Call for Papers: Hybridity and Women’s Writing in Eighteenth-century Britain

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Guest Editors: Francesca Blanch-Serrat, Paula Yurss Lasanta

In the last four decades, hybridity has become an umbrella term encompassing a variety of disciplines, including biology, linguistics, postcolonial studies, media studies, and cultural studies. Particularly within literary studies, genre hybridity refers to the blending of themes, forms, and other elements from different genres—a practice with a long and fruitful history as old as literature itself. As a hybrid field itself, literature cannot be extricated from “extraneous elements”such as the sociopolitical context, class, age, or gender. According to Behling’s formulation2, the hybrid genre exists as a site for identity negotiation and resistance. In this sense, the hybrid genre allows for the assertion, reconsideration, and articulation of women’s identities. In women’s writing, it becomes a strategy and a vehicle for intellectual contemplation and expression. 

Indebted to the hybridity of genre in the early modern period, the eighteenth century saw a blossoming of hybrid texts fostered by new forms of circulation and the growing literary market. Authors “experimented with hybrid combinations to a degree previously unrecognized”3, and women writers in particular, often excluded from intellectual debates because of their gender, not only experimented with blending different genres but also challenged conventional notions of authorship and literary authority to navigate the constraints imposed on them. Examples of hybridity can be found in the blending of biography and fiction in Romantic novels by Mary Wollstonecraft, Mary Hays, Mary Robinson, and Mary Shelley4, as well as in genres such as the travelogue, the sentimental periodical, the agricultural tour, the cookery book, or the memoir, and other examples of life writing. 

By examining eighteenth-century women’s writing through the lens of hybridity, Hybridity and Women’s Writing in Eighteenth-Century Britain seeks to illuminate new pathways for understanding and appreciating the complexities of women’s literary production during this era. 

Located in the intersections of gender, genre, and hybridity, the editors of this volume seek contributions that explore the various ways in which women writers asserted, reconsidered, and articulated their literary identities within the socio-cultural milieu of the eighteenth century through hybrid texts. Special attention will be given to lesser-known case studies and we extend our invitation to submissions that engage with a wide range of hybrid genres, including but not limited to the novel, 

autobiography, periodical essay, travelogue and poetic forms. We welcome interdisciplinary approaches that enrich our understanding of literary studies, such as history, philosophy and other relevant disciplines. 

Topics of interest may include, but are not limited to: 

• Life writing across genres. 

• Hybrid identities: queer identities, ethnicity, interfaith relations, women and the empire, etc. 

• Hybrid genres: the agricultural tour, the travelogue, etc. 

• Women’s literary authority and the hybrid form. 

• Genre hybridity in women’s scientific writing: botany, astronomy…

• Memory and narrative truth (Intersection between fact and fiction).

• Genre and political discourse (The political function of literary genres).

• Cultural purity and hybridity in historical contexts. 

Proposals for articles (in the form of an abstract of about 250 words) must be submitted before 30 June 2024. The selected proposals will be announced by late July. Please submit your proposals to: Francesca.Blanch@uab.cat and Paula.Yurss@uab.cat

Completed articles with a maximum length of 8,000 words, including footnotes, must be submitted by November 31, 2024. Articles will include a short biography, an abstract (80-130 words) and 5–10 keywords. Contributors should follow the Brepols Guidelines for Authors. Papers will be published in Hybridity and Women’s Writing in Eighteenth-century Britain (Autumn 2025), as part of the book series Early Modern Women Writers in Europe: Texts, Debates, and Genealogies of Knowledge, published by Brepols Publishers. Please note that the essay submission date and publication schedule are tentative and subject to change, depending on the peer reviewing progress.

Saïd, Edward. “Figures, Configurations, Transfigurations.” From Commonwealth to Post-Colonial. Ed. Anna Rutherford. Dangaroo, 1992: 15.

Behling, Laura L. “‘Generic’ Multiculturalism: Hybrid Texts, Cultural Contexts.” College English, vol. 65, no. 4, 2003: 415. 

3 Ingrassia, Catherine. “Introduction.” The Cambridge Companion to Women’s Writing in Britain, 1660–1789. Ed. Catherine Ingrassia. Cambridge University Press, 2015: 12. 

Cook, Daniel, and Amy Culley. Women’s Life Writing, 1700-1850: Gender, Genre and Authorship. Palgrave Macmillan, 2016: 5.