JVC

Women in the business of waking up industrial Britain

Today, most of us cannot imagine waking up at the desired hour without our alarm clocks and smartphones. Clearly, such devices add to the convenience of our lives. But how did people wake up when alarm clocks did not exist or were not affordable to ordinary people? How did people ensure that they were not late for work? The answer is with the aid of “knocker ups”. Knocker ups were human alarm clocks –they were employed by clients who needed

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JVC 25.2 is now available

Given the challenging circumstances in which we are all working – authors, editors, the team at OUP, our anonymous reviewers – we are especially proud to launch the Summer issue of Journal of Victorian Culture. We want to thank all the contributors to the work of the journal for their patient and too often unsung efforts on behalf of JVC.  Our cover image comes from Victoria Mills’ richly illustrated open access essay on Charles Kingsley’s Hypatia, a mid-century novel that

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Toy Theatres and Real Ones

Toy theatre was a popular children’s entertainment from around 1811 (the date of the first preserved sheets) until the 1860s. More than just a model stage, publishers offered young practitioners a variety of scenery and character sheets, abridged play scripts, and small-scale special effects with which to perform juvenile dramas.[1] Publishers often based juvenile productions on popular plays staged in full-scale London theatres. Melodramas and pantomimes were usually favoured for miniature productions. In an interview with Henry Mayhew in 1850,

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Cotton Famine Poetry as Affective Commentary in Lancashire and Beyond

Apart from short journalistic pieces and the material produced for the database [1] associated with the AHRC-funded project, ‘The Poetry of the Lancashire Cotton Famine 1861-65’, my article which appears in Journal of Victorian Culture 25.1 is the first of probably several publications on the literary-historical-cultural subject to which I have devoted the last few years of my research. The article’s title, “This ’Merikay War’: Poetic Responses in Lancashire to the American Civil War’, with its reference to provincial Lancashire

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‘Many kindred topics’: exploring the potential of the Victorian underground

In 1873, American writer and explorer Thomas Wallace Knox published Underground: Or, Life Below the Surface. Weighing in at a hefty 953 pages and drawing on the author’s own personal experience as well as ‘numerous books of travel’, ‘literary gentlemen’, and fictional and scientific sources, it offered an apparently exhaustive examination of every underground space at that point known to mankind: mines, riverbeds, vaults, caves, and many more.[1] Indeed, its subtitle was almost as long as the winding, subterranean labyrinths

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The latest issue of JVC (24.4) is now available

The editors are pleased to introduce the latest issue of Journal of Victorian Culture in time for your December break. This issue includes our latest Graduate Essay Prize winner, Lucy Whitehead’s “Restless Dickens: A Victorian Life in Motion, 1872–1927″: a superbly innovative investigation of John Forster’s biography as a kind of proto-cinematic text (free access). Two of our essays explore medical-humanities perspectives on well-known authors: Lindsey Stewart’s “‘A New and Fierce Disorder’s Raging’: Monomania in Mary Barton (1848)” and Gregory Brophy’s “Fit and

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Just Like Us: Victoria, Albert and the middle-class family (part 4 of 4)

Part 4: Christmas yet to come With Albert’s death just before Christmas 1861, everything changed; Victoria made no entries in her journal until New Year’s Day, though she wrote to King Leopold on 20 December, But oh! To be cut off in the prime of life – to see our pure, happy, quiet domestic life, which alone enabled me to bear my much disliked position, cut off at forty-two – when I had hoped with such instinctive certainty that God

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Just Like Us: Victoria, Albert and the middle-class family (part 3 of 4)

Part 3: Taking position – ‘the locale’ The residences which are most closely associated with Victoria and Albert’s domestic idyll, and that of their burgeoning family, were not palaces or state apartments but retreats. The cost of reimagining the far more modest abodes that had until the late 1840s and early 1850s occupied two sites at almost opposite ends of the kingdom would have been prohibitive to all but the wealthiest. Yet Osborne House and Balmoral Castle, the former almost

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Just Like Us: Victoria, Albert and the middle-class family (part 2 of 4)

Part 2: Taking position – ‘the look’ The Christmas tree engraving was not untypical of depictions of the royal family in the mid-nineteenth century, a period which had in recent decades witnessed a vast expansion in the publication and distribution of popular newspapers and periodicals as a result of technical innovations in printing, distribution and communications. [1] In an analysis of Victoria’s representation in the illustrated press, Virginia McKendry argues that images of the Queen in the Illustrated London News

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Just Like Us: Victoria, Albert and the middle-class family (part 1 of 4)

In behaving publicly much like members of the mid-nineteenth-century middle class, Victoria and Albert achieved great influence – both by making their subjects aspire to be like them, and by displaying their contemporaneity with those they ruled. This examination of aspects of the royal family’s domestic life, and of the image they presented to the nation, makes reference to selected diary entries and correspondence of Queen Victoria, and to imagery illustrating how Victoria and Albert might appear to their contemporaries almost as being ‘just like us’.

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