Michelle Allen-Emerson is Associate Professor of English at the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD. Her main research interest is nineteenth-century sanitary reform which is the subject of her monograph published by Ohio University Press in 2008, Cleansing the City: Sanitary Geographies in Victorian London. She is currently editing a multivolume series of rare primary texts on Victorian sanitation for Pickering and Chatto. The first three volumes of the series were published in February; the second set of volumes is scheduled for publication in December and includes Allen-Emerson’s volume on urban improvement, part of which treats the development of public gardens and preservation of open spaces. Her talk today emerges from this research. When she is not thinking about filth and cleanliness, she pursues research in periodicals and the culture of authorship, especially as seen in the literary career of Rider Haggard.
Matthew Beaumont is a Senior Lecturer in English Literature at University College London. He is the author of Utopia Ltd (2005) and The Spectre of Utopia (2012), and the co-editor of Restless Cities (2009). He is currently writing Nightwalking: A History.
William A. Cohen is professor of English at the University of Maryland and author most recently of Embodied: Victorian Literature and the Senses (University of Minnesota Press, 2009), as well as co-editor of Filth: Dirt, Disgust, and Modern Life (University of Minnesota Press, 2005).
Nancy Rose Marshall
Nancy Rose Marshall is an associate professor of art history at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she specializes in Victorian art and visual culture. Co-author of the exhibition catalogue James Tissot: Victorian Life/Modern Love (Yale Center for British Art, 1999), Marshall is currently working on a monograph on the art of Dante Gabriel Rossetti. She has most recently completed a book on the construction of imperialist metropolitan modernity in fine art, entitled City of Gold and Mud: Painting Victorian London (Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art for Yale University Press, 2012). Growing out of research for this book is her new project on Victorian representations of fire in paint and print, from which her talk at this conference is drawn. In all her work, Marshall strives to consider the intersections between the material aspects of the artwork or object and the ways in which individual viewers were historically conditioned, embodied, and produced.
Deborah Epstein Nord is professor of English at Princeton University. She teaches nineteenth-century literature and culture, with emphasis on gender, the city, and social investigation. Her books include The Apprenticeship of Beatrice Webb; Walking the Victorian Streets: Women, Representation, and the City; and Gypsies and the British Imagination, 1807-1930. Her essay “Cityscapes” is forthcoming in the new Cambridge History of Victorian Literature.
David L. Pike is Professor of Literature at American University. He is the author of Canadian Cinema since the 1980s: At the Heart of the World; Metropolis on the Styx: The Underworlds of Modern Urban Culture, 1800–2001; Subterranean Cities: The World beneath Paris and London 1800–1945; Passage through Hell: Modernist Descents, Medieval Underworlds; and articles on medieval literature, modernism, film, and urban culture. He is co-author of Literature: A World of Writing and co-editor of the Longman Anthology of World Literature. He is currently working on a study of the 19th-century city after the 19th century.
Judith Walkowitz is a Professor of History and Women’s Studies at Johns Hopkins University and a British historian whose publications have been translated into many European languages, plus Japanese. For the past thirty years, her research and writing have concentrated on nineteenth-century political culture and the cultural and social contests over sexuality. Her first book, Prostitution and Victorian Society (1980), examined the system of medical and police regulation of prostitution, a system first established in 1864 and abolished in 1886, to control the spread of venereal disease among enlisted men. City of Dreadful Delight (1992) maps out a dense cultural grid through which compelling representations of sexual danger, including W.T. Stead’s expose of child prostitution and the tabloid reporting of Jack the Ripper, circulated in late-Victorian London.
Her new book, Nights Out: Life in Cosmopolitan London (Yale University Press, March 2012), extends her interest in the cultural and social history of London to mid-twentieth century, zeroing in on a modern space of multiethnic settlement in London that was at the center of things, yet marked by segregation, political tensions, and social exploitation. It recounts the cosmopolitan makeover of early twentieth century Soho, renowned for its social diversity, raucous commerce, and disparate political loyalities. This tiny district on the eastern edge of the fashionable West End became an incubator of metropolitan change. Between 1890 and 1945, modern economies of dancing, music, food, fashion and commercialized sex took hold in Soho and transformed it from a dingy, industrial hinterland into a highly commodified center of cultural tourism. Nights Out is highly interdisciplinary. It makes an especially important scholarly contribution to debates over the meanings and uses of cosmopolitanism. It explores cosmopolitanism as an urban experience with wide-ranging political and cultural effects. It dramatizes how people of different ethnicities lived together and apart, decades before this social heterogeneity became a commonplace of multicultural London. Despite its diversity, Soho was not so much a cultural melting pot as a space of intimate and sometimes tumultuous encounters between men and women from many walks of life: rich and poor, unschooled émigrés and Bloomsbury literati, moral purity campaigners and libertarian anarchists, fascists and anti-fascists, queers and heterosexuals, Italians, Jews, Greeks, Americans, Germans, Swiss, black GI’s and white Britons.
Julian Wolfreys is Professor of Modern Literature and Culture with the Department of English and Drama, at Loughborough University. Having recently completed a study of Thomas Hardy, and working, with Maria Dick, on The Derrida Wordbook, he has just completed a study of Dickens’s London, called, in the spirit of unoriginality, Dickens’s London, published later this year by Edinburgh University Press.