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Medicine, masculinity and the Gothic at the fin de siecle

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.

Chris Louttit

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.

Gothic Studies
Attitudes, interventions, legacies

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.

Vivienne Westbrook

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.

Bulletin of the John Rylands Library
Literary discussions on nature, culture and science

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.

Douglas A. Lorimer

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

in Science, race relations and resistance
Crossing boundaries and negotiating the cultural landscape

Victorian touring actresses: Crossing boundaries and negotiating the cultural landscape provides a new perspective on the on- and offstage lives of women working in nineteenth-century theatre, and affirms the central role of touring, both within the United Kingdom and in North America and Australasia. Drawing on extensive archival research, it features a cross-section of neglected performers whose dramatic specialisms range from tragedy to burlesque. Although they were employed as stars in their own time, their contribution to the industry has largely been forgotten. The book’s innovative organisation follows a natural lifecycle, enabling a detailed examination of the practical challenges and opportunities typically encountered by the actress at each stage of her working life. Individual experiences are scrutinised to highlight the career implications of strategies adopted to cope with the demands of the profession, the physical potential of the actress’s body, and the operation of gendered power on and offstage. Analysis is situated in a wide contextual framework and reveals how reception and success depended on the performer’s response to the changing political, economic, social and cultural landscape as well as to developments in professional practice and organisation. The book concludes with discussion of the legacies of the performers, linking their experiences to the present-day situation.

Religion and gender in England , 1830–85

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.

Ian Burney

phenomenon. It was, as the Illustrated times declared in 1856, at once the ‘crime of the age’, and ‘the crime of civilization’. 5 The aim of this chapter is to examine the interlocking elements out of which Victorian commentators constructed an understanding of poisoning as, in important respects, a specifically modern concern. This identification of poisoning as modern relied upon a conceptual framework forged from an inherited (and nurtured) politico-historical narrative; a contemporary examination of the nature of ‘civilization’; and the cultural, historical, and

in Poison, detection, and the Victorian imagination