Nearly a hundred years after its debut in 1897, Dracula is still one of the most popular of all Gothic narratives, always in print and continually adapted for stage and screen. Paradoxically, David Glover suggests, this very success has obscured the historical conditions and authorial circumstances of the novel’s production. By way of a long overdue return to the novels, short stories, essays, journalism, and correspondence of Bram Stoker, Vampires, Mummies, and Liberals reconstructs the cultural and political world that gave birth to Dracula. To bring Stoker’s life into productive relationship with his writing, Glover offers a reading that locates the author within the changing commercial contours of the late-Victorian public sphere and in which the methods of critical biography are displaced by those of cultural studies. Glover’s efforts reveal a writer who was more wide-ranging and politically engaged than his current reputation suggests. An Irish Protestant and nationalist, Stoker nonetheless drew his political inspiration from English liberalism at a time of impending crisis, and the tradition’s contradictions and uncertainties haunt his work. At the heart of Stoker’s writing Glover exposes a preoccupation with those sciences and pseudo-sciences—from physiognomy and phrenology to eugenics and sexology—that seemed to cast doubt on the liberal faith in progress. He argues that Dracula should be read as a text torn between the stances of the colonizer and the colonized, unable to accept or reject the racialized images of backwardness that dogged debates about Irish nationhood. As it tracks the phantasmatic form given to questions of character and individuality, race and production, sexuality and gender, across the body of Stoker’s writing, Vampires, Mummies, and Liberals draws a fascinating portrait of an extraordinary transitional figure. Combining psychoanalysis and cultural theory with detailed historical research, this book will be of interest to scholars of Victorian and Irish fiction and to those concerned with cultural studies and popular culture.
Behind the innocent face of Victorian fairy tales such as Through the Looking Glass or Mopsa the Fairy lurks the specter of an intense gender debate about the very nature of childhood. Offering brilliant rereadings of classics from the "Golden Age of Children's Literature" as well as literature commonly considered "grown-up," U. C. Knoepflmacher illuminates this debate, probing deeply into the relations between adults and children, adults and their own childhood selves, and the lives of beloved Victorian authors and their "children's tales." Ventures into Childland will delight and instruct all readers of children's classics, and will be essential reading for students of Victorian culture and gender studies.
"Ventures into Childland is acute, well written and stimulating. It also has a political purpose, to insist on the importance of protecting and nurturing children, imaginatively and physically."—Jan Marsh, Times Literary Supplement
"A provocative and interesting book about Victorian culture."—Library Journal
“We can begin with a kiss, though this will not turn out to be a love story, at least not a love story of anything like the usual kind.”
So begins A Very Queer Family Indeed, which introduces us to the extraordinary Benson family. Edward White Benson became Archbishop of Canterbury at the height of Queen Victoria’s reign, while his wife, Mary, was renowned for her wit and charm—the prime minister once wondered whether she was “the cleverest woman in England or in Europe.” The couple’s six precocious children included E. F. Benson, celebrated creator of the Mapp and Lucia novels, and Margaret Benson, the first published female Egyptologist.
What interests Simon Goldhill most, however, is what went on behind the scenes, which was even more unusual than anyone could imagine. Inveterate writers, the Benson family spun out novels, essays, and thousands of letters that open stunning new perspectives—including what it might mean for an adult to kiss and propose marriage to a twelve-year-old girl, how religion in a family could support or destroy relationships, or how the death of a child could be celebrated. No other family has left such detailed records about their most intimate moments, and in these remarkable accounts, we see how family life and a family’s understanding of itself took shape during a time when psychoanalysis, scientific and historical challenges to religion, and new ways of thinking about society were developing. This is the story of the Bensons, but it is also more than that—it is the story of how society transitioned from the high Victorian period into modernity.
Portrayed as dubious moneylenders, underworld operatives, megalomaniacs, Bolshevik saboteurs, or unscrupulous war-profiteers, Jewish characters have surfaced in English detective fiction from the very beginning. Starting with Conan Doyle, and focusing on the Golden Age of the genre, Tunrbull uses multiple examples to trace the evolution of Jewish caricature in British crime writing, and examines fictional representations of Jews in relation to burgeoning antisemitic sentiment within British society. Attention is paid to crime writers as wide-ranging as Baroness Orczy, Sydney Horler, R. Austin Freeman, Ngaio Marsh, and S. T. Haymon, and the depiction of Jews by Golden Age giants Dorothy L. Sayers, Agatha Christie, and Anthony Berkeley Cox.
Victorian Art Criticism and the Woman Writer by John Paul M. Kanwit examines the development of specialized art commentary in a period when art education became a national concern in Britain. The explosion of Victorian visual culture—evident in the rapid expansion of galleries and museums, the technological innovations of which photography is only the most famous, the public debates over household design, and the high profile granted to such developments as the Aesthetic Movement—provided art critics unprecedented social power. Scholarship to date, however, has often been restricted to a narrow collection of male writers on art: John Ruskin, Walter Pater, William Morris, and Oscar Wilde.
By including then-influential but now lesser-known critics such as Anna Jameson, Elizabeth Eastlake, and Emilia Dilke, and by focusing on critical debates rather than celebrated figures, Victorian Art Criticism and the Woman Writer refines our conception of when and how art criticism became a professional discipline in Britain. Jameson and Eastlake began to professionalize art criticism well before the 1860s, that is, before the date commonly ascribed to the professionalization of the discipline. Moreover, in concentrating on historical facts rather than legends about art, these women critics represent an alternative approach that developed the modern conception of art history. In a parallel development, the novelists under consideration—George Eliot, Charlotte Brontë, Anne Brontë, and Elizabeth Gaskell—read a wide range of Victorian art critics and used their lessons in key moments of spectatorship.
This more inclusive view of Victorian art criticism provides key insights into Victorian literary and aesthetic culture. The women critics discussed in this book helped to fashion art criticism as itself a literary genre, something almost wholly ascribed to famous male critics.
During the nineteenth century, Britain became the first gaslit society, with electric lighting arriving in 1878. At the same time, the British government significantly expanded its power to observe and monitor its subjects. How did such enormous changes in the way people saw and were seen affect Victorian culture?
To answer that question, Chris Otter mounts an ambitious history of illumination and vision in Britain, drawing on extensive research into everything from the science of perception and lighting technologies to urban design and government administration. He explores how light facilitated such practices as safe transportation and private reading, as well as institutional efforts to collect knowledge. And he contends that, contrary to presumptions that illumination helped create a society controlled by intrusive surveillance, the new radiance often led to greater personal freedom and was integral to the development of modern liberal society.
The Victorian Eye’s innovative interdisciplinary approach—and generous illustrations—will captivate a range of readers interested in the history of modern Britain, visual culture, technology, and urbanization.
While “freaks” have captivated our imagination since well before the nineteenth century, the Victorians flocked to shows featuring dancing dwarves, bearded ladies, “missing links,” and six-legged sheep. Indeed, this period has been described by Rosemarie Garland-Thomson as the epoch of “consolidation” for freakery: an era of social change, enormously popular freak shows, and taxonomic frenzy. Victorian Freaks: The Social Context of Freakery in Britain, edited by Marlene Tromp, turns to that rich nexus, examining the struggle over definitions of “freakery” and the unstable and sometimes conflicting ways in which freakery was understood and deployed. As the first study centralizing British culture, this collection discusses figures as varied as Joseph Merrick, “The Elephant Man”; Daniel Lambert, “King of the Fat Men”; Julia Pastrana, “The Bear Woman”; and Laloo “The Marvellous Indian Boy” and his embedded, parasitic twin. The Victorian Freaks contributors examine Victorian culture through the lens of freakery, reading the production of the freak against the landscape of capitalist consumption, the medical community, and the politics of empire, sexuality, and art. Collectively, these essays ask how freakery engaged with notions of normalcy and with its Victorian cultural context.
During the nineteenth century, British society was making rapid advancements in science and technology. While the men became materially productive, women were expected to be the fulcrums of society's changes. As one means of adjusting to these changes, many women focused on supernaturalism and spirituality.
In Victorian Ghosts in the Noontide, Vanessa D. Dickerson analyzes women's spirituality in a materialistic age by examining the supernatural fiction of Charlotte and Emily Brontë, Elizabeth Gaskell, and George Eliot and provides interpretive readings of familiar texts like Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights. Other works by lesser-known authors are also examined.
Technological advances eliminated many of the jobs women were accustomed to doing. This left women looking for their place in society. A sense of "in-betweenness" developed in these women who were now expected to attend not only to the physical but also to the moral and spiritual needs of the family. As an answer to this "in-betweenness" some channeled their power toward the art of writing. Because people in the mid-1800s were so thoroughly engaged in scientific thought and advancements, supernatural folklore and spirituality were disreputable ideas for anyone, especially women, to explore. Ghosts and spirits were tied to old-wives' tales, superstitions, and legends. However, by focusing on these concepts and using fiction as an outlet, women were able to make great strides in being seen and heard. The art of writing functioned as an exploration of their spiritualism in which women discovered expression, freedom, and power.
This perceptive, well-written book will add a new dimension to our understanding of women's supernatural writings of the Victorian era. Scholars of Victorian literature, women's studies, and popular culture will benefit from its insights.
Timothy Barringer and Wayne Modest, editors Duke University Press, 2018 Library of Congress F1886.V53 2018
Victorian Jamaica explores the extraordinary surviving archive of visual representation and material objects to provide a comprehensive account of Jamaican society during Queen Victoria's reign over the British Empire, from 1837 to 1901. In their analyses of material ranging from photographs of plantation laborers and landscape paintings to cricket team photographs, furniture, and architecture, as well as a wide range of texts, the contributors trace the relationship between black Jamaicans and colonial institutions; contextualize race within ritual and performance; and outline how material and visual culture helped shape the complex politics of colonial society. By narrating Victorian history from a Caribbean perspective, this richly illustrated volume—featuring 270 full-color images—offers a complex and nuanced portrait of Jamaica that expands our understanding of the wider history of the British Empire and Atlantic world during this period.
Contributors. Anna Arabindan-Kesson, Tim Barringer, Anthony Bogues, David Boxer, Patrick Bryan, Steeve O. Buckridge, Julian Cresser, John M. Cross, Petrina Dacres, Belinda Edmondson, Nadia Ellis, Gillian Forrester, Catherine Hall, Gad Heuman, Rivke Jaffe, O'Neil Lawrence, Erica Moiah James, Jan Marsh, Wayne Modest, Daniel T. Neely, Mark Nesbitt, Diana Paton, Elizabeth Pigou-Dennis, Veerle Poupeye, Jennifer Raab, James Robertson, Shani Roper, Faith Smith, Nicole Smythe-Johnson, Dianne M. Stewart, Krista A. Thompson
In this fascinating and colorful book, researcher and performer John McCormick focuses on the marionette world of Victorian Britain between its heyday after 1860 and its waning years from 1895 to 1914. Situating the rich and diverse puppet theatre in the context of entertainment culture, he explores both the aesthetics of these dancing dolls and their sociocultural significance in their life and time.
The history of marionette performances is interwoven with live-actor performances and with the entire gamut of annual fairs, portable and permanent theatres, music halls, magic lantern shows, waxworks, panoramas, and sideshows. McCormick has drawn upon advertisements in the Era, an entertainment paper, between the 1860s and World War I, and articles in the World’s Fair, a paper for showpeople, in the first fifty years of the twentieth century, as well as interviews with descendants of the marionette showpeople and close examinations of many of the surviving puppets.
McCormick begins his study with an exploration of the Victorian marionette theatre in the context of other theatrical events of the day, with proprietors and puppeteers, and with the venues where they performed. He further examines the marionette’s position as an actor not quite human but imitating humans closely enough to be considered empathetic; the ways that physical attributes were created with wood, paint, and cloth; and the dramas and melodramas that the dolls performed. A discussion of the trick figures and specialized acts that each company possessed, as well as an exploration of the theatre’s staging, lighting, and costuming, follows in later chapters. McCormick concludes with a description of the last days of marionette theatre in the wake of changing audience expectations and the increasing popularity of moving pictures.
This highly enjoyable and readable study, often illuminated by intriguing anecdotes such as that of the Armenian photographer who fell in love with and abducted the Holden company’s Cinderella marionette in 1881, will appeal to everyone fascinated by the magic of nineteenth-century theatre, many of whom will discover how much the marionette could contribute to that magic.
This text looks at the people, ideas and events between the Great Exhibition of 1851 and the Second Reform Act of 1867. From "John Arthur Roebuck and the Crimean War", and "Samuel Smiles and the Gospel of Work" to "Thomas Hughes and the Public Schools" and "Benjanmin Disraeli and the Leap in the Dark", Asa Briggs provides an assessment of Victorian achievements; and in doing so conjures up an enviable picture of the progress and independence of the last century.
"For expounding this theme, this interaction of event and personality, Mr. Briggs is abundantly and happily endowed. He is always readable, often amusing, never facetious. He is widely read and widely interested. He has a sound historic judgment, and an unfailing sense for what is significant in the historic sequence and what is merely topical. . . . Above all, he is in sympathy with the age of which he is writing."—Times Literary Supplement
The ideas of Charles Darwin and his fellow Victorian scientists have had an abiding effect on the modern world. But at the time The Origin of Species was published in 1859, the British public looked not to practicing scientists but to a growing group of professional writers and journalists to interpret the larger meaning of scientific theories in terms they could understand and in ways they could appreciate. Victorian Popularizers of Science focuses on this important group of men and women who wrote about science for a general audience in the second half of the nineteenth century.
Bernard Lightman examines more than thirty of the most prolific, influential, and interesting popularizers of the day, investigating the dramatic lecturing techniques, vivid illustrations, and accessible literary styles they used to communicate with their audience. By focusing on a forgotten coterie of science writers, their publishers, and their public, Lightman offers new insights into the role of women in scientific inquiry, the market for scientific knowledge, tensions between religion and science, and the complexities of scientific authority in nineteenth-century Britain.
Ilana M. Blumberg The Ohio State University Press, 2013 Library of Congress PR468.R44B58 2013 | Dewey Decimal 823.809382
In Victorian Sacrifice: Ethics and Economics in Mid-Century Novels, Ilana Blumberg offers a major reconsideration of the central Victorian ethic of self-sacrifice, suggesting that much of what we have taken to be the moral psychology of Victorian fiction may be understood in terms of the dramatic confrontation between Christian theology and the world of modern economic theory. As Victorian writers Charlotte Mary Yonge, Charles Dickens, George Eliot, Anthony Trollope, Wilkie Collins, and Mary Augusta Ward strove to forge a practicable ethics that would reconcile the influences of an evangelical Christianity and its emphasis on selfless charity with the forces of laissez-faire capitalism and its emphasis on individual profit, they moved away from the cherished ideal of painful, solitary self-sacrifice in service of another’s good. Instead, Blumberg suggests, major novelists sought an ethical realism characterized by the belief that virtuous action could serve the collective benefit of the parties involved. At a mid-century moment of economic optimism, novelists transformed the ethical landscape by imagining what the sociologist Herbert Spencer would later call a “measured egoism,” an ethically responsible self-concern which might foster communal solidarity and material abundance.
Bringing the recent literary turns to ethics and to economics into mutual conversation, Blumberg offers us a new lens on a matter as pressing today as 150 years ago: the search for an ethics adequate to the hopes and fears of a new economy.
Victorian Science in Context
Edited by Bernard Lightman University of Chicago Press, 1997 Library of Congress Q127.G4V45 1997 | Dewey Decimal 306.45094109034
Victorians were fascinated by the flood of strange new worlds that science was opening to them. Exotic plants and animals poured into London from all corners of the Empire, while revolutionary theories such as the radical idea that humans might be descended from apes drew crowds to heated debates. Men and women of all social classes avidly collected scientific specimens for display in their homes and devoured literature about science and its practitioners.
Victorian Science in Context captures the essence of this fascination, charting the many ways in which science influenced and was influenced by the larger Victorian culture. Contributions from leading scholars in history, literature, and the history of science explore questions such as: What did science mean to the Victorians? For whom was Victorian science written? What ideological messages did it convey? The contributors show how practical concerns interacted with contextual issues to mold Victorian science—which in turn shaped much of the relationship between modern science and culture.
Victorian Scientific Naturalism examines the secular creeds of the generation of intellectuals who, in the wake of The Origin of Species, wrested cultural authority from the old Anglican establishment while installing themselves as a new professional scientific elite. These scientific naturalists—led by biologists, physicists, and mathematicians such as William Kingdon Clifford, Joseph Dalton Hooker, Thomas Henry Huxley, and John Tyndall—sought to persuade both the state and the public that scientists, not theologians, should be granted cultural authority, since their expertise gave them special insight into society, politics, and even ethics.
In Victorian Scientific Naturalism, Gowan Dawson and Bernard Lightman bring together new essays by leading historians of science and literary critics that recall these scientific naturalists, in light of recent scholarship that has tended to sideline them, and that reevaluate their place in the broader landscape of nineteenth-century Britain. Ranging in topic from daring climbing expeditions in the Alps to the maintenance of aristocratic protocols of conduct at Kew Gardens, these essays offer a series of new perspectives on Victorian scientific naturalism—as well as its subsequent incarnations in the early twentieth century—that together provide an innovative understanding of the movement centering on the issues of community, identity, and continuity.
Victorian Sexual Dissidence
Edited by Richard Dellamora University of Chicago Press, 1999 Library of Congress PR468.H65V53 1999 | Dewey Decimal 820.9353
Recent critical and historical work on the late-Victorian period has furnished a vocabulary for discussing gender and sexuality. These popular terms include categories such as homo/hetero, patriarchal/feminist, and masculine/effeminate. This collection exploits this framework—while refining and resisting it in places—to show how certain Victorians imagined difference in ways that continue to challenge us today.
One essay, for example, traces the remarkable feminist appropriation of male-identified fields of study, such as Classical philology. Others address the validation of male bodies as objects of desire in writing, painting, and emergent modernist choreography. The writings shed light on the diverse interests served by a range of cultural practitioners and on the complex ways in which the late Victorians invented themselves as modern subjects.
This volume will be essential reading for students of British literary and cultural history as well as for those interested in feminist, gay, and lesbian studies.
Contributors are: Oliver Buckton, Richard Dellamora, Dennis Denisoff, Regenia Gagnier, Eric Haralson, Andrew Hewitt, Christopher Lane, Thaïs Morgan, Yopie Prins, Kathy Alexis Psomiades, Julia Saville, Robert Sulcer, Jr., Martha Vicinus.
"No Victorianist, however well read, could fail to learn something from this book. It is a veritable plum pudding, bursting with interesting information and experience."—Christopher A. Kent, Victorian Periodicals Review
Three men and three women: a plant collector, a merchant and his novelist wife, a military officer, and two famous women travelers went to China between the Opium War and the formal end of the opium trade, 1842–1907. Their range of perspectives, their acquaintance with one another and their similar scope of travel to Hong Kong, the treaty ports, and Sichuan lend intensity to their picture of China and the Western presence there.
What the travelers record reveals is a continuity in the response of the West and China to each other. Susan Schoenbauer Thurin’s study of these writings presents a rich tapestry of impressions, biases, and cultural perspectives that inform our own understanding of the Victorians and their views of the world outside their own.
The strange mix of opium and missionaries, the aura of fabled “Cathay” and its valuable trade items, the attraction and repulsion of the exotic otherness the travelers experience, reflect the political, religious, and racial views of their era, and explain the allure of the Orient that, in part, characterized their age. Victorian Travelers and the Opening of China, 1842–1907 is a remarkable look into the cultural past.
The Victorian World Picture
Newsome, David Rutgers University Press, 1997 Library of Congress DA550.N49 1997 | Dewey Decimal 941.081072
When did the Victorians come to regard themselves as "Victorians" and to use that term to describe the period in which they were living? David Newsome's monumental history takes a good, long look at the Victorian age and what distinguishes it so prominently in the history of both England and the world. The Victorian World Picture presents a vivid canvas of the Victorians as they saw themselves and as the rest of the world saw them.
The Victorian era was a time of unprecedented population growth and massive industrialization. Darwinian theory shook people's religious beliefs and foreign competition threatened industry and agriculture. The transformation of this nineteenth-century world was overhwelming, pervading the social, cultural, intellectual, economic, and political spheres. By the time of the Great Exhibition in 1851, the British were calling themselves Victorians and Prince Albert was able to proclaim, "We are living at a period of most wonderful transition." David Newsome weaves all these strands of Victorian life into a compelling evocation of the spirit of a fascinating time that laid the foundation for the modern age.
When Margaret Thatcher called in 1979 for a return to Victorian values such as hard work, self-reliance, thrift, and national pride, Labour Party leader Neil Kinnock responded that “Victorian values” also included “cruelty, misery, drudgery, squalor, and ignorance.”
The Victorians in the Rearview Mirror is an in-depth look at the ways that the twentieth century reacted to and reimagined its predecessor. It considers how the Victorian inheritance has been represented in literature, politics, film, and visual culture; the ways in which modernists and progressives have sought to differentiate themselves from an image of the Victorian; and how conservatives (and some liberals) have sought to revive elements of nineteenth-century life. Nostalgic and critical impulses combine to fix an understanding of the Victorians in the popular imagination.
Simon Joyce examines heritage culture, contemporary politics, and the “neo-Dickensian” novel to offer a more affirmative assessment of the Victorian legacy, one that lets us imagine a model of social interconnection and interdependence that has come under threat in today’s politics and culture.
Although more than one hundred years have passed since the death of Queen Victoria, the impact of her time is still fresh. The Victorians in the Rearview Mirror speaks to diverse audiences in literary and cultural studies, in addition to those interested in visual culture and contemporary politics, and situates detailed close readings of literary and cinematic texts in the context of a larger argument about the legacies of an era not as distant as we might like to think.
Victorians Reading the Romantics: Essays by U. C. Knoepflmacher, edited by LindaM. Shires, offers a compelling new perspective on the long and influential publishing career and thought of Knoepflmacher, a leading critic of the novel and Victorian poetry. This volume draws together essays on nineteenth-century literature written between 1963 and 2012.An introductory essay and new scaffolding emphasize the interrelations among the essays, which together form a consistent approach to literary criticism.
Knoepflmacher’s vision of texts and readersstressesthe emotional knowledge afforded by reading, writing about, and teaching literary texts.Each chapter links Romantic texts to those of later writers. Shelley and Keats try to revise Wordsworth, but they are themselves recast by Browning and Hardy. Similarly, George Eliot and Virginia Woolf’s reliance on Romantic tropes are fruitfully examined. Above all, however, these chapters stress the impact of Wordsworth on his many contemporaries and successors. Knoepflmacher probes into their texts to find, as Wordsworth did, a momentaryfusionof opposites.He posits a reader who is flexible—able to move in multiple directions by paying attention to spatial, verbal, and imagistic coordinates, across and down a page.Given the attention paid tothe translation of affect into thought,this collectionwillcontribute to Victorian studiesas well as enhance our understanding of the affective dynamics of nineteenth-century literature.
Virginia Woolf Icon
Brenda R. Silver University of Chicago Press, 1999 Library of Congress PR6045.O72Z87633 1999 | Dewey Decimal 823.912
This is a book about "Virginia Woolf": the face that sells more postcards than any other at Britain's National Portrait Gallery, the name that Edward Albee's play linked with fear, the cultural icon so rich in meanings that it has been used to market everything from the New York Review of Books to Bass Ale. Brenda Silver analyzes Virginia Woolf's surprising visibility in both high and popular culture, showing how her image and authority have been claimed or challenged in debates about art, politics, anger, sexuality, gender, class, the canon, feminism, race, and fashion.
From Virginia Woolf's 1937 appearance on the cover of Time magazine to her current roles in theater, film, and television, Silver traces the often contradictory representations and the responses they provoke, highlighting the recurring motifs that associate Virginia Woolf with fear. By looking more closely at who is afraid and the contexts in which she is perceived to be frightening, Silver illustrates how Virginia Woolf has become the site of conflicts about cultural boundaries and legitimacy that continue to rage today.
In a work that re-investigates archival materials and deploys an innovative theoretical framework, Jean Mills explores the intellectual and political relationship between Virginia Woolf and the Cambridge classicist Jane Ellen Harrison. Virginia Woolf, Jane Ellen Harrison, and the Spirit of Modernist Classicism discovers an intimate connection crucial to Woolf’s professional identity and intellectual and artistic development in Harrison’s controversial, feminist interpretations of Greek mythology. Mills argues that cross-reading Jane Harrison and Virginia Woolf exposes a distinctive relationship between two women intellectuals, one that does not rehearse the linearity of influence but instead demonstrates the intricacy of intertextuality—an active and transformative use of one body of writing by another writer—that makes of Virginia Woolf’s modernism a specifically feminist amplification. This cross-reading reveals a dimension of modernism that has been overlooked or minimized: Mills demonstrates that the questions preoccupying Harrison also resonated with Woolf, who adapted Harrison’s ideas to her own intellectual, political, and literary pursuits.
To an extent, Virginia Woolf, Jane Ellen Harrison, and the Spirit of Modernist Classicism participates in an act of classical recovery. It is an effort to revive and reclaim Harrison’s work and to illustrate the degree to which her cultural, political, and scholastic example informed one of the major modernist voices of the twentieth century.
Arguing that limited nationalist perspectives have circumscribed the critical scope of American Studies scholarship, Virtual Americas advocates a comparative criticism that illuminates the work of well-known literary figures by defamiliarizing it—placing it in unfamiliar contexts. Paul Giles looks at a number of canonical nineteenth- and twentieth-century American writers by focusing on their interactions with British culture. He demonstrates how American authors from Herman Melville to Thomas Pynchon have been compulsively drawn to negotiate with British culture so that their nationalist agendas have emerged, paradoxically, through transatlantic dialogues. Virtual Americas ultimately suggests that conceptions of national identity in both the United States and Britain have emerged through engagement with—and, often, deliberate exclusion of—ideas and imagery emanating from across the Atlantic.
Throughout Virtual Americas Giles focuses on specific examples of transatlantic cultural interactions such as Frederick Douglass’s experiences and reputation in England; Herman Melville’s satirizing fictions of U.S. and British nationalism; and Vladimir Nabokov’s critique of European high culture and American popular culture in Lolita. He also reverses his perspective, looking at the representation of San Francisco in the work of British-born poet Thom Gunn and Sylvia Plath’s poetic responses to England. Giles develops his theory about the need to defamiliarize the study of American literature by considering the cultural legacy of Surrealism as an alternative genealogy for American Studies and by examining the transatlantic dimensions of writers such as Henry James and Robert Frost in the context of Surrealism.
In Visible Histories, Disappearing Women, Mahua Sarkar examines how Muslim women in colonial Bengal came to be more marginalized than Hindu women in nationalist discourse and subsequent historical accounts. She also considers how their near-invisibility except as victims has underpinned the construction of the ideal citizen-subject in late colonial India. Through critical engagements with significant feminist and postcolonial scholarship, Sarkar maps out when and where Muslim women enter into the written history of colonial Bengal. She argues that the nation-centeredness of history as a discipline and the intellectual politics of liberal feminism have together contributed to the production of Muslim women as the oppressed, mute, and invisible “other” of the normative modern Indian subject.
Drawing on extensive archival research and oral histories of Muslim women who lived in Calcutta and Dhaka in the first half of the twentieth century, Sarkar traces Muslim women as they surface and disappear in colonial, Hindu nationalist, and liberal Muslim writings, as well as in the memories of Muslim women themselves. The oral accounts provide both a rich source of information about the social fabric of urban Bengal during the final years of colonial rule and a glimpse of the kind of negotiations with stereotypes that even relatively privileged, middle-class Muslim women are still frequently obliged to make in India today. Sarkar concludes with some reflections on the complex links between past constructions of Muslim women, current representations, and the violence against them in contemporary India.
With all the heated debates around religion and homosexuality today, it might be hard to see the two as anything but antagonistic. But in this book, Dominic Janes reveals the opposite: Catholic forms of Christianity, he explains, played a key role in the evolution of the culture and visual expression of homosexuality and male same-sex desire in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. He explores this relationship through the idea of queer martyrdom—closeted queer servitude to Christ—a concept that allowed a certain degree of latitude for the development of same-sex desire.
Janes finds the beginnings of queer martyrdom in the nineteenth-century Church of England and the controversies over Cardinal John Henry Newman’s sexuality. He then considers how liturgical expression of queer desire in the Victorian Eucharist provided inspiration for artists looking to communicate their own feelings of sexual deviance. After looking at Victorian monasteries as queer families, he analyzes how the Biblical story of David and Jonathan could be used to create forms of same-sex partnerships. Finally, he delves into how artists and writers employed ecclesiastical material culture to further queer self-expression, concluding with studies of Oscar Wilde and Derek Jarman that illustrate both the limitations and ongoing significance of Christianity as an inspiration for expressions of homoerotic desire.
Providing historical context to help us reevaluate the current furor over homosexuality in the Church, this fascinating book brings to light the myriad ways that modern churches and openly gay men and women can learn from the wealth of each other’s cultural and spiritual experience.
The first half of the nineteenth century witnessed an extraordinary transformation in British political, literary, and intellectual life. There was widespread social unrest, and debates raged regarding education, the lives of the working class, and the new industrial, machine-governed world. At the same time, modern science emerged in Europe in more or less its current form, as new disciplines and revolutionary concepts, including evolution and the vastness of geologic time, began to take shape.
In Visions of Science, James A. Secord offers a new way to capture this unique moment of change. He explores seven key books—among them Charles Babbage’s Reflections on the Decline of Science, Charles Lyell’s Principles ofGeology, Mary Somerville’s Connexion of the Physical Sciences, and Thomas Carlyle’s Sartor Resartus—and shows how literature that reflects on the wider meaning of science can be revelatory when granted the kind of close reading usually reserved for fiction and poetry. These books considered the meanings of science and its place in modern life, looking to the future, coordinating and connecting the sciences, and forging knowledge that would be appropriate for the new age. Their aim was often philosophical, but Secord shows it was just as often imaginative, projective, and practical: to suggest not only how to think about the natural world but also to indicate modes of action and potential consequences in an era of unparalleled change.
Visions of Science opens our eyes to how genteel ladies, working men, and the literary elite responded to these remarkable works. It reveals the importance of understanding the physical qualities of books and the key role of printers and publishers, from factories pouring out cheap compendia to fashionable publishing houses in London’s West End. Secord’s vivid account takes us to the heart of an information revolution that was to have profound consequences for the making of the modern world.
The book of Genesis records the fiery fate of Sodom and Gomorrah—a storm of fire and brimstone was sent from heaven and, for the wickedness of the people, God destroyed the cities “and all the plains, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and that which grew upon the ground.” According to many Protestant theologians and commentators, one of the Sodomites’ many crimes was homoerotic excess.
In Visions of Sodom, H. G. Cocks examines the many different ways in which the story of Sodom’s destruction provided a template for understanding homoerotic desire and behaviour in Britain between the Reformation and the nineteenth century. Sodom was not only a marker of sexual sins, but also the epitome of false—usually Catholic—religion, an exemplar of the iniquitous city, a foreshadowing of the world’s fiery end, an epitome of divine and earthly punishment, and an actual place that could be searched for and discovered. Visions of Sodom investigates each of these ways of reading Sodom’s annihilation in the three hundred years after the Reformation. The centrality of scripture to Protestant faith meant that Sodom’s demise provided a powerful origin myth of homoerotic desire and sexual excess, one that persisted across centuries, and retains an apocalyptic echo in the religious fundamentalism of our own time.
Historians recognize the cultural centrality of the newspaper press in Britain, yet very little has been published regarding competing historical understandings of the press and its proper role in British society.
In Visions of the Press in Britain, 1850-1950, Mark Hampton argues that qualities expected of the contemporary British press--lively writing, speed, impartiality, depth, and the ability to topple corrupt governments by informing readers--are not obvious attributes of journalism but derive from more than a century of debate. He analyzes the various historical conceptions of the British press that helped to create its modern role, and demonstrates that these conceptions were intimately involved in the emergence of mass democracy in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
Hampton surveys a diversity of sources--Parliamentary speeches and commissions, books, pamphlets, periodicals and select private correspondence--in order to identify how governmental elites, the educated public, professional journalists, and industry moguls characterized the political and cultural function of the press. The resulting blend of cultural history and media sociology demonstrates how once optimistic visions of the press have given way to more pessimistic contemporary views about the power of the mass media.
With clarity and panache, this book shows that many competing conceptions continued to influence twentieth-century understandings of the press but did not remain satisfactory in new political, cultural, and media environments. Visions of the Press in Britain, 1850-1950 provides a rich tapestry against which to understand the contemporary realities of journalism, democracy, and mass media.
The Visual is Political examines the growth of feminist photography as it unfolded in Britain during the 1970s and 1980s. This period in Britain was marked by instability following the collapse of the welfare state, massive unemployment, race riots, and workers’ strikes. However, this was also a time in which various forms of social activism emerged or solidified, including the Women’s Movement, whose members increasingly turned to photography as a tool for their political activism. Rather than focusing on the aesthetic quality of the images produced, Klorman-Eraqi looks at the application of feminist theory, photojournalism, advertising, photo montage, punk subculture and aesthetics, and politicized street activity to emphasize the statement and challenge that the photographic language of these works posed. She shows both the utilitarian uses of photography in activism, but also how these same photographers went on to be accepted (or co-opted) into the mainstream art spaces little by little, sometimes with great controversy. The Visual is Political highlights the relevance and impact of an earlier contentious, creative, and politicized moment of feminism and photography as art and activism.
One of the most recurrent and controversial subjects of nineteenth–century discourse was work. Many thinkers associated work with honest pursuit of doing good, not the curse accompanying exile from Eden but rather “a great gift of God.” Sincerely undertaken work comprised a mission entailing a commitment to serve others and promote a better future for all.
Satisfaction with what work could do for individuals had its counterbalance in the anger and dismay expressed at the conditions of those whom Robert Owen, in 1817, first called the “working class.” What working–class people confronted both at the labor site and at their lodgings was construed as oppressive, and the misery of their lives became the subject of sentimental poetry, government report, popular fiction, and journalistic expose. Perhaps as heated as the discussion about conditions of lower–class workers was the conversation about separate spheres of work for men and women. This conversation, too, found its way into the literature and public discourse of the day.
In The Voice of Toil, the editors have collected the central writings from a pivotal place and time, including poems, stories, essays, and a play that reflect four prominent ways in which the subject of work was addressed: Work as Mission, Work as Opportunity, Work as Oppression, and (Separate) Spheres of Work. The resulting anthology offers a provocative text for students of nineteenth-century British literature and history and a valuable resource for scholars.
The text includes readings from John Wesley, William Blake, Elizabeth Gaskell, William Wordsworth, Charles Dickens, Florence Nightingale, William Morris, Joanna Baillie, Friedrich Engels, Matthew Arnold, Angela Burdett–Coutts, John Stuart Mill, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Bernard Shaw and many others.
The rise and decline of American civic life has provoked wide-ranging responses from all quarters of society. Unfortunately, many proposals for improving our communities rely on renewed governmental efforts without a similar recognition that the inflexibility and poor accountability of governments have often worsened society's ills. The Voluntary City investigates the history of large-scale, private provision of social services, the for-profit provision of urban infrastructure and community governance, and the growing privatization of residential life in the United States to argue that most decentralized, competitive markets can contribute greatly to community renewal.
Among the fascinating topics covered are: how mutual-aid societies in America, Great Britain, and Australia provided their members with medical care, unemployment insurance, sickness insurance, and other social services before the welfare state; how private law, known historically as the law merchant, is returning in the form of arbitration; and why the rise of neighborhood associations represents the most comprehensive privatization occurring in the United States today.
The volume concludes with an epilogue that places the discoveries of The Voluntary City within the theory of market and government failure and discusses the implications of these discoveries for theories about the private provision of public goods. A refreshing challenge to the position that insists government alone can improve community life, The Voluntary City will be of special interest to students of history, law, urban life, economics, and government.
David T. Beito is Associate Professor of History, University of Alabama. Peter Gordon is Professor in the School of Policy, Planning, and Development and Department of Economics, University of Southern California. Alexander Tabarrok is Vice President and Research Director, the Independent Institute.