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

Part 4: Christmas yet to come With Albert’s death just before Christmas 1861, everything changed; Victoria made no entries in her journal until New Year’s Day, though she wrote to King Leopold on 20 December, But oh! To be cut off in the prime of life – to see our pure, happy, quiet domestic life, which alone enabled me to bear my much disliked position, cut off at forty-two – when I had hoped with such instinctive certainty that God

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Just Like Us: Victoria, Albert and the middle-class family (part 2 of 4)

Part 2: Taking position – ‘the look’ The Christmas tree engraving was not untypical of depictions of the royal family in the mid-nineteenth century, a period which had in recent decades witnessed a vast expansion in the publication and distribution of popular newspapers and periodicals as a result of technical innovations in printing, distribution and communications. [1] In an analysis of Victoria’s representation in the illustrated press, Virginia McKendry argues that images of the Queen in the Illustrated London News

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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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Martin Johnes, ‘A Christmas Carol: A Tale for All Times’

Martin Johnes teaches history at Swansea University and is the author of Christmas and the British: A Modern History (Bloomsbury Academic, 2016). In 1943 the centenary of the publication of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol appears to have passed with little comment. However, one man did write to The Times to remind people of the occasion, calling it ‘this most delightful of all Christmas ghost stories’. He thought this worth doing because ‘of the influence which Dickens has had on

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Laura Foster, ‘Merry Christmas in the Workhouse’

Laura Foster completed her PhD at Cardiff University in 2014. Her interdisciplinary research focuses on the representation of the workhouse in nineteenth-century culture, with a particular focus upon periodical publications and visual material. Her most recently published article, ‘Dirt, Dust and Devilment: Uncovering Filth in the Workhouse and Casual Wards’, is available to read online at Victorian Network. A perusal of the December issues of the Illustrated London News or the Graphic is a gratifying pastime for anyone indulging a

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Ruth Slatter, Odd Victorian Objects: Christmas Trees

Although Christmas trees had been brought to England before the beginning of Queen Victoria’s reign in 1837, it was Prince Albert’s influence on the Queen that first led to these material things becoming essential components of an English Christmas. Originating in Germany, with legendry links to St Boniface who introduced the Germans to Christianity, Albert encouraged his young wife to adopt this festive tradition after they were married in 1840. Setting an example that was then quickly copied first by

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Clare Walker-Gore, Dickens and Disability at Christmas, or Why Tiny Tim did NOT die

Whether or not we are inclined to accept F.G. Kitton’s provocative claim that Dickens was “The Man Who ‘Invented’ Christmas”,[1] there is no doubt that Christmas is a happy time of the year for the Dickens enthusiast. Suddenly, Dickens is everywhere – or rather, A Christmas Carol is. On stages and screens up and down the country, Scrooge will be saying “Bah humbug”, as Dickens’s place in the cultural imagination is annually reasserted. For the scholar of Dickens and disability,

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Neil Armstrong, Christmas Greetings

Neil Armstrong was a senior lecturer in history at Teesside University, and the author of Christmas in Nineteenth-Century England (Manchester University Press, 2010). In 1908 the writer George Sturt reflected in his personal journal that Christmas had the peculiar power to transform personal behaviour. Couched in the language of an emerging psychological understanding of the self, Sturt asserted that ‘[f]or three or four short silly days we encourage the activity of idea-powers which during all the rest of the year are

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Christmas Greetings

Neil Armstrong (Teesside University) In 1908 the writer George Sturt reflected in his personal journal that Christmas had the peculiar power to transform personal behaviour. Couched in the language of an emerging psychological understanding of the self, Sturt asserted that ‘[f]or three or four short silly days we encourage the activity of idea-powers which during all the rest of the year are rather strongly suppressed; with the result that for that brief period we are a different people, more amiable

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Peter J. Katz, ‘Dickens, the Digital, and The Doctor’

By Peter J. Katz, Syracuse University In the latest Doctor Who Christmas Special (watch from 53:41 to 54:30), the Great Intelligence, a disembodied and purely intellectual power, threatens to take over Victorian London with an army of snowmen. At the last moment, The Doctor stumbles upon the secret weapon to use against the horde: a family crying on Christmas Eve. To be more particular, though: a Victorian family crying on a Victorian Christmas Eve. Doctor Who taps into a nostalgia

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