Colloque de la SFEVE (Société Française des Études Victoriennes et Édouardiennes)

Organisé par EMMA (Études Montpelliéraines du Monde Anglophone)


Université Paul-Valéry Montpellier 3

2-3 mars 2018

En partenariat avec le festival des Écrans britanniques de Nîmes


The Transformative Power of the Arts in Victorian and Edwardian Culture and Society


Victorian and Edwardian times were a period when the arts were thriving:  Victorians and Edwardians were avid readers of the novel; the short-lived but highly influential Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood inspired many painters, sculptors and poets; the nineteenth and the early twentieth century was also a period which saw the emergence of new art forms (photography, cinema) following the discovery of new techniques, such as the calotype.

This conference means to address the way in which these various arts impacted Victorian and Edwardian society, economy and technology as well as the other art forms within that society. Analysing the transformative power of the arts in Victorian and Edwardian times would highlight the social as well as the intermedial dynamics of arts and give a renewed vision of the period.

Here are some of the questions that can be addressed (but the list is not exhaustive):

  1. If the arts interact with society, through the representation of its various facets (authority, domesticity, respectability, gender, animals, nature, empire, poverty, illness, war, etc.), what sort of transformative power do these exert? In what ways were the arts instrumental in transforming Victorian and Edwardian social reality and society: through architectural design and the building of garden cities; industry, technology and technique; the Arts and Crafts movement; representations of social issues, of gender, of the other, etc.
  2. At a time when new art forms were emerging, processes of hybridization and cross-fertilization were at work, the arts interacted with each other, modifying and transforming each other, renewing the old forms and creating new ones. The transformative power of intermediality will be explored. All arts are eligible for discussion: how photography transforms the novel, how photography and sculpture or painting interact, or the interface of word and image. The transformative power of arts may also be understood as the malleability of the work of art in its various subsequent adaptations: how art was transformed into industry or industry into art, how poetry was turned into painting, how a book illustration or engraving could influence the framing of a shot, how novels were turned into plays which were subsequently turned into films, etc.

Proposals in English of about 300 words should be sent to Luc Bouvard ( ) and Christine Reynier (  by 31 October 2017.

Comité d’organisation: Luc Bouvard, Aude Haffen, Virginie Iché, Christine Reynier.