Call for Participants

The ‘Victorian Literary Languages’ research network welcomes expressions of interest from researchers working on the connections between literature, the history of language, and national and regional identities in the Victorian period. 

How might critical perspectives on Victorian literature and its canons change when we take full account of the Victorian United Kingdom’s four nations, four languages (English, Irish, Welsh, and Scottish Gaelic), and richly diverse dialect cultures? How did nineteenth-century contests over national identity – and related debates about linguistic purity, diversity, and change – influence literary style and drive formal innovation? And how can methods of close and distant reading work collaboratively to generate new understandings of the linguistic and literary histories of Victorian Britain and Ireland? To answer these questions, the network will bring together scholars from a range of backgrounds and disciplines (including literature, linguistics, and history), who, by sharing their diverse expertise and perspectives, will develop an innovative, multilingual approach to the study of Victorian literature and culture. 

In 2022 and 2023, the network will hold workshops in St Andrews, Dublin, and Bangor, each examining a specific theme: grammar and philology; education and literacy; and mobility and communication. In order to promote collaboration, the workshops will not be structured exclusively around individual papers. Instead, participants will share current research and develop new ideas through a range of activities, such as: interactive sessions using archives, corpora, or digital humanities tools; short research statements and provocations; collaborative writing sessions; and roundtable discussions. The network has funds available to support the participation of PhD students and ECRs without institutional affiliation. And participants will have the option of joining the workshops remotely. 

If you are interested in being involved in the network’s discussions, either by participating in a workshop or by writing a post for the network’s blog, please email Gregory Tate and Karin Koehler ( by 18 February 2022. Please include your name, institutional affiliation(s) (if applicable), a brief biographical note (100 words) and a description of your research and your intended contribution (250 words).