A sketching out of two potential directions for future scholarship on Jacobson to take: an analysis of the importance of Manchester in and to Jacobson’s fiction; and an analysis of Jacobson as a transatlantic Jewish writer.
Children’s encounters with ancient Egypt in the long nineteenth century
Ancient Egypt was much in the public eye throughout the nineteenth century. It was often presented as alien and other; however, this chapter explores exhibitions and texts that brought ancient Egypt into the familiar spaces of Victorian London and even the middle-class home. In guidebooks, fictional and non-fictional accounts of archaeological adventure, and picture books, Egyptian antiquity was packaged for children in domestic wrappings. Guides to the British Museum invite children to connect familiar biblical passages to artefacts on display, particularly quotidian items like shoes. In the fantastical Sydenham Sinbad (1857), Edmund Evans conflates Queen Victoria and Ptolemy, while inviting children to imagine themselves on a journey to ancient Egypt. Winter Evenings, or Tales of Travelers (1818) by Maria Hack and Fruits of Enterprize Exhibited in the Adventures of Belzoni in Egypt and Nubia (1824) by Sarah Atkins also bring Egypt into the home and interweave accounts of archaeological adventure with the domestic business of gardening and attention to familiar subjects such as school mottos. Mother Goose in Hieroglyphics (1849) wholly domesticates the ancient Egyptian writing system, and E. Nesbit’s time-travelling Story of the Amulet (1906) turns a quest for an ancient Egyptian artefact into a tale of family reunification.
This chapter examines the writing of Colette Peignot, which revolves around
the notion of the sacred. The chapter demonstrates how Peignot’s
understanding of the sacred was elaborated in response to Michel Leiris’s
foundational essay ‘The Sacred in Everyday Life’ (1938) and surrealist ideas
about myth and the marvellous, but it was also intensely inflected by her
own personal experience. Peignot’s notion of the sacred is predicated on
‘communication’, a term which for Peignot signifies a paradoxical or
dialectical oscillation between extremes: a simultaneous movement towards
other people and away from them and the presence of death in the most vital
moments of life.
Our conclusion seeks to draw together the major themes of the book, demonstrating that neither horror nor comics are intrinsically suited to the exploration of white male anxieties. The stylistics and genre-markers of the comics we have discussed can be appropriated by those they Other. Comics audiences have often been (erroneously) constructed as a space dominated by white men. This book shows that even this form of ownership is tenuous, and subject to challenges from multiple angles. The property through which fears of access are dramatized becomes in itself a space of conflict over access and reading strategies.
This chapter concerns the representation of race in horror comics of the 1940s and 1950s. We argue that while horror comics reject overt racism, they reinforce racist assumptions, particularly by depicting people of colour reverting to savagery under stress, and presenting the social movement of people of colour as a threat to ‘white’ spaces.
Masculinity, sexuality and exploration in the Argonaut story of Kingsley’s The Heroes
Charles Kingsley's The Heroes: Greek Fairy Tales (1857) was dedicated to his own children for Christmas. A third of the book comprises a lengthy retelling of the myth of Jason and the Argonauts. The prominence of Kingsley as didactic children’s author makes this an especially important adaptation. However, his religious, social and political concerns raise problematic questions for understanding his adaptation of the Argonauts. Although ostensibly written to his young audience, significant details suggest extensive overlap with adult versions: arcane, scholarly editions as well as popular poetry, such as William Morris’s The Life and Death of Jason (1867), his first popular literary work. This novel-length narrative poem domesticated the return of the Argo with reference to the English Channel’s white cliffs, but also drew on classical and reference sources: empriere’s Classical Dictionary, Valerius Flaccus’ Argonautica and Caxton’s translation of LeFèvre’s History of Jason. This chapter grapples with analysing what is distinctively Victorian about these engagements with Greek myth and epic heroism, which self-consciously adopt classical traditions of storytelling, while promoting heroes as masculine role models. In the context of Kingsley’s preface, which explicitly claims Greek mythology as a universal childhood, this case study sheds new light on why Greek myth was considered so appealing to, and suitable for, children.
Even as the privileged status of Classics in education began to be questioned in the late nineteenth century, versions of Greco-Roman antiquity created for – and by – children proliferated. The Victorian press enabled some of children’s most sustained encounters with the past. As an article on ancient jokes in the Boy’s Own Paper recognised, ‘there are now countless writers who make the edification and amusement of boys their chief employment’, and antiquity was specially targeted for unconventional reinvention in periodicals. This chapter examines how classical subject matter was exploited to exemplify the balance of entertaining, informative, and religious content to which children’s periodicals aspired. Latin classes were regularly mimicked and mocked in cartoons, stories and puzzles, while articles advertised the Classical Tripos at Girton to girls reading Atalanta, or explained ‘the advantages of a classical education’ in Boy’s Own. In response to readers’ feedback, Boy’s Own during the 1880s and 1890s continually revisited the idea of ‘Classical fun’. Grammatical riddles and submitted anecdotes sat alongside anachronistic cartoons. Such interactive journalism reveals Classics as a powerful example of the fine balance between Victorian pedagogy and entertainment, as well as the inextricable entanglement of adult’s and children’s consumerism.