Toy Theatres and Real Ones

Toy theatre was a popular children’s entertainment from around 1811 (the date of the first preserved sheets) until the 1860s. More than just a model stage, publishers offered young practitioners a variety of scenery and character sheets, abridged play scripts, and small-scale special effects with which to perform juvenile dramas.[1] Publishers often based juvenile productions on popular plays staged in full-scale London theatres. Melodramas and pantomimes were usually favoured for miniature productions. In an interview with Henry Mayhew in 1850,

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Cotton Famine Poetry as Affective Commentary in Lancashire and Beyond

Apart from short journalistic pieces and the material produced for the database [1] associated with the AHRC-funded project, ‘The Poetry of the Lancashire Cotton Famine 1861-65’, my article which appears in Journal of Victorian Culture 25.1 is the first of probably several publications on the literary-historical-cultural subject to which I have devoted the last few years of my research. The article’s title, “This ’Merikay War’: Poetic Responses in Lancashire to the American Civil War’, with its reference to provincial Lancashire

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Just Like Us: Victoria, Albert and the middle-class family (part 1 of 4)

In behaving publicly much like members of the mid-nineteenth-century middle class, Victoria and Albert achieved great influence – both by making their subjects aspire to be like them, and by displaying their contemporaneity with those they ruled. This examination of aspects of the royal family’s domestic life, and of the image they presented to the nation, makes reference to selected diary entries and correspondence of Queen Victoria, and to imagery illustrating how Victoria and Albert might appear to their contemporaries almost as being ‘just like us’.

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Shannon Draucker, ‘The Queen Goes to the Opera’

Shannon Draucker is a PhD Candidate in English at Boston University.  Her dissertation project, Sounding Bodies: Music and Physiology in Victorian Narrative, explores literary responses to emerging scientific understandings of the physics and physiology of sound during the Victorian period.  Her project shows how new discoveries of the embodied nature of music and sound inform scenes in which authors grant their characters desires, pleasures, identities, and relationships otherwise unavailable to them.  At Boston University, she teaches English and Writing courses

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Helen Kingstone, ‘Noiseless revolutions? The Victorian roots of Theresa May’s rhetoric’

Helen Kingstone is co-Deputy Director of the Leeds Centre for Victorian Studies, and Postdoctoral Research Associate at Leeds Trinity University. Her book Victorian Narratives of the Recent Past: memory, history, fiction is forthcoming with Palgrave If you were tuning in to the UK news in early October, you would probably have heard snippets from Theresa May’s first Conservative Party conference speech as leader and Prime Minister. What might – or might not – have surprised you was how steeped it was

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Michael Nott, Developing Photopoetry

Michael Nott received his PhD from the University of St Andrews. He provides commentaries for the Developing Photopoetry project, and is currently working on his first monograph, a critical history of photopoetry. He tweets, occasionally, @michaeljnott   Among the treasures of the Photographically Illustrated Poetry Collection at the University of St Andrews is Eleanora (1860), an anonymous poem about the courtship of the titular heroine by a knight called Raymond during the Hundred Years’ War. The St Andrews copy is

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Katherine Byrne, Review of ‘Doctor Thorne’ (dir. Niall MacCormick, writer Julian Fellowes, ITV, 2016)

Katherine is a Lecturer in English at the University of Ulster, where she teaches nineteenth- and twentieth-century literature and women’s writing. She is the author of Tuberculosis and the Victorian Literary Imagination (Cambridge University Press, 2011) and Edwardians on Screen: From Downton Abbey to Parade’s End (Palgrave, 2015).   As it has been some weeks since Julian Fellowes ended his domination of our Sunday night viewing schedules with the Christmas ending of Downton Abbey, it was inevitable that he would

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Rachel Carroll, “Sugar’s The Past”: Black British History in ITV’s Jericho (2016)

Rachel Carroll is Reader in English at Teesside University.  She is the author of Rereading Heterosexuality: Feminism, Queer Theory and Contemporary Fiction (2012) and editor of Adaptation in Contemporary Culture: Textual Infidelities (2009) and (with Adam Hansen) Litpop: Writing and Popular Music (2014).  Her essays on black Britain and literary adaptation have been published in Andrea Levy: Contemporary Critical Perspectives (2014) and Adaptation (2015).   In the early months of 2016 American audiences from Washington to New York were able

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Alyson Hunt, ‘Dressed to Kill’ Study Day Review

Arriving outside the sleek glass architecture of the Aldham Robarts library on an overcast Saturday morning to be greeted by the Liverpool John Moores sports teams excitedly gathered outside inexplicably wearing underwear on top of their clothes, I wondered if the long drive North had affected me more than I had anticipated. Thankfully, a rather more sedate welcome signalled the start of the Victorian Popular Fiction Association study day, an interdisciplinary event entitled Dressed to Kill: Fashion in Victorian Fiction

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Asa Briggs (1921-2016)

Asa Briggs was an extraordinary force of nature. The range and the significance of his contributions to twentieth-century British history and to British historiography defy summary. He played a part in Bletchley Park code-breaking unit during the Second World War, before an academic career which saw him serve as Professor of History at Leeds, Vice-Chancellor of the new University of Sussex, and Provost of Worcester College Oxford, as well as Chancellor of the Open University. Along the way he was a member of the University Grants Committee,

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