CFP: Australasian Journal of Victorian Studies


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:

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 (, Helen Blythe (, or Alexandra Lewis (

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BAVS Postgraduates Blog
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