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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Hilary M. Carey, ”The Secret of England’s Greatness’: Medievalism, Ornithology, and Anglican Imperialism in the Aboriginal Gospel Book of Sir George Grey’

Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries holds many treasures, but one of the more remarkable is the Aboriginal Gospel Book (Grey MS 82). This is work of unique importance because it contains the only manuscript copy of the first translation of the gospel into any Australian Aboriginal language. The translation was completed by the missionary Lancelot Threlkeld and presented to the bibliophile and statesman Sir George Grey on 26 June 1858. But this was not the end of the

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Megan A. Norcia, ”Come Buy, Come Buy’: Christina Rossetti’s ‘Goblin Market’ and the Cries of London’

A blazingly sunny summer day in 2009 found me camped out at the Baldwin Collection of Historical Children’s Literature at the University of Florida. I was there researching nineteenth-century children’s guides to London (or so I thought), when in the midst of this study, the happy serendipity of archival work led me to Andrew Tuer’s nineteenth-century collection of London cries. As I read through Tuer’s guide and then rapidly searched for and consumed several others, I kept scrawling in my

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Luisa Villa, ‘A ‘Political Education’: Wilfrid Scawen Blunt, the Arabs, and the Egyptian Revolution (1881-82)’

Wilfrid Scawen Blunt (1840-1922) represents an interesting case of Victorian internationalism, and a significant figure in the history of the critique of modern imperialism. His name is not one that is likely to pop up in surveys of the late Victorian age, and even in substantial books on the literature and culture of the period it is hard to come by.Villa came across him while researching her book on the representations of the Sudan military campaigns, as the author of

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Steampunk and the Academy; or it really is a clockwork universe, my dear Victorianists

Every year, just before my fall term starts here in Wisconsin, I, your intrepid JVC Online editor,  make a trip to Atlanta, Georgia to attend and participate in one of the largest fan-run science-fiction and fantasy conventions, Dragon*Con. I go to Dragon*Con every year to indulge in the geekiest part of myself, along with 40,000 fans, dealers, exhibitors, artists, guests, and volunteers from all over the world. For four days, we all pack into 3,500 hours of panels, workshops, contests,

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Robert Burroughs, ‘Sailors and Slaves: The ‘Poor Enslaved Tar’ in Naval Reform and Nautical Melodrama’

Recent studies have demonstrated how, far from being confined to the theatre, ‘the melodramatic mode’ permeated various fields of nineteenth-century discourse, including politics and the law. Whereas most of the research in this area to date has concentrated upon domestic melodrama, in this article Robert Burroughs extends the discussion to the ‘tar drama’, or nautical melodrama. Burroughs examines how one example of this sub-genre, J.T. Haines’s My Poll and My Partner Joe (first performed 1835), engages in the political, legal

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Martin Dubois, ‘Diverse Strains: Music and Religion in Dickens’s Edwin Drood’

In his essay forthcoming in JVC issue 16.3, Martin Dubois challenges recent interpretations of Dickens’s final and unfinished novel The Mystery of Edwin Drood, arguing that these have neglected the variability in Dickens’s representation of traditional religion. Dickens’s novel centres on the town of Cloisterham, where a spreading moral torpor extends to the heart of community life: the choral worship offered in its cathedral. Fuelled by opium-induced fantasies, the cathedral’s obsessive and unstable choirmaster appears to engineer the disappearance and

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The Diaries of Louisa and Georgina Smythe and their links to Royal Romance….

Whilst Royal Wedding fever gripped the nation at the end of April, with thousands lining the streets to witness the marriage of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, not all royal marriages have been so warmly received. The diaries of two aristocratic sisters, Louisa and Georgina Smythe, whose daily accounts document the start of Queen Victoria’s reign, offer a unique, yet largely unknown, view of Royal romance.  The sisters were the nieces of Maria Fitzherbert, the secret wife of King

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