CFP: Fraud and Forgery in Literature of the Long Nineteenth Century

This conference will consider representations of fraud and forgery in all areas of from the long nineteenth century (1789-1914), from its deployment as theme to its entanglement with the processes of literary production themselves. Following the recent financial crisis and contemporary concerns over ‘fake news’ and ‘alternative facts’, consideration of the complex slippages between text and reality, money and value, are more urgent than ever, and for this reason we also encourage papers on contemporary neo-Victorian works and the reimagining of Victoriana through the prism of modern concerns with truth and representation.


We welcome proposals for 20 minute papers, or panels of three papers, on topics that can include, but are not limited to:

The body: disguise; mistaken identity; the signature; impersonation; evidence of the senses; the body as text; misleading the senses; the body as evidence; sexual fraud and forgery

The child: illegitimate children; fraud and forgery in children’s literature; the child as forged ‘text’; children and trickery; child fraudsters

Love and marriage: bigamy; polygamy; fraudulent marriage contracts or vows; marital falsehoods; inheritance and the ‘marriage market’

Death: fraudulent deaths; death and authority; inheritance

Politics: political fraud and forgery; acts of censorship; mendacious politicians; political satire

Gender: cross-dressing; the gendering of fraud; gendered susceptibility to fraud and forgery

The spiritual and supernatural: spiritualism as fraud; the legitimacy of supernatural phenomena; spiritual means of divining ‘truth’; as moral economy; discursive between religious ideas and the semantics of finance

Financial fraud and forgery: speculation; gambling; relationship between financial and fiction; ideas of credit; paper money and the gold standard; financial bubbles and joint stock companies

Genres and authorship: poetry and the poetics of monetary meaning; the authority of fiction; periodicals and authorship; financial narratives and ‘it-narratives’; pseudonyms

Paratexts: images and documents as evidence in literary narratives; maps; forged documents

Neo-Victorian and other anachronistic narratives: imitations of Victorian style and genre; adaptations or dramatisations of Victorian works