Interventions: Rethinking the Nineteenth Century

Posted by Bethan Hirst - Wednesday, 26 Jun 2024


Professor Anna Barton, Series Editor, Interventions: Rethinking the Nineteenth Century introduces the scope and objectives of the series.

We set up Interventions to make space for research that seeks to question dominant cultural, historical and critical narratives about the nineteenth century. The scope of the series is deliberately broad: we accept proposals for books that explore any time-period within a long
nineteenth century (taking in the last decade or so of the eighteenth century and tipping over into the early years of the twentieth century, but also including the neo-Victorian); we welcome proposals that challenge Anglo-centric accounts of Romantic and Victorian literature and culture; and we encourage work that takes imaginative approaches to critical method. Over the past eight years it has been fascinating to see the nineteenth century that has taken shape through the work of our brilliant authors. Here are a few key interventions that the series has made so far:

  • It has published books that champion the work of neglected and forgotten authors, from Simon Grennan, Roger Sabin and Julian Waite’s seminal study of Marie Duval, the maverick writer and cartoonist, to Anne Woolley’s important work on Pre-Raphaelite muse Elizabeth Siddal, which asserts her significance as a poet and artist in her own right.
  • It has included works that offer fresh perspectives on canonical authors, from Gavin Edwards’ fascinating study of Charles Dickens, which uncovers the author’s engagement with debates about the politics of upper- and lower-case letters, to Amber Regis and Deborah Wynne’s collection of essays that explore the many and various afterlives of Charlotte Brontë.
  • It has mapped a global nineteenth century by publishing research that focuses on the literature and culture of places other than Britain. This includes studies of nineteenth-century Spain and the Hispanic by Andrew Ginger  and Geraldine Lawless as well as Worlding the South, edited by Sarah Comyn and Porscha Fermanis, which explores the distinct identities of settler communities in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, South America, Southeast Asia, and the South Pacific Islands.
  • It has included work that decentres canonical accounts of the nineteenth century via a focus on marginal figures, ‘popular’ genres and overlooked aspects of material culture. Kate R. Peel’s forthcoming book on the representation of mistresses and ‘kept women’ in nineteenth-century fiction is a great example of this kind of work, as are Rob Breton’s study of the politics of popular fiction, Masha Belenky’s insightful exploration of the omnibus in urban Europe and Silvia Granata’s brilliant study of the cultural significance of the domestic aquarium.
  • It has championed work that employs innovative theoretical and methodological approaches, like Damian Walford Davies’ edited collection that explores how the Romantic period is shaped by things that did not happen.

As series editors, Andy and I are always keen to hear about book projects that might contribute to one of these emerging areas of focus or open up a new kind of intervention.

Alternatively, please contact Senior Commissioning Editor Michelle Houston with your proposal idea.

Find out more about the Interventions series here.

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