112th Annual Conference - Riverside Convention Center, California
Friday, October 31 - Sunday, November 2, 2014

This page is about the 2014 conference. For 2015 conference info, go to PAMLA 2015.

The Victorians and Literary Theory

Session Chair: 
Alfred Drake, California State University, Fullerton
Session 8: Saturday 3:30-5:00pm
Marriott Embassy


  1. Meagan K Simpson, University of Notre Dame
    This paper shows how a shift from a providential world order designed by a divine God to an empirical world order regulated by laws of physics and commerce prompted Victorians to develop more precise conceptions of character—conceptions still crucial for twenty-first-century literary criticism.
  2. Darby Jean Walters, University of Southern California
    Lady Morbury Dedlock, dead two hundred years before Bleak House begins, haunts not only Esther Summerson and her mother, but also the form of the novel itself. As the narrations of her dying promise travels from one narrator to the other, the gaps within her narrative illustrate the inherent gaps within even the most tightly bound story, while the quality of her uncanny prophecy emphasizes some of the deeper fallacies that underlie our understanding of the relationship between story and plot.
  3. Kacie Wills, University of California, Riverside
    The complex nature of the melodramatic tableau as it is constructed in Charles Dickens's Bleak House calls into question any assumed "melodramatic simplicity" in the novel. Examining the role of the narrator-constructed tableaus surrounding Jo's death, the discovery of Nemo's corpse, and Richard's death reveals the power of the narrator to obliterate the expected objectivity of the audience.     
  4. Anna Neill, University of Kansas
    This paper considers how recent conversation about the state of “critique” hosted by Critical Inquiry bears on the study of literature, science, and technology in the  Victorian period. It proposes that Victorian writers and critics bring facts about and objects in the world into fora of deliberation and concern.
Session Cancelled: