Call for Book Chapters: “Resilience and Resistance: Embracing Disability Narratives in 19th-century British Fiction.”

Vernon Press invites book chapters for a forthcoming edited volume on the subject of disability narratives in nineteenth century British fiction.

Resilience and Resistance: Embracing Disability Narratives in Nineteenth-Century Fiction proposes a space for scholars to present research on disability studies and narrative agency in fiction from the period. Disability studies is concerned with altering the contemporary political landscape to procure protections for disabled individuals and communities, question structures which uphold barriers to equal access, and challenge ideologies of ability that affirm ableist notions of social participation. Disability studies also challenges individuals and scholars to analyze the historical, literary, medical, and social understandings of disability to dismantle ableist structures. In particular, literary disability studies offers scholars the opportunity to analyze literary works for portrayals of disability, illness, and ableism to better understand literature’s role in resisting or adhering to traditional understandings of disability as negative and other. Works of this period offer insight into a variety of social and political changes, including poverty, social work, education, medical institution reform, public health, and more. The literary works of this period reveal much about these social and political changes, especially along the lines of visible and invisible disabilities, marginalization of non-conforming bodies, and the trauma resulting from the treatment of individuals and groups deemed other. This essay collection challenges scholars to reexamine major works of nineteenth-century fiction to question literary portrayals of disability, to uncover alternative readings which might resist negative portrayals of disability, and to pursue readings of disability resilience in relationships and communities.

Topics can include but are not limited to:

  • Madness and other invisible disabilities
  • The intersection of disability and race/gender/sex, etc.
  • Asylum narratives
  • Invalidism and hypochondria
  • Disability and industrialism
  • Embodiment
  • Eugenics
  • Care work

Chapter proposal submission:

Please submit an abstract no longer than 500 words to Sara Dorsten (volume editor) at by 15 December 2023. Additionally, please include a short biography (max. 300 words).

Extended deadline for abstracts submission: February 29th, 2024

This proposal is due on February 29th 2024.

Page last updated on January 4th 2024. All information correct at the time, but subject to change.