Call for Papers: War, Espionage, and Masculinity in British Fiction

Vernon Press invites chapter proposals on War, Espionage, and Masculinity in British Fiction.

Conflicts over control of the British Empire, two World Wars, and the Cold War meant that for most of the Twentieth Century, British men were either at war, trying to prevent war, or recovering from the aftermath of war.  This book will explore how fictional characters shape and reflect perceptions of what it means to be a man who either experiences the conflict, or who has to shape a masculine identity without the experience of war or espionage while aware of the examples set by real or fictional heroes.  Papers on single authors or works, multiple authors, or works and their film adaptations are welcome.

This call is to add to material from the 2019 Northeast Modern Language Association Conference panel “War, Espionage, and Masculinity in Twentieth Century British Fiction.”  Chapter proposals on the following authors and works have already been accepted: Erskine Childers’s The Riddle of the Sands, Joseph Conrad’s, The Secret Agent, Dorothy Sayer’s Peter Wimsey novels, Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway, Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited, Ian Fleming’s “The Living Daylights”, le Carré’s The Night Manager, and Ian McEwan’s Saturday, The Innocent, and Sweet Tooth.

Authors should avoid major discussion of works already on this list, adding material rather than repeating it.  Chapters on works from Waugh other than Brideshead, Fleming other than “The Living Daylights” and le Carré other than The Night Manager, for example, are encouraged. Any British author whose fiction reflects on how war and/or espionage might shape or reflect on perceptions of masculinity or what it means to be a man – or to fail to be one -- is appropriate subject matter for this call.  Chapters on works from before or after the Twentieth Century will be considered if they fit thematically. 

Deadline for proposals: September 22, 2019

Deadline for first drafts: February 22, 2020

How to submit your proposal

Please submit one-page proposals (200 words aprox.) including an annotated summary and a short biographical note.

For further questions or to submit your proposal, you can email Susan Austin (

A paper that has been published previously may not be included.

Selected abstracts will be notified by mid-October 2019, and full chapters should be submitted by February 22, 2020. Complete chapter lengths should be between 6000-7000 words.

Selected papers (subject to double blind peer review) may appear in an edited volume with Vernon Press. Vernon Press is an independent publisher of scholarly books in the social sciences and humanities. We work closely with authors, academic associations, distributors and library information specialists to identify and develop high quality, high impact titles.

This proposal is due on September 22nd 2019.

Page last updated on April 23rd 2019. All information correct at the time, but subject to change.