- Editor’s Note
Victorian studies has long been at the forefront of scholarly studies of gender and sexuality. From Sandra M. Gilbert and Susan Gubar’s groundbreaking examination of the anxiety of authorship experienced by women writers as they confronted the lack of female forebears to Eve Sedgwick’s analysis of the homosocial bonds upon which male privilege is so precariously predicated, our field has produced some of the most widely influential works in feminist and queer theory. This legacy makes it both puzzling and troubling that our discipline has been relatively slow to take up, in a sustained manner, the vibrant scholarship that has emerged from transgender studies over the past three decades and the ways in which it, as Susan Stryker writes, “willfully disrupts the privileged family narratives that favor sexual identity labels (like gay, lesbian, bisexual, and heterosexual) over the gender categories (like man and woman) that enable desire to take shape and find its aim” (212). Our special issue on “trans Victorians” hopes to kick-start this long overdue engagement. Guest edited by Ardel Haefele-Thomas, this collection of essays draws together research in cultural history, literary studies, and cinema and performance studies and asks our readers to consider the ways in which trans theory compels us to rethink the sex-gender system of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
The forum for the Spring 2013 issue (39.1) of Victorian Review, “Built Victorian Environments,” examined architectural projects as diverse as the first public toilet and Brunel’s tunnel under the Thames. In the forum for this issue, we revisit the spaces and structures Victorians created but focus on public art. In essays on both extant and lost works, from within and beyond the United Kingdom, our essayists share insight into art’s presence in public spaces and into the ways that installations, such as monuments, expressed but also shaped public sentiment.
We are delighted to welcome several new members to our Editorial Advisory Board: Lara Karapenko (Carroll University), Tina Choi (York University), Monica Flegel (Lakehead University), John Miller (University of Sheffield), and Tabitha Sparks (McGill University). Advisory board members serve as an important sounding board for the journal’s editorial policy and assist with the mentoring of emergent scholars through our Hamilton Prize competition. We are very fortunate to have such highly respected scholars, with so many demands on their time, join our board.
As we welcome these new board members, we must also say a goodbye. Daniel M. Martin has been Victorian Review’s book review editor since [End Page v] volume 41 (2015), keeping track of the often overwhelming number of new books published in the field and ensuring that they are sent to the best possible reviewers. Under his expert guidance, the journal’s book review section has remained one of the most respected and widely read in the field. We wish him all the best as he strikes out in new directions.