‘Hearts and Pockets’: Consumerism and the early Salvation Army

Figure 1 (header image): An advertisement for the wide range of goods to be purchased at the Salvation Army Trade Department, including an illustration of shoppers in the ‘Salvation Emporium’ showroom on Clerkenwell Road. From Salvation Army newspaper War Cry, 18 November 1893. Salvation Army International Heritage Centre. The notion of a ‘consumer identity’ is simultaneously ubiquitous and elusive. We are all consumers; and many of us do our best, in one way or another, to ensure that our consumer

Read more

Bankimchandra Chatterjee’s Fiction and Nineteenth-Century Cross-Cultural Dialogue

The cross-cultural dialogue generated as a part of the discursive assimilation between the East and the West during the nineteenth century was not only textured and nuanced, but further reflected larger epistemological debates emerging from this socio-historic conflation of ideas. The question of ‘colonial modernity’, which gained currency in later critical writing, focusing on the multiplicity of ideological categories formed as a part of this discursive shift, certainly testifies to the transformative cultural landscape of the time period. Significant among

Read more

Anna Kingsford’s Spiritual Thunderbolt

“I have killed Paul Bert, as I killed Claude Bernard; as I will kill Louis Pasteur, and after him the whole tribe of vivisectors, if I live long enough. . . it is a magnificent power to have, and the one that transcends all vulgar methods of dealing out justice to tyrants,” claimed Anna Kingsford in her diary after Bert’s death in 1886 (qtd. in Maitland, vol. 2, 268). Kingsford, a staunch animal rights activist and spiritualist, believed that her

Read more

North American Democracies in the Victorian Era: The Political Satire of Th. Ch. Haliburton

Throughout 2020, the world has been watching American democracy appearing to unravel as its Covid-19 pandemic spiralled out of control; the responsibility for public health measures devolved from the federal level to state level, then to county level, and ultimately down to individuals who pushed back in the name of freedom and challenged lockdowns in courts, and attempted to take over the US Capitol. Prudently, on March 31 Canada closed its southern border and is continuing to monitor the increasingly

Read more

Ruth Mason, Odd Objects from Victorian Britain

Ruth is a PhD student in the Geography Department at University College London. Her research focuses on the designed spaces and material culture of Wesleyan Methodism in London between 1851 and 1932 and what they can reveal about contemporary congregational experiences of Methodism. Alongside other graduates from the Royal College of Art and Victoria & Albert Museum’s History of Design MA, Ruth is a founding member of the Fig.9 experimental History of Design Collective (www.fig9collective.com). She is also a co-editor

Read more

Odd Objects from Victorian Britain: The Ceramic Lovefeast Mug

by Ruth Mason (University College London) Ruth is a PhD student in the Geography Department at University College London. Her research focuses on the designed spaces and material culture of Wesleyan Methodism in London between 1851 and 1932 and what they can reveal about contemporary congregational experiences of Methodism. Alongside other graduates from the Royal College of Art and Victoria & Albert Museum’s History of Design MA, Ruth is a founding member of the Fig.9 experimental History of Design Collective.

Read more

Gareth Atkins, ‘CRASSH The Bible and Antiquity in Nineteenth-Century Culture’

by Gareth Atkins is Fellow and Director of Studies in History at Magdalene College, Cambridge. He is a member of the CRASSH Bible and Antiquity Project, and is currently working on the reception of saints, religious heroes, and biblical characters in nineteenth-century Britain. The Holmes stereoscope is a Victorian icon. Designed by the American poet and polymath Oliver Wendell Holmes (1809-94) and deliberately left unpatented, this cheap wooden frame with its two prismatic lenses allowed viewers in the comfort of

Read more

Domesticating the Cosmos: Plurality and Familiarity

Ben Carver (University of Exeter) This post accompanies Ben Carver’s Journal of Victorian Culture article published (2013). It can be read in full here. My article, ‘‘“A Gleaming and Glorious Star”: Rethinking History in the Plurality-of-Worlds Debate’ looks at how astronomical knowledge reframed debates about history in the nineteenth century. In 1817, Thomas Chalmers considered the possibility of other worlds and quoted from the Psalms for a modern age of astronomical knowledge in which orthodox Christian cosmogony seemed to be troubled in new

Read more

Venice: the sacred and the profane

Rachel Webster (University of Leeds) Walking through Venice, late Sunday afternoon (2nd June, 2013), in search of gelato, I found myself in St. Mark’s Square, and was absorbed into a crowd of people. Crowds in Venice, particularly in tourist hotspots, are not unusual, but it was apparent straight away that this crowd had spontaneously formed with a common intention: to observe a religious service. Before I could take in the details of what exactly was going on, I was overwhelmed

Read more

Amanda Paxton, ‘Husbands and Wives: Nineteenth-Century Contours of Power’

By Amanda Paxton One of the most rewarding opportunities I had while researching my doctoral dissertation was working with the manuscripts of the clergyman, novelist, and social reformer Charles Kingsley in the British Library, particularly the uncompleted prose text “Elizabeth of Hungary.” Begun in 1842 but never completed, the breathtaking oversize volume was intended to provide a retelling of the life of St. Elizabeth of Hungary, whose biography served as the subject of Kingsley’s later verse closet drama, The Saint’s

Read more