William Seymour: ‘The Female Cab Driver of Liverpool’

On 10 February 1875, William Seymour, a cab driver, was remanded in custody and charged with stealing ‘22 lbs of beef’ and ‘5 lbs of veal’ from Mr Henry Moorby who owned a butcher’s on Leece Street in Liverpool.[1] Although William categorically maintained his innocence, he was charged with theft and the Liverpool Mercury commented that ‘upon the arm and breast of [his] coat were traces of suet which proved incontestably that he was guilty of the crime’.[2] Although this

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Nelly Erichsen at the Royal Academy, 1880-1886: One woman’s fight to be accepted as a professional artist

To the President and the Council, we the undersigned students of the Royal Academy do hereby respectfully and earnestly petition that rearranging the schools of this institution you will reconsider the question of granting us a life class for the study of the partially draped figure. We beg to lay it before your notice that almost all of us rely on the profession we have chosen as our future means of livelihood. Therefore a class which is considered so essential

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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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A Tale of Two Whitechapels: Jack the Ripper and the Canonical Five in Contemporary True Crime

It wasn’t the best of times, and it wasn’t the worst of times. For Polly Nichols, Annie Chapman, Elisabeth Stride, Cate Eddowes, and Mary Jane Kelly, Whitechapel, London in 1888 was the end of times. Known as “the canonical five” of Jack the Ripper’s victims, these women—largely invisible to London culture during their lives—can’t rest in their deaths. For 130 years writers, criminologists, armchair detectives, filmmakers, and artists have studied and reproduced all of the blood-soaked details of their murders

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Clare Walker-Gore, ‘A Girl Who Wasn’t Born Neat’: Disability, Gender Trouble and ‘What Katy Did’

Susan Coolidge’s What Katy Did has never been out of print since it was first published in 1872. Along with Louisa M. Alcott’s Little Women and L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables, it’s one of a handful of North American classics which have remained popular with young female readers on both sides of the Atlantic – and, upon re-reading, it’s not difficult to see why. Written in a jaunty, accessible style, heavy on dialogue, light on description, and featuring a

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The Global and the Local: NAVSA/BAVS/AVSA Conference Report

By Barbara Franchi,  University of Kent The city of Venice is a labyrinth where the most different cultures and civilizations have met for centuries. So, no location could be better for the first NAVSA/BAVS/AVSA supernumerary conference. During June 3-6, 2013, Victorianists from every corner of the globe gathered on the Island of San Servolo for this unique opportunity to exchange and discuss ideas around the Global and the Local in the 19th century and beyond. With over one hundred participants

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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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Bloggers Fair: Lucy E. Williams and her ‘Wayward Women’

WaywardWomen is a new weekly blog I started writing in April 2012. Posts are all derived from my PhD research into the lives of Victorian England’s Female offenders, in which I examine the who, what, and why of crime in two Victorian cities – Liverpool and London. I examine the life narratives of female offenders in Victorian England, roughly between the periods 1830 – 1911, and assert that to fully understand the relationship between women and crime in Victorian England,

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Bloggers Fair: Michelle Smith and her blog ‘Girls’ Literature’

I began Girls’ Literature and Culture in 2008, not long after completing my PhD at the University of Melbourne. While my scholarly work focuses on gender in nineteenth-century print culture, the freedom of writing a blog, where academic conventions can be flagrantly violated, has helped me to think more about how girls are situated in contemporary popular culture as well. The blog is therefore a melange of all things relating to girlhood from Victorian magazines and novels to recent debates

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Transnational dialogues: Antoinette Burton and the rewritings of British imperial history

Empire in Question: Reading, Writing and Teaching British imperialism by Antoinette Burton, Durham and London: Duke University Press, 2011, 392 pp., £67.00 (hardback) ISBN: 978-0822348801; £16.99 (paperback) ISBN: 978-0822349020 For nearly twenty years Antoinette Burton has practiced and proselytised the ‘new imperial history’. Few interested readers will be unaware of Burton’s contribution to the field of British studies even if, as many of the essays reproduced here make clear, a fundamental objective of Burton’s work has been ‘displacing the nation

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