Crafting in the Classroom: Hands-On Approaches to Victorian Material Culture

This is the third post in the ‘Crafting Communities’ series on JVC Online. See Part One and Part Two. At a virtual roundtable on Victorian material culture held in February 2021, Andrea Korda presented on The Plough, a large-scale print published by London’s Art for Schools Association in 1899 for classroom walls. By large-scale, we mean enormous—five by six feet, to be exact, a height that would tower over most schoolchildren, and even over the teachers, once mounted on a

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Podcasting (and) the Victorians

This is the second post in the ‘Crafting Communities’ series on JVC Online. See Part One and Part Three. When Thomas Edison debuted the phonograph in 1878, he circulated an ambitious list of possible uses. In addition to the reproduction of music, the use we most readily associate with his invention, Edison anticipated the creation of phonographic books for blind people. He also proposed applications with notably less traction, such as phonographic clocks designed to announce meal times. Noteworthy among

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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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Discovering the British Library’s Discovering Literature

By Susan Cook Susan Cook is Assistant Professor of English at Southern New Hampshire University, where she teaches nineteenth- and twentieth-century British literature. She writes about Victorian literature and visual culture. Follow Susan @Susan_E_Cook. This spring the British Library launched Discovering Literature, a project designed to bring together on the web digitizations from original manuscripts, first editions, and contemporaneous contextual materials, along with critical articles, documentary films, and teaching materials designed specifically for the site.  The project will eventually cover

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Escaping ‘Horrible Sanity’: Teaching Victorian Literature and Psychology

By Serena Trowbridge, Birmingham City University One of my favourite modules to teach is Literature and Psychology, a third-year module which focuses on Victorian literature and reads it in the light of contemporary psychological thought. It is popular with students, though many find it much further removed from their A-level Psychology than they anticipated! The students examine ideas about character formation in nineteenth-century poetry and prose, and place them in the context of philosophical and scientific descriptions of mental development during

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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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