Will the Real Esther Price Please Stand Up? Archival Fiction & The Mill

By Catherine Feely Quarry Bank Mill in Cheshire, the setting and subject of Channel 4’s drama The Mill, holds a privileged place in my early historical training. My mother remembers that when I was a child, bored stiff by country houses when my parents invested in membership to the National Trust in the 1980s, a trip to the cotton mill could always be counted on to stop me moaning. (My father half-jokes that he has spent all of his adult

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Knickerbockers and Tight-Lacing:Ruth Goodman’s ‘How To Be A Victorian’

‘How To Be A Victorian’ (Penguin/Viking, 2013) by Ruth Goodman review by Gabrielle Malcolm Sometimes it’s hard to be a woman, as the song goes. It was especially hard to be a Victorian woman. We think we know, and we certainly do – on many levels – understand the hardships that people underwent on a daily basis, from morning until night. But is this awareness not just one of academic, historic facts? Do we really appreciate or empathise with what

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Cruise Liners, Crypts and the Paradox of Venice

by Helen Kingstone (Leeds Trinity University / University of Leeds) Standing in the majestic Council Chamber of the Doge’s Palace, you’d be forgiven for thinking that Venice was still thriving as a Renaissance maritime empire. But suddenly a shadow falls over the room. The view from the window is obliterated, and filled instead with a different image: the huge white side of a cruise liner. This is a common occurrence in Venice, whose population is more than doubled each day

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John Addington Symonds, literary tourism and the colour of Venetian canals

Amber K. Regis (University of Sheffield) In the weeks leading up to the recent NAVSA/BAVS/AVSA conference, hosted by Ca’ Foscari University in Venice, I read the following passage from John Addington Symonds’s The Fine Arts, the third volume in his Renaissance in Italy series: Venice, with her pavement of liquid chrysoprase, with her palaces of porphyry and marble, her frescoed facades, her quays and squares aglow with the costumes of the Levant, her lagoons afloat with the galleys of all

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Issues in the Digital Humanities: A Key Skills Package for Postgraduate Researchers

Jen Morgan (University of Salford) It is surprising, given the increase in both the production and use of digitised materials by people who wouldn’t necessarily describe themselves as ‘digital humanists’, that it is so difficult to find a general, introductory course on what is involved in producing such resources. That was the position that Elinor Taylor (@ElinorMTaylor) and I found ourselves in when, having bid successfully for funding to run a course for post-graduate students and early career researchers on

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Images of Victorian Motherhood, Effaced and Exposed

Recently I’ve been contemplating motherhood as it is represented in Victorian hidden mother portraits and Victorian breastfeeding portraits, two fascinating photographic trends. A little over a year ago, I stumbled upon Chelsea Nichols’ post about hidden mothers in Victorian photographs on her blog, The Museum of Ridiculously Interesting Things. These images typically depict a shrouded woman holding or standing behind a baby or child, ostensibly to keep the child still for the camera while remaining out of the image.  The

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Brontë by Polly Teale

By Charlotte Mathieson, University of Warwick In May 2013, the Capitol Theatre in Manchester staged a production of the play Brontë, by Polly Teale. Originally staged by Shared Experience in 2005 (of which you can view a short trailer online), the play explores the life and writing of the Brontës through key episodes from their lives and scenes from their writing. I went to watch the production with fellow Victorianist and life-writing specialist Amber Regis, and in this filmed conversation

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The Secret of Lincoln Jail

Review by Guy Woolnough, Keele University. Time Team Specials, Channel Four, 30th June 2013. The excellent ‘Secret of Lincoln Jail’ showed how history can and should be presented.  The medium was used to deliver an interesting programme which did neither sensationalised its subject nor patronised its audience. It engaged with the serious issues without being overly complex or tedious. Lincoln gaol (the spelling I prefer) was used as the star, and enabled the presentation of a history of incarceration since

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‘Cruel beyond belief’? Secrets from the Workhouse, ITV, episode 1, 25 June 2013.

Lesley Hulonce (Swansea University) Secrets of the Workhouse followed a similar path to the BBC’s successful Who Do You Think You Are? However, its exploration of the workhouse experiences of the ancestors of not one, but four celebrities guaranteed heartbreak and regular celebrity tears throughout. Episode One (of two) looked at the family histories of Brian Cox’s antecedents in Glasgow, Fern Britton’s in rural Kent and the experience of Barbara Taylor Bradford’s mother and grandmother in Ripon. Kiera Chaplin, the

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Free Access to the JVC Graduate Prize Essay Published Articles

In honor of the June 30th deadline for this year’s JVC Graduate Prize Essay, we are offering free access to the published articles of several previous winners. Take a look at the exciting and innovative work done by these up and coming scholars! 2011 (17.3) Bob Nicholson “You Kick the Bucket; We Do the Rest!’: Jokes and the Culture of Reprinting in the Transatlantic Press’ 2009 (15.1) Tiffany Watt-Smith ‘Darwin’s Flinch: Sensation Theatre and Scientific Looking in 1872 2007 (13.1)

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