Silvia Granata

Chapter 2 discusses the marine tank in connection to real and imaginary travel. The first part is centred on how tank keeping merged with seaside tourism, both practically and textually: in fact, aquarium books described – and often prescribed – ways of experiencing the seaside vacation, envisaging the aquarist as a good tourist in terms of the activities pursued, of the closer relationship established with locals, and of an active engagement with the environment, even though tensions soon emerged between an ‘acquisitive’ appreciation of nature and the recognition that seashore collecting might eventually jeopardize delicate and fragile ecosystems. The second part of the chapter outlines how the aquarium vogue also spurred journeys of the mind: in the 1850s, the tank was widely believed to be a perfect replica of the underwater world, and as such stimulated fictitious descriptions of abyssal excursions; even more intriguingly, the aquarium could at times turn into a time-machine and suggest speculations on progress, on geological past, and on a not-so-far future.

in The Victorian aquarium
John Derricke versus Edmund Spenser
Brian C. Lockey

Early Modern English perspectives on the conquest of Ireland reflected broad humanist ideals about just conquest and colonialism that were emerging within debates between continental humanists and traditional Spanish scholastics concerning the Spanish conquest of the New World. For example, the focus on Irish behaviour in works by John Derricke and Edmund Spenser, in particular their characterisation of the Irish as nomadic brigands, were influenced to some extent by early sixteenth-century humanist accounts of the Amerindians. This chapter considers Derricke’s Image of Irelande (1581) within the context of religious and humanist debates on the conquest and settlement of the New World and the contemporary representation of New World inhabitants. Ultimately, it shows that the terms of the debates concerning the reform of ‘unnatural’ New World polities were reproduced, albeit in modified form, within the Irish context, allowing writers such as Derricke and Spenser to condemn native Irish barbarism from the perspective of natural law while also identifying a clear path to reform.

in John Derricke’s The Image of Irelande: with a Discoverie of Woodkarne
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Murder, mayhem and the remaking of the mind, 1750–1830
Author: Elwin Hofman

The making of the ‘modern self’ is one of the grand narratives in the history of the western world. Yet most scholars of the self disregard to what extent common people participated in this history. This book uses five hundred Belgian criminal trial records of murder, sodomy and prostitution cases from between 1750 and 1830 to retell the European history of the self. By means of these unusual sources, the book not only shifts attention towards common people’s changing self-conceptions, but also to the diversity of discourses and practices of the self. The book indicates that, along with conflicting tendencies, there was an increasing stress on inner depth in the interactions in criminal courts after around 1800. This depth was not only important for elites, but also, and sometimes especially, for common people. In five chapters, the book discusses the impact of changing criminal procedures on practices of confession and remorse, the increasing claims people made that their actions were rational and universal, the ways in which they claimed to have ‘lost’ their self by drinking, passion or insanity, the changing displays of tears and sympathy, and talk about human and individual nature.

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The precariousness of positive emotions in Webster’s The Duchess of Malfi
Lalita Pandit Hogan

In ‘Trust and disgust: the precariousness of positive emotions in Webster’s The Duchess of Malfi’, Lalita Pandit Hogan argues that Webster’s tragedy is underpinned by the interaction of trust and disgust—an affective relationship that demonstrates both the potency and the precariousness of positive emotions. Drawing on neuroscience and cognitive science, Hogan focuses particularly on how the so-called ‘Prisoner’s Dilemma’, a central concept of Trust Theory, can be seen at play in the complex attachment formed by Bosola and the play’s titular Duchess.

in Positive emotions in early modern literature and culture
Literary discussions on nature, culture and science
Author: Silvia Granata

This book explores the vogue for home aquaria that spread through Great Britain around the middle of the nineteenth century. The marine tank, perfected and commercialised in the early 1850s, was advertised as a marvel of modernity, a source of endless entertainment and a tool providing useful and edifying knowledge; it was meant to surprise, bringing a profoundly unfamiliar experience right to the heart of the home and providing a vista on the submarine world, at the time still largely unknown. Thanks to an interdisciplinary approach, this book offers an example of how the study of a specific object can be used to address a broad spectrum of issues: the Victorian home tank became in fact a site of intersection between scientific, technological, and cultural trends; it engaged with issues of class, gender, nationality and inter-species relations, drawing together home décor and ideals of domesticity, travel and tourism, exciting discoveries in marine biology, and emerging tensions between competing views of science; due to the close connection between tank keeping and seaside studies, it also marked an important moment in the development of a burgeoning environmental awareness. Through the analysis of a wide range of sources, including aquarium manuals, articles in the periodical press and fictional works, The Victorian aquarium unearths the historical significance of a resonant object, arguing that, for Victorians, the home tank was both a mirror and a window: it opened views on the underwater world, while reflecting the knowledge, assumptions, and preoccupations of its owners.

Andrew Taylor

The fall of Neville Chamberlain and the emergence of the Churchill coalition had crucial consequences for the party’s relationship with the unions. The shift under the Coalition to ‘a people’s war’, symbolised by the Labour Party’s presence and particularly by Ernest Bevin’s role at the Ministry of Labour and National Service, produced a significant increase in the influence and political weight of the organised working class. Conservatives recognised this, but proved unable to develop an effective response, although, as prime minister, Churchill was able to hold the line in a couple of cases to the satisfaction of the party. The Conservative critique of the unions underwent little significant change, but the reappearance of industrial conflict in 1944, changes in public policy that favoured the working class and, of course, electoral defeat in 1945 stimulated grave disquiet.

in What about the workers?
Andrew Taylor

Despite the 1926 General Strike the party under Stanley Baldwin maintained and expanded the Government’s relationship with the unions. Baldwin’s amplification of One Nation politics and endorsement of voluntarism necessitated holding Conservative hostility to the unions in check. Conservatives were in government for most of the inter-war period, during which the unions’ reputation shifted from a quasi-revolutionary threat to a bulwark of the status quo. A long-term effect of the General Strike was to confirm the growing relationship between the State and the TUC, and reinforced the party leadership’s determination to keep ‘politics’ out of industrial relations. Rearmament after 1934 put a strain on this relationship, as the TUC sought to expand its role, whilst the Chamberlain Government sought to limit its influence in order to avoid a political threat to the status quo.

in What about the workers?
Silvia Granata

Aquarium manuals had a huge impact in shaping people’s perception of sea creatures, providing both conceptual frameworks and models for interaction. This chapter considers four kinds of activities performed by Victorian aquarists – watching tank residents, domesticating them, experimenting on them, and eating them – which correspond to alternative ways of construing sea creatures as ornaments, pets, specimens, and food. On the one hand, aquarium authors shared a tendency to humanise marine animals and discuss their behaviour through narratives that reflected current assumptions on gender and class; on the other hand, though, they encouraged readers to treat sea species as objects and perform experiments on them, under the assumption that they could not feel pain. At times, tank residents could also turn into food: while some aquarists adventurously tried to cook animals that were not usually considered edible (like actinias), the possibility to observe the life of species commonly seen as food (such as prawns) stimulated reflections on the distance between the live animal in the tank and the dead one on the plate.

in The Victorian aquarium
The Conservative Party and the organised working class in modern British politics.
Author: Andrew Taylor

The relationship between the Conservative Party and the organised working class is fundamental to the making of modern British politics. Although always a minority, the organised working class was perceived by Conservatives as a challenge, a threat and an opportunity. The book’s fundamental question is ‘why throughout its history was the Conservative Party so accommodating towards the organised working class?’ And why in the space of a relatively few years did it abandon this heritage? For much of the party’s history its leaders calculated they had more to gain from the unions’ political inclusion, but during the 1980s Conservative governments marginalised the organised working class to a degree that previously would have been thought politically disastrous for the party. This shift altered British politics profoundly.

Derricke, paratext, and poetic reception
Denna J. Iammarino

While material discussions of John Derricke’s Image of Irelande (1581) often focus on the woodcarvings and print history, this study focuses on the textual content and presentation, particularly the glosses, dedication, and multiple letters to the reader, in order to locate Derricke’s text in sixteenth-century poetic discussions of representation, interpretation, and reception. In the dedication to Sir Phillip Sidney, Derricke reveals his anxiety over these issues – an anxiety further illustrated in the abundance of glosses that clutter the text. The content of the glosses appear to offer a key to the text, yet fail to explicate the text or help a reader decipher the poem, often raising more questions than they answer. By examining the interplay between the glosses and their corresponding lines, this chapter argues that as the text progresses, the glosses become a free-standing work of sorts and a place where Derricke’s poetic concerns and anxieties can be traced.

in John Derricke’s The Image of Irelande: with a Discoverie of Woodkarne