RSVP stands for the Research Society for Victorian Periodicals, a group of scholars interested in researching all aspects of the newspapers, magazines and journals published in the Victorian Era. Until recently it was a fairly overlooked area in literary studies, since periodicals were considered “merely” ephemera. But literacy among the working class exploded during the Victorian era, along with advances in printing technology that made periodicals cheap and easy to produce. In consequence, periodicals became the Victorian equivalent of today’s internet – and had the same effect upon society. As well, novels were often published serially (an innovation for which Dickens is largely responsible), which affected the way novels were read. Since my research area is shame in the Victorian novel, it occurred to me that I should also be researching shame in Victorian periodicals. So that’s what I did for this paper.

Froebel College at Roehampton University

Froebel College at Roehampton University

Roehampton University has a lovely campus in SW London. The conference was at Froebel College, one of the colleges that make up the University. This is a photo of the building we met in, with a terrace overlooking gardens and a fountain. Conferences usually begin with a large group talk by a well-known scholar, and then break into several different panels on varying topics. Panels usually last an hour and a half, with 3-4 speakers each giving a 15-20 minute presentation. There are 2 morning sessions, then lunch, then 2 afternoon sessions, then a large group talk again, and then usually a conference dinner. My presentation was in the last panel of the day, and I was the last speaker; so I had extra motivation to keep my presentation to the allotted time. I was pleasantly surprised that the last session was pretty well attended. My paper went well, although I was still suffering from jet lag and so was a little “manic”, I’m told. I was awarded a small travel grant, so that was good. Craig spent his day touring the Tower of London.

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