The Adventure of the “Petticoated Police”

“In cases of mere suspicion, women detectives are more satisfactory than men, for they are less likely to attract attention.”[1] Ebenezer Dyer to Loveday Brooke, ‘The Redhill Sisterhood’ What detective doesn’t begin with “mere suspicion”? And yet the “petticoated police”, as Mrs Paschal terms herself and her female colleagues in one of the earliest detective stories featuring a female detective, remain outliers in a genre dominated by Sherlock Holmes and his brothers.[2] Even Joseph Kestner’s exploration of early female detectives,

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BBC’s 2020 Dracula and its Others

Remakes of Victorian novels abound in the twenty-first century. While Dracula seems to be a particular favourite for re-writes, we seem consistently drawn back to the Victorian era for our gothic monsters: The Limehouse Golem, Penny Dreadful, Jekyll + Hyde, Sweeney Todd, and many more.[1] Beth Palmer describes these almost Freudian re-imaginings as ‘dramas which are often […] seeking to re-stage, in different ways, the neo-Victorian double-act of surprise and recognition: the Victorians were so strange; the Victorians were strange

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The Case of the Extraordinary Sidekick

“I am not retained by the police to supply their deficiencies” [1] Sherlock Holmes to Dr John Watson, ‘The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle’ Policing remains, today, a highly contested activity of the state.[2] It has professionalised—and bureaucratised—a great deal since its nineteenth-century inception, but it remains plagued by a fundamental anxiety that the police, not Lady Justice, are blind. This post explores the underlying mistrust of the professional police that flows from Conan Doyle’s Sherlock stories through to the

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Humans vs. Animals: Reimagining the Role of Martians in H.G. Wells’ ‘The War of the Worlds’

If you have ever read or heard of H. G. Wells’ The War of the Worlds (1898), then you will be familiar with its role in the literary world of science fiction fantasy and reality. With the recent launch of a new BBC three-part adaptation of Wells’ classic tale, there is no better time to discuss the novel in a new light, reimagine the role of Martians and provide new critical insight into the relationship between the human and the

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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

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Katherine Byrne, Review of ‘Doctor Thorne’ (dir. Niall MacCormick, writer Julian Fellowes, ITV, 2016)

Katherine is a Lecturer in English at the University of Ulster, where she teaches nineteenth- and twentieth-century literature and women’s writing. She is the author of Tuberculosis and the Victorian Literary Imagination (Cambridge University Press, 2011) and Edwardians on Screen: From Downton Abbey to Parade’s End (Palgrave, 2015).   As it has been some weeks since Julian Fellowes ended his domination of our Sunday night viewing schedules with the Christmas ending of Downton Abbey, it was inevitable that he would

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Rachel Carroll, “Sugar’s The Past”: Black British History in ITV’s Jericho (2016)

Rachel Carroll is Reader in English at Teesside University.  She is the author of Rereading Heterosexuality: Feminism, Queer Theory and Contemporary Fiction (2012) and editor of Adaptation in Contemporary Culture: Textual Infidelities (2009) and (with Adam Hansen) Litpop: Writing and Popular Music (2014).  Her essays on black Britain and literary adaptation have been published in Andrea Levy: Contemporary Critical Perspectives (2014) and Adaptation (2015).   In the early months of 2016 American audiences from Washington to New York were able

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Emily Bowles, “What’s to-day, my fine fellow?”: Classifying and Dating Tony Jordan’s ‘Dickensian’

Emily Bowles is a PhD candidate at the University of York. Her research focuses on Charles Dickens’s self-representation 1857-1870, and representations by Dickens’s friends and family 1870-1939. She is also a postgraduate representative for the Northern Nineteenth Century Network and assistant administrator for the Women’s Life Writing Network. You can find her on Twitter @EmilyBowles   I had been keeping an eye out for Dickensian since October 2014, when rumours of it echoed around the Dickens Day Conference in Senate

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Emma Curry, ‘Dickensian’ panel discussion, featuring Tony Jordan and Professor Juliet John: Event Report

Emma Curry is a PhD candidate at Birkbeck, University of London and recently submitted her thesis, titled ‘Language and the Fragmented Body in the Novels of Charles Dickens’. Over the past eighteen months Emma has also been coordinating the ‘Our Mutual Friend Tweets’ project, a Twitter-based adaption of Dickens’s final completed novel. You can follow her on Twitter here: @EmmaLCurry “What if it was set inside Dickens’s mind?” With that single remark, it became clear that Tony Jordan’s new TV

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Drew Gray, Returning to Ripper Street (Part One): A Historian’s Perspective

Drew Gray, University of Northampton. Drew Gray teaches at the University of Northampton. He’s a social historian who specializes in the history of crime. You can follow his Twitter updates @HistoryatNmpton. The third series of Ripper Street had a delayed passage to terrestrial TV. Apparently axed by the BBC after series two’s dramatic finale it finally resurfaced on Amazon Prime after a vociferous campaign by the show’s many fans. I will admit to being one of those who struggled to

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