Queen Victoria & George Eliot: Lives & Afterlives, 1819-2019

Queen Victoria & George Eliot: Lives & Afterlives, 1819-2019

Keynote Speakers:

  • Professor Martin Hewitt (Anglia Ruskin University)
  • Professor Beverley Rilett (University of Nebraska–Lincoln)

“it is curious how sometimes you can trace likenesses many generations back….”
(letter from Victoria to Leopold I of Belgium, 24 October 1843)

This conference will focus on the lives and afterlives of Queen Victoria and George Eliot, both born in 1819 and both defining figures in our understanding of the Victorian period. The double bicentenary also offers an exciting opportunity to reflect on how academic and public attitudes to the Victorian period have changed, and this conference will bring new research on Victoria and Eliot together with explorations of questions around periodisation and interpretation from leading academics and heritage sector professionals. How have biographies, fictionalisations and new discoveries about Queen Victoria and Eliot informed our understanding of their lives and afterlives? What was the effect of different literary, social and political networks and communities on Victoria and Eliot’s reputations, both during their lifetimes and after? How can new methodologies in the analysis of literature and history change our understanding of these women, and the Victorians more broadly? What do Victoria and Eliot represent today, and how have they become emblematic of the Victorian era itself? How has our understanding of what it meant to be a ‘Victorian’ and a ‘Victorianist’ transformed in the past two centuries?

The anniversary of Victoria’s birth is 24 May 2019. The conference will commence on this day and feature an innovative double structure, with the first day focusing on Victoria and Eliot as living figures in the nineteenth century, and the second day centring on representations of these figures in museums and heritage sites, biography, literature, and media (including new media such as video games, film and TV).

Through this dual focus we aim to foster dialogue between a range of disciplines, as well as bearing in mind the potentialities of these figures for outreach work, public engagement and alternative academic careers. How can we responsibly bring these two long-dead women to life for twenty-first century audiences?

More information

Event details

Event Date 24 May 2019
Event End Date 25 May 2019
Cut off date 22 May 2019
Location Loughborough University