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The omnibus and urban culture in nineteenth-century Paris
Author: Masha Belenky

Engine of Modernity: The Omnibus and Urban Culture in Nineteenth-Century Paris examines the connection between public transportation and popular culture in nineteenth-century Paris through a focus on the omnibus - a horse-drawn vehicle for mass urban transport which enabled contact across lines of class and gender. A major advancement in urban locomotion, the omnibus generated innovations in social practices by compelling passengers of diverse backgrounds to interact within the vehicle’s close confines. Although the omnibus itself did not actually have an engine, its arrival on the streets of Paris and in the pages of popular literature acted as a motor for a fundamental cultural shift in how people thought about the city, its social life, and its artistic representations. At the intersection of literary criticism and cultural history, Engine of Modernity argues that for nineteenth-century French writers and artists, the omnibus was much more than a mode of transportation. It became a metaphor through which to explore evolving social dynamics of class and gender, meditate on the meaning of progress and change, and reflect on one’s own literary and artistic practices.

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Maverick Victorian Cartoonist

Marie Duval: Maverick Victorian cartoonist offers the first critical appraisal of the work of Marie Duval (Isabelle Émilie de Tessier [1847–90]), one of the most unusual, pioneering and visionary cartoonists of the later nineteenth century.

Taking a critical theory approach, the book discusses key themes and practices of Duval’s vision and production, relative to the wider historic social, cultural and economic environments in which her work was made, distributed and read. It identifies Duval as an exemplary radical practitioner in an urban media environment, in which new professional definitions were being created, and in which new congruence between performance, illustration, narrative drawing and novels emerged. The book divides into two sections: Work and Depicting and Performing, interrogating the relationships between the developing practices and the developing forms of the visual cultures of print, story-telling, drawing and stage performance. On one hand, the book focuses on the creation of new types of work by women and gendered questions of authorship in the attribution of work, and on the other, the book highlights the style of Duval’s drawings relative to both the visual conventions of theatre production and the significance of the visualisation of amateurism and vulgarity. The book pays critical attention to Duval the practitioner and to her work, establishing her as a unique but exemplary figure in the foundational development of a culture of print, visualisation and narrative drawing in English, in a transformational period of the nineteenth century.

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Legacies and afterlives

This book charts the vast cultural impact of Charlotte Bronte since the appearance of her first published work, Poems by Currer, Ellis and Acton Bell. It highlights the richness and diversity of the author's legacy, her afterlife and the continuation of her plots and characters in new forms. The most well known and well regarded of the three sisters during the Victorian period, Charlotte Bronte bequeathed a legacy which is more extensive and more complex than the legacies of Emily Bronte and Anne Bronte. The book shows how Bronte's cultural afterlife has also been marked by a broad geographical range in her consideration of Bronte-related literary tourism in Brussels. It is framed by the accounts of two writers, Elizabeth Gaskell and Virginia Woolf, both of whom travelled to Yorkshire to find evidence of Charlotte Bronte's life and to assess her legacy as an author. The book focuses upon Bronte's topical fascination with labour migration for single, middle-class women in the light of the friendship and correspondence with Mary Taylor. Recent works of fiction have connected the Brontes with the supernatural. The book explores Bronte biodrama as a critically reflexive art: a notable example of popular culture in dialogue with scholarship, heritage and tourism. The Professor and Jane Eyre house the ghost of an original verse composition, whose inclusion allows both novels to participate together in a conversation about the novel's capacity to embody and sustain a lyric afterlife. A survey of the critical fortunes of Villette is also included.

This collection of essays seeks to question the security of our assumptions about the fin de siècle by exploring the fiction of Richard Marsh, an important but neglected professional author. Richard Bernard Heldmann (1857–1915) began his literary career as a writer of boys’ fiction, but, following a prison sentence for fraud, reinvented himself as ‘Richard Marsh’ in 1888. Marsh was a prolific and popular author of middlebrow genre fiction including Gothic, crime, humour, romance and adventure, whose bestselling Gothic novel The Beetle: A Mystery (1897) outsold Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Building on a burgeoning interest in Marsh’s writing, this collection of essays examines a broad array of Marsh’s genre fictions through the lens of cutting-edge critical theory, including print culture, New Historicism, disability studies, genre theory, New Economic Criticism, gender theory, postcolonial studies, thing theory, psychoanalysis, object relations theory and art history, producing innovative readings not only of Marsh but of the fin-de-siècle period. Marsh emerges here as a versatile contributor to the literary and journalistic culture of his time whose stories of shape-shifting monsters, daring but morally dubious heroes, lip-reading female detectives and objects that come to life helped to shape the genres of fiction with which we are familiar today. Marsh’s fictions reflect contemporary themes and anxieties while often offering unexpected, subversive and even counter-hegemonic takes on dominant narratives of gender, criminality, race and class, unsettling our perceptions of the fin de siècle.

New essays on experiences of culture and society

Over the past quarter of a century, the study of nineteenth-century Hispanic culture and society has undergone two major shifts. The first was a rejection of 'the myth of backwardness', a notion that these cultures and societies were exceptions that trailed behind the wider West.. The second trend was a critical focus on a core triad of nation, gender and representation. This volume of essays provides a strong focus for the exploration and stimulation of substantial new areas of inquiry. The shared concern is with how members of the cultural and intellectual elite in the nineteenth century conceived or undertook major activities that shaped their lives. The volume looks at how people did things without necessarily framing questions of motive or incentive in terms that would bring the debate back to a master system of gender, racial, ethnographic, or national proportions. It reviews some key temporal dilemmas faced by a range of nineteenth-century Spanish writers. The volume explores how they employed a series of narrative and rhetorical techniques to articulate the consequent complexities. It also looks at how a number of religious figures negotiated the relationship between politics and religion in nineteenth-century Spain. The volume concentrates on a spectrum of writings and practices within popular literature that reflect on good and bad conduct in Spain through the nineteenth century. Among other topics, it provides information on how to be a man, be a writer for the press, a cultural entrepreneur, an intellectual, and a colonial soldier.

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Writing social engagement 1880–1921

This volume is the first to bring together research on the life and work of the author, activist, and traveller Margaret Harkness, who wrote under the pseudonym ‘John Law’. The collection contextualises Harkness’s political project of observing and recording the lives and priorities of the working classes and urban poor alongside the broader efforts of philanthropists, political campaigners, journalists, and novelists who sought to bring the plight of marginalised communities to light at the end of the nineteenth century. It argues for a recognition of Harkness’s importance in providing testimony to the social and political crises that led to the emergence of British socialism and labour politics during this period. This collection includes considerations of Harkness’s work in London’s East End at the end of the nineteenth century, but moves into the twentieth century and beyond Britain’s borders to examine the significance of her global travel for the purpose of investigating international political trends. This collection gives substance to women’s social engagement and political involvement in a period prior to their formal enfranchisement, and offers insight into the ways this effected shifts in literary style and subject. In offering a detailed picture of Harkness’s own life and illuminating the lives and work of her contemporaries, this volume enriches critical understanding of the complex and dynamic world of the long nineteenth century.

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Theories of nature and nurture in Victorian sensation fiction
Author: Helena Ifill

This book explores the range of ways in which the two leading sensation authors of the 1860s, Mary Elizabeth Braddon and Wilkie Collins, engaged with nineteenth-century ideas about how the personality is formed and the extent to which it can be influenced either by the subject or by others.

Innovative readings of Braddon’s and Collins’s sensation novels – some of them canonical, others less well-known – demonstrate how they reflect, employ, and challenge Victorian theories of heredity, degeneration, willpower, inherent constitution, education, insanity, upbringing and social circumstance. Far from presenting a reductive depiction of ‘nature’ versus ‘nurture’, Braddon and Collins show the creation of character to be a complex interplay of internal and external factors that are as much reliant on chance as on the efforts of the people who try to exert control over an individual’s development. Their works raise challenging questions about responsibility and self-determinism and, as the analyses of these texts reveals, demonstrate an acute awareness that the way in which character formation is understood fundamentally influences the way people (both in fiction and reality) are perceived, judged and treated.

Drawing on material from a variety of genres, including Victorian medical textbooks, scientific and sociological treatises, specialist and popular periodical literature, Creating character shows how sensation authors situated themselves at the intersections of established and developing, conservative and radical, learned and sensationalist thought about how identity could be made and modified.

A sourcebook
Editor: Jonathon Shears

This book, a collection of essays, presents new interpretations of one of the most significant exhibitions in the nineteenth century. It exposes how meaning has been produced around the Great Exhibition held at the Crystal Palace. The book contains a series of critical readings of the official and popular historical record of the Exhibition. The 'Exhibition of the Industry of all Nations', as it was initially referred to, was the product of a number of issues. The first is the liberal shift in politics of the 1830s that popularised laissez-faire attitudes to manufacture and enterprise. The second is the need to address Britain's position as an economic power and moral arbiter in post-Napoleonic Europe. The third is the fortunate incidents that occurred in the 1840s to bring together the men who would shape the venture. Mass production, as much as artisanship, was showcased at the Exhibition and much of the rhetoric of the Official Catalogue concerned the way mechanisation could save time, expense and labour. The fear of ethnic and cultural difference was rampant in Exhibition literature. The presence of women at the Exhibition raised gender issues such as being objectified and the threat of being 'seen'. Increased concern for the welfare of the working classes is one dominant motif of political which the organisers of the Great Exhibition could not avoid engaging. The book portrays the determined use of industrial knowledge, definitions of nation and colony, and the control of the Crystal Palace after the Great Exhibition closed.

Charles Dickens and the politics of the dual alphabet
Author: Gavin Edwards

The Case of the Initial Letter analyses attempts by Dickens and other nineteenth-century writers to challenge established ways of using the distinction between upper and lower-case letters, and to do so in the interests of a wider radicalism. It discusses Dickens’s satire – on the power of ‘Shares’ in Our Mutual Friend, on Paul Dombey’s position as the ‘Son’ of Dombey and Son – alongside the proto-modernist typography of the suffragist poet Augusta Webster and the work of Samuel Moore, Karl Marx’s principle nineteenth-century translator who transformed German conventions of capitalisation into English conventions under the influence of Dickens and Thomas Carlyle. Placing these innovations within the history of the dual alphabet from its invention by Carolingian scribes in the eighth century to its rejection by modernist poets and the Bauhaus printers, the book tracks the dual alphabet through Dickens’s manuscripts and corrected proofs, as well as the ‘prompt copies’ for his public Readings. The dual alphabet, unlike other aspects of language, works metaphorically, on the basis of visual resemblance: elevated letters are for elevated things. The book follows the dual alphabet as it moves from author, to printer, to performer, changing as it moves from handwriting to print, and disappearing in the transition from visible to spoken language.

The Western canon and the incorporation of the Hispanic (c. 1850–75)
Author: Andrew Ginger

Instead of modernity revisits the key moment in the mid-nineteenth century when, it is said, ‘all that is solid melts into air’. Spanning the visual arts, literature, and thought, it reconsiders artists and writers linked to the foundations of modern culture: Marx, Darwin, Nietzsche, Flaubert, Baudelaire, Whitman, Whistler and Courbet. In so doing, it offers an alternative to the obsession with notions of ‘modernity’ that underpin many influential theories of culture. It incorporates the Hispanic world (Spain and Spanish America) into the story of this time, disrupting and reconfiguring the narrative of ‘modernity’, challenging the belief the Hispanic had opened the doors to the ‘modern’ but was overtaken by cultures of the north-west Atlantic. While this points beyond the divide between a supposed core and periphery in culture, the book likewise undermines the patriarchal basis of canonical modernity, giving prominence to women from the painter Rosa Bonheur, and the photographers Jane Clifford and Julia Margaret Cameron, to the actress Matilde Díez. Instead of ‘modernity’, the book conjures visions of intimate connection between places and times, between representations and realities, between selves and others. It explores commonality and similarity. In its own prose, it envisages ways of conducting and writing comparative cultural study, beyond contextualisation and historicisation, drawing on the nineteenth-century imagination. In that spirit, the book finds its way across diverse fields and subject matter, tracing connections between them, from sexuality to optical technology, from brain slices to taxidermy. In so doing, it conjures four moods: meeting, departure, sacifice and repose.