Call for Proposals: Neo-Victorian Decadence (Brill’s Neo-Victorian Series)

A new CfP has just come out, for a new entry in Brill’s Neo-Victorian book series. Details below:

Contributions are invited for a collection of essays on the theme of Neo-Victorian Decadence planned to appear in Brill’s Neo-Victorian Series in 2022 ( The volume’s contents will be partly based on papers delivered at an international conference on ‘Neo-Victorian Decadences’ held at Durham University in September 2017. An additional range of chapters will be selected from the submitted proposals in response to the present CFP.

When Dorian Gray in Will Self’s neo-Victorian novel Dorian: An Imitation (2002) expects Henry Wotton not to be ‘too decadent’, the latter’s rejoinder is ‘to be contemporary is to be absolutely so.’ What neo-Victorian fiction and fin-de-siècle Decadence have in common, besides the fact that the latter can be material that fuels the former, is a heightened self-awareness of the present moment through the lens of looking back. To appropriate Marie-Luise Kohlke and Christian Gutleben’s compelling argument that neo-Victorianism is ‘by nature quintessentially Gothic’ as it resurrects ‘the ghost(s) of the past’, it is likewise Decadent as the reinvention of the Victorian period is a self-conscious performance. Decadent narratives often obsess with phantasmagorias of history, yet they transcend the historical moment. As such they particularly lend themselves to neo-Victorian re-imaginings, perversely fetishizing the past. Neo-Victorian texts, from the Interwar period to the present day, reconfigure, recast and sample nineteenth-century Decadence as much as they themselves emerge as the product of Decadent practice.

Working in the intersections between neo-Victorian studies and Decadence studies, this book calls for a re- evaluation of the relationship between writers, artists and film-makers working in a neo-Victorian style and fin-de-siècle Decadence.

Possible themes and topics might include, but are not limited to:

  • Neo-Victorian Aestheticism
  • Decadent steampunk
  • Cycles of history
  • Decay and degeneration
  • Parody and pastiche
  • Cinema and/or film adaptation
  • Inter-mediality
  • Wildeana
  • Beardsleyana
  • Huysmanian legacies
  • Global Neo-Decadences
  • Sexuality and gender
  • London
  • Neo-Decadent fantasies
  • Consuming the Decadents
  • Afterlives of the flâneur

Chapter length should be between 6,000 and 7,000 words including notes (but excluding works cited). Essays should be prepared for blind review; the deadline for the first full drafts will be in early summer 2021.

Abstracts of 300–400 words and biographical notes of 50–100 words should be sent to Kostas Boyiopoulos ( and Joseph Thorne ( by August 31, 2020. We encourage you to get in touch if you have any questions or wish to discuss your ideas before submitting. Successful contributors will be notified by late September 2020. Please put ‘Neo-Victorian Decadence – Abstract Submission’ in the subject heading.

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