Bloggers Fair: The Floating Academy

The Floating Academy is a blogging collective. We take our name from the slang expression used to describe the Hulks, those notorious merchant and naval ships that were converted into prisons to ease overcrowded gaols between the late eighteenth and  mid-nineteenth centuries. More specifically, we take inspiration from the reference to the Hulks that can be found in Dickens’s Great Expectations, during which Pip is threatened with transport to the Hulks on account of his irrepressible habit of asking questions. We

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Bloggers Fair: Emily Cody and Trey Conatser’s Novel Ideas

In short, Novel Ideas stands on the conviction that long-nineteenth-century studies, and, by extension, literary studies and the humanities in general, offer insightful and timely perspectives on current events and debates through the concept of “historical reciprocity”: the idea that the past informs the present just as much as the present informs the past via contemporary biases often channeled into modern interpretations of history. We seek to participate in and bolster interdisciplinary conversations both within and without scholarly and educational

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Bloggers Fair: Marcus’s ‘Victorian Circle’

My blog Victorian Circle began in 2009 as an effort to keep my writing and analytical skills fresh while preparing to go to law school.  The “Circle” part of the name is meant to bring to mind a discussion, a throwing around of ideas.  My goal is to highlight various pieces from the 1830s to the early 20th century.  Along with novels, I also write about poetry and social essays.  Examples of the topics I have addressed are “A Woman’s Vocation”

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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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Art vs Industry Conference Report

Rebecca Wade, University of Leeds On the 23 and 24 March 2012, early career researchers, museum professionals and established academics gathered at Leeds City Museum to offer their perspectives on the intersections between art and industry during the long nineteenth century. Day One The conference began with a keynote by Lara Kriegel (Indiana), whose paper Lace, Ladies and Labours Lost: A Meditation on Art, Industry and Craft offered an apposite introduction through the historical narratives associated with the perceived loss

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Peter Ackroyd’s brief account of Wilkie Collins

I have recently left one university (Swansea) for another (Liverpool John Moores). Before I departed, I decided to offer some final pearls of wisdom to my personal tutees, along the lines of ‘Try thinking about how you might engage with your module outside the classroom; why not read a novel from the period, watch a film or documentary, or maybe find a blogger who frequently comments on some area of historical interest?’ Whether or not they have taken up my

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Richard Scully, ‘The Epitheatrical Cartoonist’; or, Matthew Somerville Morgan and the World of Theatre, Art and Journalism in Victorian London’

Richard Scully examines the close connections between the world of Victorian comic journalism and the theatre, taking Matthew Somerville Morgan (1837-1890) as a case-study. Morgan’s brilliant cartoons for Fun, Judy, and The Tomahawk (all competitors of Punch) owed much to his background as a scene-painter and designer of pantomime and melodrama. In fact, so bound up were his cartoons with theatrical modes of composition and subject-matter, that he can be described as an ‘epitheatrical’ cartoonist. ‘Epitheatrical’ is a recent coinage

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Matrimonial Advertising: A Very Brief Madness?

By Jennifer Phegley Mrs. Punch: “A man ought to be punished for writing such idiotic love-letters.” Mr. Punch: “Logical as ever, my adored . . . but it is in the fitness of things that a love letter should be idiotic. Love is a brief (very brief) madness.” “On Love Letters.” Punch (December 11, 1869): 236. As Mr. and Mrs. Punch’s conversation indicates, love letters were a central part of courtship that could easily go awry.  In this scene, Mr.

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Andrea Rehn, ‘White Rajas, Native Princes and Savage Pirates: Lord Jim and the Cult of White Sovereignty’

Andrea Rehn’s article “White Rajas, Native Princes and Savage Pirates: Lord Jim and the Cult of White Sovereignty” reads Conrad’s Lord Jim as an ironic but also nostalgic re-imagining of the first of the white rajas, James Brooke. This figurehead of informal imperial expansion was idolized in England, as archival documents reveal, for his charismatic bestowal of the rule of law in Borneo. Ironically, Brooke achieved sovereignty through his personal suspension of law, an example of what Carl Schmitt terms

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Elisha Cohn, ”One single ivory cell’: Oscar Wilde and the Brain’

Recent studies have demonstrated how new theories of materiality in the late nineteenth century shaped conceptions of everyday objects—top-hats, teapots, green carnations—yet have not extended this research to the burgeoning late-Victorian field of the neurosciences, and its conception of the mind as material. In The Picture of Dorian Gray, Oscar Wilde traces ‘the thoughts and passions of men to some pearly cell in the brain’ (280). As his notebooks from his undergraduate days at Oxford show, Wilde was fascinated by

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