Neo-Victorian Studies & Digital Humanities Week 2013

In the following days, JVC Online will feature a week of posts devoted to the connections between Neo-Victorian studies and digital humanities. The goal of this week is to consider the ways in which we are mobilizing the tools, concepts, and methodologies of digital humanities research and pedagogy to re-contextualize, revise, and re-envision Victorian culture in terms of our age. Just as JVC Online’s digital form enables it to have broad reach, so too do the digital and technological elements

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Tinkering with Victorian History

By Roger Whitson, Washington State University Paolo Bacigalupi’s steampunk novel The Wind-Up Girl imagines a world where the loss of fossil fuels and electricity has completely transformed the politics of our planet and brought about a second industrial age.[i] The strange new Victorian-styled machines populating this world rely on human and animal caloric expenditure enhanced by a complicated system of springs to maximize the output. Technology is completely redesigned to function appropriately, with combustion-engines reserved for the extremely rich. Bacigalupi’s

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You Already Know How to Do This: Natively Digital Victorian Studies

By Shawna Ross, Arizona State University Are you a Victorianist for the texture? For the alterity of antiquation, the distance from cell phones and computer screens, the grainy look of moveable type, the strange dimensionality of lithographs? If the charm of analog transfixes you, it may seem that the the digital may be not just alien but positively antagonistic to the values and preferences that drew you to the field. Or you may also draw back from the digital humanities

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The Pinteresting Broken-Doll Aesthetic of Neo-Victorian Alices

By Amanda Lastoria, Simon Fraser University Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1865) endures as one of ‘the most popular children’s classics in the English language’[i], thanks to the creative vision and commercial savvy of Lewis Carroll and his contemporary publishers. Carroll created not just the Alice text, but the Alice books. Carroll was an art director. He oversaw the illustration, design and production of the first edition of Alice, and he (re)published the text in multiple editions that strategically segmented the

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Ethics and the Digital Archive: The Case for Visualizing H. Rider Haggard

By Kate Holterhoff, Carnegie Mellon University Over the past fifteen years, digitization has completely revised archival work. Digital texts introduce novel means of encountering the past because they simultaneously exist materially and ideally; everywhere and nowhere; in the past and the present. As NINEs and BRANCH founder Dino Felluga argues, ‘our current postmodern age tends toward dematerialization’ (308), or what Alan Liu of RoSE and Transliteracies calls ‘unit-detail atomism’ (84), suggesting that online archives are postmodern by virtue of their

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‘Rethinking the Nineteenth Century’ Conference Report

By Kirsten Harris, University of Nottingham The University of Sheffield’s one day conference ‘Rethinking the Nineteenth Century’, held on 24th August, centred on the timely question ‘what constitutes nineteenth century studies today?’.  This stimulated a thought-provoking and broad set of responses, with some papers offering rethinkings of specific texts, ideas or historical assumptions while others focused on considerations of the changing field itself. The day began with Mark Llewellyn’s interrogation of contemporary engagement with Victorian culture in his keynote paper,

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‘Neo-Victorian Villainy: Adaptation and Reinvention on Page, Stage and Screen’ Conference Report

By Benjamin Poore, University of York Eckart Voigts (Braunschweig) then presented the second keynote, on Nell Leyshon and her first-person tale of murder The Colour of Milk, which has been widely compared with Hardy’s Tess of the D’Urbervilles. Via a live Skype link with the author in the department’s Holbeck Cinema, Professor Voigts was able to interview Leyshon, and she was able to take questions from the floor. One of the questions that arose from this session, and from the

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Dickens, the Digital, and The Doctor

By Peter J. Katz, Syracuse University In the latest Doctor Who Christmas Special (watch from 53:41 to 54:30), the Great Intelligence, a disembodied and purely intellectual power, threatens to take over Victorian London with an army of snowmen. At the last moment, The Doctor stumbles upon the secret weapon to use against the horde: a family crying on Christmas Eve. To be more particular, though: a Victorian family crying on a Victorian Christmas Eve. Doctor Who taps into a nostalgia

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Peter J. Katz, ‘Dickens, the Digital, and The Doctor’

By Peter J. Katz, Syracuse University In the latest Doctor Who Christmas Special (watch from 53:41 to 54:30), the Great Intelligence, a disembodied and purely intellectual power, threatens to take over Victorian London with an army of snowmen. At the last moment, The Doctor stumbles upon the secret weapon to use against the horde: a family crying on Christmas Eve. To be more particular, though: a Victorian family crying on a Victorian Christmas Eve. Doctor Who taps into a nostalgia

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Digital Continuations of Victorian Classics

By Carrie Sickmann Han, Indiana University Charles Dickens’s novels might actually go on forever, not only as immortal works of literature, but as infinitely continuable fictions, thanks in part to tweets like the one above. It’s a familiar fact that the digital humanities supply us with new methodological tools and reading platforms, but these technologies also produce a seemingly inexhaustible, living archive of neo-Victorian fictions that reposition us as co-authors of beloved Victorian novels. Twitter isn’t only “like” a Dickens

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