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

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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

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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.

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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

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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

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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

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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

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St David meets the Victorians

by Mike Benbough-Jackson (Liverpool John Moores) The Welsh are entitled to feel a little self-satisfied on the 1st of March. For one thing, St David was born and bred in the land that would, eventually, become Wales. Unlike England’s national saint, who was Greek, or Ireland’s, who was Welsh, St David is a home-grown saint. The day also has an innocent air. Local and national Welsh papers are crammed with photographs of children bedecked in various forms of national costume.

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What Would Jesus Do? The “Occupation” of St Paul’s Cathedral, February 1887.

By Peter Yeandle, (University of Manchester) On 15 October 2012, the anniversary of Occupy London, four women chained themselves together within St Paul’s Cathedral. Occupy, concerned to contest the malevolent association of politics and finance, targeted not the Cathedral but casino capitalism: a camp was only established at St Paul’s once private security guards had prevented access to the Stock Exchange. One of the most intriguing debates set in train, however, related to the relationship between the Cathedral itself and

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Dominic Janes, ‘William Bennett’s Heresy: Male Same-Sex Desire and the Art of the Eucharist’

In ‘William Bennett’s Heresy: Male Same-Sex Desire and the Art of the Eucharist,’ Dominic Janes’ continues to develop his study of the history of Christian ethics and aesthetics—first, in the context of the early Church, and secondly, in relation to the nineteenth century. In Victorian Reformation: The Fight over Idolatry in the Church of England, 1840-1860 (2009), he explored the discourses surrounding ‘idolatry’, which was, in a narrow sense, the worship of idols, but, in a broad sense, could mean

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