The marine aquarium in context
in The Victorian aquarium
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After a brief discussion of how marine tanks were perfected in the early 1850s, Chapter 1 considers some of the cultural factors that helped make tank keeping so popular: a new interest in the sea, the expansion of seaside tourism, and the increasing popularity of amateur science and collecting. Then, it examines how tank keeping was materially done, the technical difficulties it entailed, and the market it generated; in particular, it investigates the way in which tank keeping was discussed and conceptualised, providing a survey of the most popular aquarium books published in the 1850s. The final section explores the audiences addressed by these texts: tank keeping was advertised as a remarkably flexible pursuit, which could serve multiple purposes and functions, thus appealing in different ways to different publics in terms of class, gender, education, and levels of scientific expertise.

The Victorian aquarium

Literary discussions on nature, culture and science

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