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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JVC Article Reflection: Tom Crook, ‘Putting matter in its right place’

JVC Article Reflection: Tom Crook, ‘Putting matter in its right place: Dirt, time and regeneration in mid-Victorian Britain’, Journal of Victorian Culture 13 (2) (2008), pp. 200–222. This article is presently free to download. ‘Nature’ was a key term of reference for the Victorians. It still is today of course, featuring in debates about environmental ruin as much as the naturalness or not of various practices (same-sex marriage, for instance). But what, precisely, did the Victorians understand by the term

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