This interdisciplinary study of competing representations of the Virgin Mary examines how anxieties about religious and gender identities intersected to create public controversies that, whilst ostensibly about theology and liturgy, were also attempts to define the role and nature of women. Drawing on a variety of sources, this book seeks to revise understanding of the Victorian religious landscape, both retrieving Catholics from the cultural margins to which they are usually relegated, and calling for a reassessment of the Protestant attitude to the feminine ideal.
This book re-examines the campaign experience of British soldiers in Africa during the period 1874–1902—the zenith of the Victorian imperial expansion—and does so from the perspective of the regimental soldier. The book utilises a number of letters and diaries, written by regimental officers and other ranks, to allow soldiers to speak for themselves about their experience of colonial warfare. The sources demonstrate the adaptability of the British army in fighting in different climates, over demanding terrain and against a diverse array of enemies. They also uncover soldiers' responses to army reforms of the era as well as the response to the introduction of new technologies of war.
This book is a study of constructions of masculinity in a range of medical, cultural and Gothic narratives at the fin de siecle. The final decades of the nineteenth century provide a particularly complex set of examples of how the dominant masculine scripts came to be associated with disease, degeneration and perversity. The book first outlines the theories of degeneracy, explaining how they relate to masculinity. It then charts an alternative British tradition of degeneracy as this British context provides a more immediate background to the case histories that follow. The book presents a close reading of Sir Frederick Treves's Reminiscences; Treves's memoirs focus on the issues confronted by doctors working in the late Victorian period. The Whitechapel murders of 1888 are then discussed. The book focuses on how and why the medical profession became implicated in the murders. The murders also suggested the presence of a demonic, criminalised form of masculine control over the East End. Continuing with its focus on medicine, the book discusses medical textbooks on syphilis in the 1880s and how they responded to a shift in attitude towards attributing responsibility for the spread of syphilis. An examination of how London appears as a gendered space in the work of male authors such as Thomas De Quincey, and Charles Dickens, and later Arthur Conan Doyle and Bram Stoker, is presented. Finally, some aspects of Oscar Wilde's trials are also examined as well as a range of his writings.
This book describes life in London for ordinary people during the first half of the nineteenth century, exploring the social tensions and opportunities created by the industrial revolution and urbanisation. It demonstrates how such conditions forced traditional amusements left over from the pre-industrial world of leisure, travelling entertainments and broadsides, to adapt and change, or, in other words, to increase their overtly violent content to continue to attract paying customers. The book shows that, in many respects, the Victorian popular imagination was bloodier, much more explicit, and more angry and turbulent than historians have thus far been prepared to acknowledge. It discusses the commonalities in culture and outlook that continued to exist between the lower-middle class and sections of skilled workers after the somewhat artificial division enforced by the Great Reform Act of 1832. The book turns our attention to the role and presentation of violence in the range of genres that comprised early nineteenth-century popular culture. The theme of violence, therefore, became central to scaffold culture during the early nineteenth century. The book also shows how the broadside trade, a hangover from the eighteenth-century popular literature of crime, was dramatically expanded and intensified during the early decades of the nineteenth century with developments in technology and changes in the penal code. It also discusses the way in which Edward Lloyd launched his career in cheap instalment fiction, publishing a wide range of sensational periodicals, penny novelettes and penny miscellanies from the 1830s onwards.
Since 2005 Tim Burton’s imagination has frequently turned to Victorian-related
subjects. Focusing primarily on Corpse Bride (2005),
Sweeney Todd (2007) and Alice in Wonderland
(2010), this article argues that Burton’s response to (neo-) Victorian culture
is a distinctly Gothic one. Unlike other more literary and canonical types of
neo-Victorianism it engages with the popular and strongly Gothicised conceptions
of the Victorian that emerged through the horror cinema of the twentieth
century. It is also Gothic in the way that it self-consciously blends the
Victorian with other cultural trends. As a result, rather than offering a
strongly theorised, academic view of the Victorians, Burton remediates them for
his own aesthetic purposes.
In 1611 the King James Bible was printed with minimal annotations, as requested
by King James. It was another of his attempts at political and religious
reconciliation. Smaller, more affordable, versions quickly followed that
competed with the highly popular and copiously annotated Bibles based on the
1560 Geneva version by the Marian exiles. By the nineteenth century the King
James Bible had become very popular and innumerable editions were published,
often with emendations, long prefaces, illustrations and, most importantly,
copious annotations. Annotated King James Bibles appeared to offer the best of
both the Reformation Geneva and King James Bible in a Victorian context, but
they also reignited old controversies about the use and abuse of paratext. Amid
the numerous competing versions stood a group of Victorian scholars, theologians
and translators, who understood the need to reclaim the King James Bible through
its Reformation heritage; they monumentalized it.
This book explores how contemporary observers located criminal poisoning within a multi-layered network of historical and cultural references. It focuses on the painstaking attempts to construct a 'modern' conceptual and legislative framework for containing the threat posed by criminal poisoning. The book discusses the efforts to delineate the terms of scientific engagement with modern poison and then presents an analysis of how toxicological work was undertaken and represented. In motive and means, William Palmer's was the quintessential 'crime of civilization', and it shows how his case was enmeshed with a core set of concerns about the social and cultural underpinnings of a self-consciously 'modern' Britain. The book examines toxicology in the aftermath of the Palmer trial, showing how the tensions it highlighted within the imaginative landscape of Victorian poisoning led to an implosion of the toxicological project. The epic framing of toxicology's struggles with poison and the poisoner yielded to two (seemingly contradictory) revisions: on the one hand, to a more modest, less individually heroic role for the poison hunter, a vision of expertise as the collective application of consensually developed knowledge; and, on the other, to a literary reworking of the constitutive elements of toxicology's quest for mastery, a transposed re-articulation of the fraught relationship between poison, detection, and the Victorian imagination.
The Victorian era, encompassing the latter six decades of the nineteenth century,
was a period by which significant areas of the British Isles had become
industrialised and urbanised. Both processes exacerbated the extent of impairing
conditions, ranging from industrial injury through the prevalence of
debilitating physiological illnesses. Disability and the Victorians: attitudes,
interventions, legacies brings together the work of eleven scholars and focuses
on the history of disability and, while showcasing the work of a diverse
gathering of historians, also gives a flavour of how disability history engages
the work of scholars from other disciplines and how they, in turn, enhance
historical thought and understanding. Equally, while the focus is on the
Victorian era, a time during which society changed significantly, both at the
bottom and from the top, it was also a time in which patterns developed that
were to have an enduring influence. Therefore, a taste of that enduring
influence is presented in chapters that suggest the resilience of Victorian
thought and practices in the modern era. Consequently, an underlying aim is to
encourage readers to take a broad view, both of ‘disability’ and of Victorian
influences and values.
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.
Our received narrative of the
ideology of race needs to be reconsidered. It misconstrues the
relationships between nineteenth-century science, race and culture,
it overlooks the Victorian language of race relations which
constitutes the most substantial legacy of the nineteenth century
for the racism of the present, and it has no place for the