Fan Discourse and Teaching Charles Dickens

By Lindsay Lawrence In Fall 2012, I proposed and taught a 4000-level major authors class on Charles Dickens at the University of Arkansas-Fort Smith. Using the wealth of online materials that have become available in the last five years, particularly the Dickens Journals Online in this class, we explored Dickens’s legacy as a serial novelist, journalist, and literary magazine editor. The class also focused on Dickens’s cultural impact and his shrewd reading of the publication industry, including serialization. Inherently, this

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The Reading Project

By Susan Cook (Southern New Hampshire University, Manchester, NH) In the fall of 2012, I taught a version of my department’s Major Author Studies course on Charles Dickens.  As this was my second time teaching a course dedicated to Dickens (and my fourth time teaching Bleak House), I knew I had to pull out all the stops to convince my students—many of whom were non-majors or students who otherwise had no familiarity with Victorian literature—to care about three tomes of

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Interpreting the Victorian courtroom

Sean McConnell, Department of English and Cultural History, Liverpool John Moores University Given that the module I study is ‘Prison Voices’, it is perhaps surprising that the wide variety of literary and historical sources we have engaged with are as interested with what goes on outside the prison walls as they are with what happens within.  We have examined various literary tropes about the courtroom, such as Dickens’ critique of the Victorian legal system through his characterization of Jaggers in

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‘Caught at Last’: The criminalization of men in nineteenth-century Liverpool

Megan Ainsworth, Department of English and Cultural History, Liverpool John Moores University On a recent field trip to one of Liverpool’s most prominent buildings, St. George’s Hall, our ‘Prison Voices’ module was taken beyond the university. The building, regarded as a monument to the city, opened in 1854 and was to serve a multitude of purposes for the people of Liverpool, being both a concert hall and courtroom. The building is renowned for its judicial history. Initially, the Assizes (the

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Argyle Street Bridewell: Walking the beat with Liverpool’s nineteenth–century police force

Beth McConnell, Department of English and Cultural History, Liverpool John Moores University When we visited the welcoming pub, L1 Bridewell, it was difficult to believe we were sitting in what were once the holding cells for Victorian prisoners. Known in the nineteenth century as Argyle Street Bridewell, it was one of ten police stations in the Liverpool district as each station could not be more than 1.5 miles apart. In one of the original cells, we did a close reading

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Researching ‘the terrors of their neighbourhood’: Street robbery in Chisenhale Street

Keiran Southern, Department of English and Cultural History, Liverpool John Moores University In our sessions on Victorian street robbery, we examined a case involving a ‘garotter’, 19 year old Martin Corrigan. In 1869 Corrigan was tried at Liverpool Assizes, held in St George’s Hall, for robbing Patrick Spelman, a porter in the city’s St John’s market, on Chisenhale Street bridge. This bridge had a fearsome reputation for violent street crime in the mid-nineteenth century, so I decided to do more

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A Brief History of St George’s Hall

Riain Egan, Department of English and Cultural History, Liverpool John Moores University The factual information in this blog has been drawn from Steve Binns’s informative tour of St George’s Hall and his series of podcasts which are available online here Liverpool has always been, and continues to be, synonymous with great feats of architecture from ‘The Three Graces’ that line the Pier Head to the neo-classical St George’s Hall. Opened in 1842, and built on the site of the old

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Researching Nineteenth-Century Prison Graffiti

Sam Bennett, Department of English and Cultural History, Liverpool John Moores University During a field trip to Liverpool’s St George’s Hall for our Prison Voices module, I noticed a piece of graffiti on one of the cell walls. It reads, ‘Mary Lecy Hornby Street 7 years 1871’. One of the key areas of the module aims to recover ‘prison voices’, so I was thrilled to find this original graffiti. I was interested in finding out about the apparent author of

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Walking the streets of Victorian crime and punishment

By Zoë Alker,  (Liverpool John Moores University) In JVC Online’s ‘Teaching and Learning Showcase’, September 2012, Drew Grey (University of Northampton) discussed his experience of ‘Putting Undergraduates On Trial: Using the Old Bailey Online as a Teaching Tool.’ Drew introduces his second-year history students to eighteenth-century court proceedings by getting them to re-enact cases from the Old Bailey. Even more ambitiously, he is planning in future years to re-stage the trials at the Sessions House in Northampton. This gave Helen

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