‘Rethinking the Nineteenth Century’ Conference Report

By Kirsten Harris, University of Nottingham The University of Sheffield’s one day conference ‘Rethinking the Nineteenth Century’, held on 24th August, centred on the timely question ‘what constitutes nineteenth century studies today?’.  This stimulated a thought-provoking and broad set of responses, with some papers offering rethinkings of specific texts, ideas or historical assumptions while others focused on considerations of the changing field itself. The day began with Mark Llewellyn’s interrogation of contemporary engagement with Victorian culture in his keynote paper,

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Peter J. Katz, ‘Dickens, the Digital, and The Doctor’

By Peter J. Katz, Syracuse University In the latest Doctor Who Christmas Special (watch from 53:41 to 54:30), the Great Intelligence, a disembodied and purely intellectual power, threatens to take over Victorian London with an army of snowmen. At the last moment, The Doctor stumbles upon the secret weapon to use against the horde: a family crying on Christmas Eve. To be more particular, though: a Victorian family crying on a Victorian Christmas Eve. Doctor Who taps into a nostalgia

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Dickens, the Digital, and The Doctor

By Peter J. Katz, Syracuse University In the latest Doctor Who Christmas Special (watch from 53:41 to 54:30), the Great Intelligence, a disembodied and purely intellectual power, threatens to take over Victorian London with an army of snowmen. At the last moment, The Doctor stumbles upon the secret weapon to use against the horde: a family crying on Christmas Eve. To be more particular, though: a Victorian family crying on a Victorian Christmas Eve. Doctor Who taps into a nostalgia

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Digital Continuations of Victorian Classics

By Carrie Sickmann Han, Indiana University Charles Dickens’s novels might actually go on forever, not only as immortal works of literature, but as infinitely continuable fictions, thanks in part to tweets like the one above. It’s a familiar fact that the digital humanities supply us with new methodological tools and reading platforms, but these technologies also produce a seemingly inexhaustible, living archive of neo-Victorian fictions that reposition us as co-authors of beloved Victorian novels. Twitter isn’t only “like” a Dickens

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Steampunk, Technological Time & Beyond Victoriana: Advocacy and the Archive

By Diana Pho Steampunk studies is an outlier in Victorian scholarship. In fact, steampunk subculture can arguably be called “neo-Victorian” or even “non-Victorian” in the way that it defies strict adherence to a certain periodization or topic relevance. Steampunk is an aesthetic movement inspired by nineteenth-century science fiction and fantasy. Over the years, however, that umbrella phrase has expanded to include speculation outside of an established time-frame (such as post-apocalyptic or futuristic), outside of the established geography of the Western

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Building a Special Collections Resource: A Few Reflections

The Punch and the Victorian Periodical Press Resource at Liverpool John Moores University was first established in 2008 by Dr Clare Horrocks (Senior Lecturer in Media, Culture, Communication) to provide a repository for the research she conducted on Punch and its contributors for a Curran Fellowship from the Research Society for Victorian Periodicals (RSVP). The Resource not only includes a physical collection of the magazine Punch but also samples of many other popular Victorian periodicals and magazines.  Perhaps the most

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Literary Theory and ‘Goblin Market’

Those who teach or research any kind of literature will, at some point, spend some time thinking about literary theory: about how we read, what we bring to the texts we read, and which approaches best suit our methodologies or modules. Whether your research interests are the Victorian novel or seventeenth-century poetry, theory is a crucial part of the discipline today, opening up new approaches and fresh fields of enquiry for literary scholars. Yet it sometimes seems to me that

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BAVS 2013: Numbering Numbers

In a memorable scene from Dickens’s Hard Times, Sissy Jupe recounts to Louisa Gradgrind her failure in her lessons to understand the ‘true’ meaning of numbers. She laments: ‘And [Mr M’Choakumchild] said, This schoolroom is an immense town, and in it there are a million of inhabitants, and only five-and-twenty are starved to death in the streets, in the course of a year. What is your remark on that proportion? And my remark was – for I couldn’t think of

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Identifying the Victorian middle class

By Guy Woolnough At BAVS this year, Lucinda Matthews-Jones raised an interesting point about how we define class. How useful or sound is it to typify a person as ‘middle class’? What could that mean, when the individuals who might be so described are such a diverse group in every respect? Education, income, profession, respectability are so subjective and variable that they must be of poor value in any attempt to construct an objective assessment of the middle class status

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This Charming Dickens…

Michael Slater’s recent work, The Great Charles Dickens Scandal, brilliantly opens with a selection of the various headlines that Dickens-based news stories have run in recent years. Predictably, they mostly relate to his relationship with Ellen Ternan, and range from the dramatic (‘THE DARK SIDE OF DICKENS AND THE LOVE THAT DESTROYED HIS MARRIAGE’) to the salacious (‘DICKENS’S ROMPS WITH NAUGHTY NELLY’) to the somewhat bizarre and creepy (‘DICKENS KEPT A KEEN EYE ON FALLEN WOMEN’).[1] With the approaching release

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