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.
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 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.
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 presents a study that is an attempt to understand the phenomenal
increase in the production and demand for stained glass between about 1835 and
1860. The book provides both history and context for thousands of Victorian
stained-glass windows that exist in churches across the country. It aims to: ask
why people became interested in stained glass; examine how glass-painters set up
their studios; and understand how they interacted with each other and their
patrons. To understand why so many windows were commissioned and made in the
Victorian period, readers need to understand how buying a stained-glass window
became a relatively ordinary thing to do. In order to examine this, the book
focuses on those who wrote or spoke about stained glass in the formative years
of the revival. It is important to look at the production of stained glass as a
cultural exchange: a negotiation in both financial and cultural terms that was
profitable for both glass-painter and patron. The history of Victorian stained
glass allows an examination of many other areas of nineteenth-century cultural
history. Readers can learn a lot about the aesthetics of the Gothic Revival,
ecclesiology, the relationship between 'fine' and
'decorative' art, and the circulation of art history in the 1840s.
While many interesting glass-painters have necessarily been omitted, the author
hopes that the case studies in the book will provide a point of reference for
the research of future scholars.
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
This book relates the story of the life and activities of Henry Dresser (1838-1915), one of the most productive English ornithologists of the mid-late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, but it is not just his story. Dresser was one of the prime movers in ornithology; he witnessed and played a part in many of the transformations that took place in the discipline. His success in ornithology stemmed from his position within a web of activities, including field collecting, cabinet collecting (where specimens were bought and exchanged), in scientific societies and society more generally, in publishing and with his readership. During his second trip to Finland, in July 1858, Dresser and two friends had sailed to Sandön, a small island close to Uleabörg, to enjoy a couple of days' bird collecting. If Henry Dresser's early life was eventful, this was eclipsed by his next 'adventure', when he spent time in Texas and Mexico during the American Civil War in 1863-1864. The bulk of his spare time was spent scouring markets for bird specimens, visiting local naturalists and hunting for birds whenever and wherever possible. By 1861, Dresser was a regular attendee at the fortnightly meetings of the Zoological Society of London. The book explores various sources, and tactics, that he and other ornithologist-collectors used to take their collecting to new heights. The instigator of A History of the Birds of Europe was Richard Sharpe, who partnered with Dresser to produce a great encyclopaedia on the birds of Europe.
From the mid-nineteenth century, disability in childhood became an issue of increasing interest to the British medical and educational communities as ‘Victorians sought to better identify, categorise and manage those individuals who were unable to conform to society's expectations’.
With the founding of the first paediatric hospitals and the introduction of compulsory elementary education, children's abilities and disabilities were analysed and assessed on an unprecedented scale. Many of the
Elizabeth Wolstenholme Elmy (1833–1918) was one of the most significant pioneers of the British women's emancipation movement, though her importance is little recognised. Wolstenholme Elmy referred to herself as an ‘initiator’ of movements, and she was at the heart of every campaign Victorian feminists conducted — her most well-known position being that of secretary of the Married Women's Property Committee from 1867–82. A fierce advocate of human rights, as the secretary of the Vigilance Association for the Defence of Personal Rights, Wolstenholme Elmy earned the nickname of the ‘parliamentary watch-dog’ from Members of Parliament anxious to escape her persistent lobbying. Also a feminist theorist, she believed wholeheartedly in the rights of women to freedom of their person, and was the first woman ever to speak from a British stage on the sensitive topic of conjugal rape. Wolstenholme Elmy engaged theoretically with the rights of the disenfranchised to exert force in pursuit of the vote, and Emmeline Pankhurst lauded her as ‘first’ among the infamous suffragettes of the Women's Social and Political Union. As a lifelong pacifist, however, she resigned from the WSPU Executive in the wake of increasingly violent activity from 1912. A prolific correspondent, journalist, speaker and political critic, Wolstenholme Elmy left significant resources, believing they ‘might be of value’ to historians. This book draws on a great deal of this documentation to produce a portrait that does justice to her achievements as a lifelong ‘Insurgent woman’.