Sophie Cooper, ‘Oh woman! woman! Who can resist thy influence’: Male personal writings on romance in mid-nineteenth century Chicago

Sophie Cooper is a third year PhD student and William McFarlane Scholar at the University of Edinburgh. She is studying Irish communities in Melbourne and Chicago between 1850 and 1890, specifically in relation to situational influences on identity formation and nationalist thought. Sophie tweets using the handle @SophcoCooper and more information can be found on her academia page If E___ be really a living thing of a warm heart – all elevated sentiments & deep womanly passions – not a

Read more

The Victorian Tactile Imagination: Reappraising touch in nineteenth-century culture

THE VICTORIAN TACTILE IMAGINATION: Reappraising touch in the nineteenth-century culture Centre for Nineteenth-Century Studies, Birkbeck, London 19-20 July, 2013 It is always exciting when you feel part of something big, and when Professor David Howes (Concordia University) asserts that there are some ‘stirrings’ in the academy then you know it’s special. Many claims are made for the impact of a conference’s scope, and they do establish new ideas and contribute to the wider scholarship as well as create new networks

Read more

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

Read more

The Delights of “Living in” and Working in a Cardiff Department Store

Michelle Matthews (Independent Scholar) The industrial revolution has typically been characterised as separating home from work. Yet as the BBC drama ‘The Paradise’ shows, home and work merged in the department store with shop assistants often living over the shop as part of their employment term. Fondly known as ‘Living in’, this practice played a crucial role in the recruitment of staff in a number of professions during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. In the department store it functioned as

Read more

Walking the Corridors of the Past: A tour of Singleton Abbey

Lucinda Matthews-Jones (Liverpool John Moores University) In a recent blog for History Workshop Online, Toby Butler suggests that field trips should become ‘an essential part of the…university curriculum’, noting that ‘[s]urely no history degree taught in a city could not find a place for a visit to a museum or a historic site, and perhaps a talk from a curator?’ I agree with Toby. As university teachers, I believe we should be thinking of imaginative ways to teach our modules

Read more

Book Review: Elite Dancing and Dining in London and Paris

Society Dancing: Fashionable Bodies in England, 1870-1920, by Theresa Jill Buckland, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011, x + 200 pp., £50.00 (hardback) ISBN 978-0-230-27714-4 Bourgeois Consumption: Food, Space and Identity in London and Paris, 1850-1914, by Rachel Rich, Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2011, ix + 213 pp., £55.00 (hardback) ISBN 978-0-7190-8112-5 Reviewed by Dr Kelly Boyd, Institute of Historical Research, University of London k.boyd@blueyonder.co.uk As Leonore Davidoff showed us in The Best Circles, one of the most difficult tasks in nineteenth-century English

Read more

New Agenda – Fragments of the Modern City: Material Culture and the Rhythms of Everyday Life in Victorian London

Lining the shelves of a Museum of London warehouse are thousands of boxes of the broken and fragmented belongings of Victorian Londoners. In JVC 15.2 Alastair Owens, Nigel Jeffries, Karen Wehner and Rupert Featherby consider how such evidence can contribute to our understanding of the social and cultural worlds of Victorian Londoners. Does it allow us to grasp the ‘actualities’ of life in the modern metropolis, obscured by a pervasive bourgeois gaze that saturates other historical sources? This article is

Read more

Book Reviews (15.2)

Malcolm Chase on G. W. M. Reynolds: Nineteenth-Century Fiction, Politics, and the Press, edited by Anne Humpherys and Louis James (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2008). To read the full review, visit http://www.informaworld.com/openurl?genre=article&issn=1355%2d5502&volume=15&issue=2&spage=299 David Richter on Rebecca Stern’s Home Economics: Domestic Fraud in Victorian England (Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 2008). To read the full review, visit http://www.informaworld.com/openurl?genre=article&issn=1355%2d5502&volume=15&issue=2&spage=303. Talia Schaffer on John Plotz’s Portable Property: Victorian Culture on the Move (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2008). To read the full review, visit http://www.informaworld.com/openurl?genre=article&issn=1355%2d5502&volume=15&issue=2&spage=307.

Read more

Wendy Parkins, ‘Feeling at Home: Gender and Creative Agency at Red House’

In JVC 15.1, Wendy Parkins explores the relationships between men and women, friends and lovers at Red house, home of Jane and William Morris. She considers how the inhabitants expressed hospitality and affection through their use of space and objects. In their furnishings and ornamentation, Jane Morris and Georgiana Burne-Jones  articulated their capacity for agency not merely as aesthetic objects but as creative subjects. Click here for further images of Red House Click here to visit Red House Click here

Read more

Supriya Chaudhuri, ‘Phantasmagorias of the Interior: Furniture, Modernity, and Early Bengali Fiction’

The Bengali novel, Supriya Chaudhuri finds in JVC 15.1, housed suspicion and distrust of European furnishings and the bourgeois individual that collected them. In the fiction of Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941), this distrust manifests itself in a rejection of the bourgeois interior and a questioning of the very tools of realist representation. Yet Chaudhuri finds similarities as well as differences between the early Bengali novel and the classic realist experiment, for both shared a horror of fussy, over-stuffed apartments and the

Read more