A New Special Issue and a CFP for Another


A New Special Issue, and a CFP for Another

Welcome to another issue of the Australasian Journal of Victorian Studies! This is the second of two special issues on Pre-Raphaelitism in Australasia. The first was published as Volume 22 no. 2 in 2018. The new issue has been edited by Alison Inglis, an Australian specialist in nineteenth-century art, and Meg Tasker, recent editor of this journal, who oversaw the first issue too.

As well as a detailed introduction from Alison Inglis, there are articles by Emily Wubben, Barbara Kane, Rebecca Rice, Vivien Gaston, and Laurie Benson. Emily Wubben considers a portrait in the National Gallery of Victoria - Edward Burne-Jones’s Portrait of Baronne Madeleine Deslandes - while .Barbara Kane looks at the career of notable Australian-born artist Rupert Bunny in relation to a Pre-Raphaelite aesthetic. Rebecca Rice examines the reception of a notable painting by George Frederic Watts, The Spirit of Christianity, which became controversial when it toured Australia and New Zealand in the late nineteenth century. Watts also features in a letter to the Editor from contemporary British artist John Wolseley, who has come into possession of the brush pot given to Watts by his wife Mary.

Vivien Gaston, meanwhile, turns to a painting with a strong literary background, The Princess Out of School by Edward Robert Hughes, based on Tennyson’s poem The Princess; the painting is held in the National Gallery of Victoria. In this gallery too is a collection of illustrations by British artist Charles Keene. Keene worked for various magazines, including a 40-year career with Punch: this is all discussed by Laurie Benson. Finally, the significant corpus of nineteenth-century art  accumulated in Australia  by John Schaeffer is detailed in an obituary of Schaeffer by Angus Trumble. Sadly, Trumble himself passed away this month, after a distinguished career as writer and curator. This issue is dedicated to him.

Joanne Wilkes

October 2022




The sea is calm tonight.

The tide is full, the moon lies fair

Upon the straits; on the French coast the light

Gleams and is gone; the cliffs of England stand,

Glimmering and vast, out in the tranquil bay.                     

(Matthew Arnold, “Dover Beach”)

Water is necessary for the existence of all of nature. Throughout human history it has been fetishized, considered sacred, and misused and abused in agricultural and industrial production. In the nineteenth century, representations of water were in transition as modes of production moved from agrarian to industrialisation, and imperialism opened up the oceans for travel. Poets, artists and writers were inspired by the beauty, force, and necessity of this element, from bubbling brooks, oceans and streams, and tears as metaphors of nature and humanity.

Many of our current concerns about climate change and environmental sustainability have their foundations in the nineteenth century, along with the preoccupations with water and water usage, but also the ways in which water is a focaliser of cultural and religious practice, from baptism to ideas of spas and healing springs.

The Australasian Journal of Victorian Studies welcomes contributions of scholarly research and creative writing on nineteenth-century representations of water and its significance.

Topics could include but are not limited to:

  • Different bodies and forms of water (still and flowing, steam and ice)
  • Tides
  • Water and technology
  • Blue humanities, wet ontologies, and critical ocean studies
  • Indigenous representations of water
  • Water travel, islands, and liminal spaces
  • Immigration and colonialism
  • Water metaphors and poetics; genre; hydrofiction
  • Religion and sacred waters
  • Eco-criticism and poetic waterways
  • Fluidity: gender; between realism and romance
  • Water in natural history
  • Water in the human body
  • Water as an element: working with or in opposition to fire, air and earth
  • Water as a force of nature; floods and droughts and tsunamis (natural disasters)
  • Water and death

This special edition will be launched at the AVSA 2023 conference, ELEMENTS.

Essays and creative pieces should be submitted to AJVS by Monday, 15 May, 2023.

Scholarly Essays: 5000-8000 words

Creative writing: Up to 2000 words prose or up to 4 pages of poetry.

Enquiries should be sent to Lesa Scholl (Lesa.Scholl@queens.unimelb.edu.au), Helen Blythe (helen.blythe@aut.ac.nz), or Alexandra Lewis (Alexandra.Lewis@newcastle.edu.au).