Crafting Communities: Rethinking Academic Engagement in Pandemic Times and Beyond

It is July 2020, the summer of Covid. Libraries are closed. Museums are closed. University courses and conferences have moved online. A small group of Victorianists gathers on Zoom to learn how to make hair art. Led by Vanessa Warne (U of Manitoba), the event is a test run for the upcoming semester, when Vanessa plans to make hair art with students in an online literature class. Twisting wire around hair, we reflect on the forms of presence and connection

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The Industrial Devolution podcast

The Industrial Devolution podcast is a new project by Dr. Tobias Wilson-Bates that seeks to think through many of the systems, practices, and aftereffects of the nineteenth century. In its first episode, Dr. Pearl Chaozon-Bauer and Dr. Sabrina Gilchrist lend their expertise to an exploration of the role dance plays in Jane Austen’s Emma (1815). By examining the text, the project seeks to explore how dance scenes’ narrative gravity was not only a product of good writing, but also a

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The rise and fall of the historical novel?

Everyone agrees that the historical novel is an almost impossible genre to write successfully. Yet it keeps being written, and being successful. It’s having rather a boom in the early 21st century, with the success of Hilary Mantel’s Thomas Cromwell trilogy and others.  And it had its biggest boom in the early Victorian period, propelled into the limelight by Walter Scott and his Waverley novels, and proliferated by many anonymous and many now sidelined authors including John Galt, sisters Jane

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Hard Times and radical collectivity in the era of COVID-19 

One of the most memorable – and puzzling – moments in Charles Dickens’s Hard Times (1854) occurs when the beleaguered factory worker Stephen Blackpool falls into an abandoned mineshaft.  Ostracized by his fellow mill “Hands” for his refusal to join the union, prevented by intractable Victorian divorce laws from marrying his true love Rachael, and framed for a bank robbery he did not commit, Stephen flees the grim, industrial city of Coketown but changes course when Rachael implores him to

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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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DIGITAL FORUM: ‘The Future of Academic Journals’ (21:1)

‘The Future of Academic Journals’ edited by Zoe Alker, Christopher Donaldson and James Mussell. This Digital Forum offers perspectives on the opportunities and challenges presented by the use of digital technologies in academic publishing, networking and communication. It features position papers from three participants in the ‘Victorian Studies Journals: Coming of Age’ roundtable that convened at BAVS 2015: Lucinda Matthews-Jones, James Mussell and Helen Rogers. Collectively, these three scholars offer incisive reflections on the ways that scholars and publishers have

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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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Amy Milne-Smith, On the trail of madness: (Micro) media panics in the Victorian press

 Amy Milne-Smith is Associate Professor of History at Wilfrid Laurier University, Canada. She is the author of London Clubland: A Cultural History of Gender and Class in Late-Victorian Britain (2011) and several articles on the history of elite masculinity. Her current research focuses on representations and understandings of men’s mental illness both in public and private life. You can follow her on Twitter @AmyMilneSmith. This post accompanies Amy Milne-Smith’s Journal of Victorian Culture article, ‘Shattered Minds: Madmen on the Railways’, which can

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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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Vicky Nagy, Video games, the Victorian Era and Sherlock Holmes

Although a huge Sherlock Holmes fan, Victoria M Nagy researched female criminality during the mid-nineteenth century in Essex for her PhD which she graduated with in 2012 from Monash University. She is currently an Honorary Associate with La Trobe University and is working on a new project focusing on female criminality in the colony of Victoria from 1860 to 1900. Her book Nineteenth-Century Female Poisoners: Three English Women Who Used Arsenic to Kill is now available from Palgrave MacMillan. Her

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