023.

“Victorian and Edwardian Autobiographies”

A 400-word abstract and brief biography should be sent to Aude Haffen ( by November 10th, 2021. Notifications of acceptance will be sent by December 18th, 2021. Full articles (up to 7,000 words) will be due by June 10th, 2022.

Full CFP here.

Online event: “Popular forms and practices of reading and writing in the Victorian and Edwardian eras”

Les captations vidéo du séminaire :

Conference 1: Pr. Kirstie Blair (University of Strathclyde)

     ‘Prating of the Pit: Reading and Writing in the Northern Mining Districts’

Conference 2: Pr. Fabrice Bensimon (Sorbonne Université)

    ‘L’histoire ouvrière au prisme des autobiographies en Grande-Bretagne au XIXe siècle’.

Organising committee :

Françoise Dupeyron-Lafay and Fabienne Moine (Université Paris Est Créteil)

SFEVE Programme

Pour vous inscrire au séminaire en ligne et recevoir les informations pour se connecter, merci de suivre ce lien.

Friday 29 January 2021 3-6pm

3 pm : Opening words from Laurence Roussillon, president of the SFEVE and Fabienne Moine, vice-president of the SFEVE and co-organiser of the conference.

3.30 pm : Conference 1: Pr. Kirstie Blair (University of Strathclyde)

‘Prating of the Pit: Reading and Writing in the Northern Mining Districts’

Respondents : Françoise Baillet (Université de Caen Normandie) and Jean-Yves Tizot (Université de Grenoble Alpes)

4.30 pm : Conference 2: Pr. Fabrice Bensimon (Sorbonne Université)

‘L’histoire ouvrière au prisme des autobiographies en Grande-Bretagne au XIXe siècle’.

Respondents : Alexandra Sippel (Université Toulouse Jean Jaurès) and Sabine Reungoat (Université Paris Est Créteil)

5.30 pm: Question Time

KEYNOTE SPEAKER Kirstie Blair- UNIVERSITY of strathclyde

Kirstie Blair has worked at the universities of Oxford, Glasgow, Stirling and Strathclyde and is currently a Chair in English Studies at Strathclyde. She has published three monographs on Victorian poetry: her latest book, Working Verse in Victorian Scotland: Poetry, Press, Community (OUP, 2019) won the Saltire Society Scottish Book of the Year award in 2019. For the last decade she has worked primarily on popular verse cultures, and especially on working-class poets and the newspaper press. She is currently Principal Investigator on the AHRC project ‘Piston, Pen & Press: Literary Cultures in the Industrial Workplace’ (, and through this has developed a number of public engagement activities with industrial heritage museums, libraries and archives in Scotland and the North of England.

Title of the conference: ‘Prating of the Pit: Reading and Writing in the Northern Mining Districts’

Woodhorn colliery museum

Abstract : This talk draws on the archival work of the ‘Piston, Pen & Press’ project, to focus on networks of literary culture among miners in the North-East of England, and to examine how and why colliers engaged in literary activity. By investigating the wide range of societies with ‘mutual improvement’ as their object, as well as reading rooms, libraries and institutes, we can uncover more detail on how the many miner-poets of this region practiced their craft and met like-minded friends, creating local literary communities which operated via the newspaper columns of the regional press. Many of the working-class writers from the mining districts near Durham, Northumberland and Newcastle-upon-Tyne knew each personally and interacted both directly and indirectly with each other, and most were minor celebrities or known ‘characters’ in their local area, though their works and influence are now forgotten.. Politically, their works are often ambiguous: some writers were promoted and supported by trades unions and union-oriented newspapers, but many were also assisted materially by mine-owners and wealthy patrons and produced poems accordingly. Likewise, institutes, reading rooms and societies might be bottom up – formed and led by a committee of miners – or top-down – established by the mine-owner as a means of pacifying as well as assisting the workforce. What kinds of literature were available in these reading rooms, or what kind of topics were considered appropriate for lectures and debates in a local society, gives us insight into the kind of ‘high’ and ‘popular’ culture that workers could access, and how they deployed it in their own writings.

KEYNOTE SPEAKER Fabrice bensimon- sorbonne université

Fabrice Bensimon est enseignant-chercheur à Sorbonne Université, spécialiste de l’histoire de la Grande-Bretagne au XIXe siècle. Il a récemment édité Les Sentiers de l’ouvrier. Le Paris des artisans britanniques (autobiographies, 1815-1850). Textes de John Colin, Charles Manby Smith et William Duthie, traduction de Sabine Reungoat (Paris, Éditions de la Sorbonne, 2017) et Samuel Bamford, La vie d’un radical anglais au temps de Peterloo, traduction de Laurent Bury (Paris, Éditions sociales, 2019).

Title of the conference:

‘L’histoire ouvrière au prisme des autobiographies en Grande-Bretagne au XIXe siècle’

Samuel Bamford, Passages of the Life of a Radical

ABSTRACT: L’histoire ouvrière, naguère considérée comme sur le déclin, après son âge d’or des années 1960 et 1970, connaît outre-Manche un renouveau. Celui-ci s’appuie sur les questionnements de l’histoire des femmes et du genre, autour des domestiques et des ouvrières d’usine, sur ceux de l’histoire culturelle, autour des loisirs populaires et des cultures politiques, ou encore sur ceux de l’histoire transnationale, qui inscrit les ouvriers dans leurs mobilités et leurs migrations. Les formes d’écriture de l’histoire ouvrière changent également, avec des travaux qui cherchent à rendre compte de l’expérience vécue par les protagonistes, avec un intérêt renouvelé pour la biographie aussi. Enfin, ce renouvellement concerne les sources. L’histoire orale s’est imposée pour le XXe siècle, et la presse locale, souvent numérisée, pour le XIXe siècle. Surtout, nombre d’historiennes et d’historiens ont bâti des recherches à partir des autobiographies ouvrières. Certains de ces textes sont connus depuis longtemps, mais d’autres ont été localisés récemment. Ils ont été constitués en corpus au tournant des années 1980 par David Vincent, John Burnett et David Mayall. Alors que les autobiographies étaient utilisées ici et là, à l’appui de démonstrations fondées sur d’autres documents, elles représentent maintenant la principale source de plusieurs monographies : Jonathan Rose sur la vie intellectuelle des ouvriers, Jane Humphries sur le travail des enfants, Emma Griffin sur les bénéfices de la Révolution industrielle ou sur l’économie familiale, Fanny Louvier sur les domestiques, etc. Que nous dit cet engouement pour les autobiographies ouvrières ? Quel est leur intérêt particulier ? Changent-elles notre regard sur la vie ouvrière ? Quels problèmes spécifiques posent ces sources, si on les compare avec d’autres formes de l’écriture de soi, comme le journal privé ou la correspondance, ou avec les sources classiques de l’histoire ouvrière ?

Cahiers victoriens et édouardiens n°91 : Mediating Ruskin

91 Printemps | 2020

Mediating Ruskin/Colloque SFEVE, Pau, 8-9 février 2019

Edited by Laurence Roussillon-Constanty and Fabienne Gaspari

This collection of essays includes some of the contributions given at the Société Française d’Études Victoriennes et Édouardiennes annual conference ‘Mediating Ruskin: “Through a Kaleidoscope, Brightly”’, an event hosted by the Université de Pau et des Pays de l’Adour and the Château de Pau on 8-9 February 2019 and convened by ALTER (UPPA) and CLIMAS (UBM). The conference was one of the many venues and cultural events that took place worldwide throughout the year in celebration and acknowledgement of the lasting impact of the 19th-century polymath. The articles show how Ruskin’s oeuvre has been interpreted, translated and adapted and reveal the wealth of his writings as much as his lasting influence in England, but also in France, Belgium, the United States and Japan. In the various fields of art, architecture, or environment, Ruskin’s ideas have impressed many thinkers and writers who sometimes adopted them but also adapted or distorted them. These contributions aim to explore these echoes, reverberations, and resonances, and highlight the multifarious interpretations elicited by his abiding vision. The volume also contains a couple of articles unrelated to Ruskin, one from the SFEVE workshop at the SAES Conference in Aix-en-Provence held in June 2019, focusing on ‘Exception’, and one complementary article.

Les articles réunis dans ce volume sont issus du colloque annuel de la SFEVE intitulé « Au Prisme de Ruskin, ‘À travers l’éclat d’un kaléidoscope’ ». Ce colloque, qui s’est déroulé à l’Université de Pau et des Pays de l’Adour et au Château de Pau les 8 et 9 février 2019, avec la participation des laboratoires ALTER (UPPA) and CLIMAS (UBM), a fait partie d’un ensemble de manifestations scientifiques organisées à travers le monde – Ruskin 200 – destiné à marquer le bicentenaire de la naissance de John Ruskin. Les articles réunis ici montrent de quelle manière l’œuvre de Ruskin a été interprétée, traduite et adaptée, et ils ont pour objectif commun de démontrer la richesse des écrits de ce brillant penseur victorien et l’impact de ses idées en Angleterre, mais aussi en France, en Belgique, aux États-Unis et au Japon. Qu’il s’agisse d’art, d’architecture, ou encore d’environnement, les idées de Ruskin ont durablement marqué de nombreux penseurs et écrivains, qui les ont adoptées, mais aussi parfois déformées. Ce sont ces échos, ces résonances et les miroitements d’une pensée irradiante que ces contributions explorent, afin de redessiner, au prisme d’autres esprits, les contours d’une œuvre polymorphe. Ce numéro contient également un article issu de l’atelier de la SFEVE du Congrès de la SAES qui s’est tenu en juin 2019 à l’Université d’Aix-Marseille sur le thème « L’exception » et un article complémentaire.

Cahiers victoriens et édouardiens n°90

Chères et chers collègues,

EMMA (Etudes Montpelliéraines du Monde Anglophone) a le plaisir de vous annoncer la parution en ligne du dernier volume (90) des Cahiers victoriens et édouardiens. Ce numéro spécial « De l’épistémocritique – Science et Littérature » est in hommage à Annie Escuret, professeure de littérature victorienne à l’Université Paul Valéry – Montpellier 3. 

Vous trouverez ce numéro à l’adresse suivante:

Bien cordialement,

Luc Bouvard

Ce volume particulier des Cahiers victoriens et édouardiens se veut un hommage au Professeur Annie Escuret qui nous a quittés le 17 avril 2018 après avoir dirigé cette revue de 1997 à 2013 et avoir contribué de nombreux articles sur les plus grands auteurs victoriens, ainsi qu’un état des lieux de la recherche sur l’épistémocritique, le domaine privilégié d’Annie. Il s’ouvre sur la réédition de son article « Science et fiction » paru dans le volume 46 d’octobre 1997. Parmi ceux qui l’ont bien connue et estimée, certains chercheurs ont tenu à participer à cet hommage. D’autres qui la connaissaient moins ou ne la connaissaient pas ont lu l’appel à contributions et ont souhaité participer à ce recueil. On trouvera donc des articles sur les auteurs victoriens que nous connaissons tous dont les œuvres sont analysées ici au prisme de l’épistémocritique : Thomas Hardy, Charles Dickens, George Eliot, Robert Browning, etc. La lecture de l’introduction renseignera davantage sur les directions prises par chacun d’eux. Ce volume se clôt sur deux contributions spontanées rassemblées dans ce volume pour leur domaine de compétence voisin : le décadentisme d’Arthur Symons et celui d’Aubrey Beardsley. Bonne lecture à tous !


Le Prix d’Honneur de la SFEVE

Voici des photos du Professeur Landow reçevant le Prix d’Honneur de la SFEVE, attribué pour la première fois au colloque SFEVE sur Ruskin en février.

Le colloque RUSKIN sur Youtube

Retrouvez ci-dessous les interventions des sessions 1 et 2 du colloque :

Conférence – « Ruskin: Through a Kaleidoscope, Brightly » Session 1

Conférence – « Ruskin: Through a Kaleidoscope, Brightly » – Session 2

Classement européen pour les Cahiers Victoriens et Edouardiens

Les Cahiers victoriens ont été classés sur la liste ERIH PLUS. Il s’agit d’un classement européen.

The European Reference Index for the Humanities and the Social Sciences (ERIH PLUS) was created and developed by European researchers under the coordination of the Standing Committee for the Humanities (SCH) of the European Science Foundation (ESF).

Pour plus d’informations: