Neo-Victorian Biofiction

Reimagining Nineteenth-Century Historical Subjects


This volume explores the many paradoxes of neo-Victorian biofiction, a genre that yokes together the real and the imaginary, biography and fiction, and generates oxymoronic combinations like creative facts, fictional truth, or poetic truthfulness. Contemporary biofictions recreating nineteenth-century lives demonstrate the crucial but always ethically ambiguous revision and supplementation of the historical archive. Due to the tension between ethical empathy and consumerist voyeurism, between traumatic testimony and exploitative exposé, the epistemological response is per force one of hermeneutic suspicion and iconoclasm. In the final account, this volume highlights neo-Victorianism’s deconstruction of master-narratives and the consequent democratic rehabilitation of over-looked microhistories.

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Marie-Luise Kohlke, Ph.D. (2000), is Senior Lecturer in English Literature at Swansea University (Wales, UK) and General/Founding Editor of Neo-Victorian Studies - Besides her series co-editorship of Brill │Rodopi’s Neo-Victorian Series, she has published numerous chapters and articles on neo-Victorianism and trauma literature.

Christian Gutleben, Ph.D. (1995), is Professor of English Literature at the University of Nice Sophia Antipolis (France) and Chief Editor of the journal Cycnos. He has published several monographs and many papers on contemporary fiction and film and is the series co-editor of Brill│Rodopi’s Neo-Victorian Series.

 Taking Biofictional Liberties: Tactical Games and Gambits with Nineteenth-century Lives
Marie-Luise Kohlke and Christian Gutleben

Part 1: Truths and Post-Truths

1 “Who in the world am I?”: Truth, Identity and Desire in Biofictional Representations of Lewis Carroll and Alice Liddell
Charlotte Boyce

2 Fakery and Historical Figures in the Flashman Papers
Matthew Crofts

3 Biofictional Author Figures and Post-authentic Truths
Roberta Gefter Wondrich

4 The Silence and the Roar: Resonant Encounters with George Eliot
Laura Savu Walker

Part 2: Forms of Otherness and (Re-)Othering

5 Us and Them? Joseph Merrick in Neo-Victorian Children’s Fiction
Helen Davies

6 The Vivisectionist’s Tale: Auto/Biographical Voice and the Queer Fictions of Empire in Ann Harries’s Manly Pursuits
Jeanne Ellis

7 Biofiction and Différance: Tracing Threads of (Neo-) Victorian Women Travellers in the Amelia Peabody Emerson Series
 Stacey L.Kikendall

8 Biofiction Goes Global: Richard Flanagan’s Wanting, Dickens, and the Lost Child
Catherine Lanone

Part 3: After-Lives of Fame and Infamy

9 Polymath Revisited: Cross-lighting R.F. Burton between Cultural Passing and Steampunk Action
Sylvia Mieszkowski

10 (Re)Tracing Charlotte Brontë’s Steps: Biofiction as Memory Text in Michèle Roberts’sThe Mistressclass
Sonia Villegas-López

11 Julia Margaret Cameron and Archival Imagination: Materiality and Subjectivity in Biofictions of a Victorian Photographer
Lucy Smith

12 Musical Madness: Biofictional Performances of the Lizzie Borden Murders
Marc Napolitano

All interested in neo-Victorianism; literary and cultural studies; life-writing; theatre, film, gender, and adaptation studies; memory studies; and historians and Victorianists working on the legacies of the nineteenth century.
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