Nathalie Vanfasse

Her research interests include poetics, society and historicism, cultural approaches of Victorian literature, social, literary and artistic conventions and deviance in Victorian literature, nineteenth-century travel writing, and reception of Dickens in France; currently she is exploring connections between literature and economics.

Her monograph Dickens, entre normes et déviance (2007) was shortlisted for the 2008 prize of the French society for British and American Studies, and La plume et la route: Charles Dickens écrivain-voyager (2017) was awarded the 2018 SELVA prize (Société d’Etude de la Littérature de Voyage du Monde Anglophone). She has co-edited special issues on Dickens for Dickens Quarterly and Cahiers Victoriens et Edouardiens (2012) as well as two volumes on Charles Dickens, Modernism, Modernity (2014). The Oxford Handbook of Charles Dickens (2018) includes her chapter on Dickens’s second historical novel ‒ A Tale of Two Cities. She co-edited Reading Dickens Differently (2020; with Leon Litvack) and Some Keywords in Dickens (2021; with Michael Hollington and Francesca Orestano).

During the conference, Prof. Vanfasse will talk about

Mind, Body and Spirituality: Economics of Hope, Reshaping Victorian Great Expectations

Hope is a fundamental emotion that reflects a state of mind, plays out in the body, determines our attitude towards the future, our handling of uncertainty, and conditions our actions and decisions. I would like to show that the Victorian frame of mind was often close to current rational economic theory that pays relatively little attention to this emotion. Some Victorians however explored fascinating ways of working this fundamental emotion into forms of economic thinking bordering on spirituality. Such was the case with Dickens in his novel Great Expectations that refashions Victorian economic anticipations into something radically different and even more attuned to the spirit of the age.