JVC

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,

Read more

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

Read more

‘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

Read more

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

Read more

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

Read more

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

Read more

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

Read more

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’.

Read more

Shannon Draucker, ‘The Queen Goes to the Opera’

Shannon Draucker is a PhD Candidate in English at Boston University.  Her dissertation project, Sounding Bodies: Music and Physiology in Victorian Narrative, explores literary responses to emerging scientific understandings of the physics and physiology of sound during the Victorian period.  Her project shows how new discoveries of the embodied nature of music and sound inform scenes in which authors grant their characters desires, pleasures, identities, and relationships otherwise unavailable to them.  At Boston University, she teaches English and Writing courses

Read more

Ann Kennedy Smith, ‘Tennyson the European’

Ann Kennedy Smith is a panel tutor at Cambridge University’s Institute of Continuing Education. Her monograph Painted Poetry: Colour in Baudelaire’s Art Criticism was published by Peter Lang in 2011, and since then she has researched and written on Tennyson’s French reception. She is currently researching Cambridge’s university wives 1870-1914, and is a contributor to the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Her Twitter handle is @akennedysmith.   Figure 1 Alfred Tennyson, 1869, portrait by Julia Cameron Alfred Lord Tennyson (1809-1892)

Read more