Volume 5 of The Yellow Book by Patten Wilson. Courtesy of The Yellow Nineties Online
Years ago (yes, years!) Jennifer asked if I’d like to write up a brief intro to The Yellow Nineties Online, a site dedicated to a fin-de-siècle periodicals, the project on which I cut my digital and project-management teeth. My pearly whites have been in for quite a while now and so it is with a smile of pleasure that I write about the project.
The Yellow Nineties‘ editors, Lorraine Janzen Kooistra and Dennis Denisoff, are among the Victorianists who have embraced the potential of both digital texts and online resources. They belong to a fine tradition: digital editing expanded through the 1980s as the result of what Matthew Kirschenbaum calls “the pitch-perfect convergence between the intense conversations around editorial theory and method … and the widespread means to implement electronic archives and editions.” Continue reading
Sketch of Dinah Mulock, 1845, by Amelia Robertson Hill, National Portrait Gallery
Guest Editor: Karen Bourrier, Consulting Editor: Sally Mitchell
Throughout her lifetime and since her death, Dinah Mulock Craik (1826-1887) has been considered either ahead of her time or a touchstone for all things Victorian. Henry James, for example, assessed her work as “kindly, somewhat dull, pious, and very sentimental.” At the other end of the spectrum, Elaine Showalter found that she excelled at a “peculiar combination of didacticism and subversive feminism.”1 Continue reading
I’m testing out some ideas about neurasthenia, my favourite nineteenth-century nervous complaint. Mark Micale and Elaine Showalter have argued quite convincingly that neurasthenia was polite metonym for male hysteria. I, however, am interested in the ways that it differs from hysteria – the particulars that made it non-feminizing. The following are some of my musings to that end. Yet again I am sucked into the American context (“really,” the lady protests, “when I’m not splashing about with humanities computing, 98% of my research is on the British, not that you can tell from this blog”): the term neurasthenia was coined by American nerve specialist, George M. Beard, and popularized by his two books Nervous Exhaustion (Neurasthenia) (1880) and American Nervousness: Its Causes and the Consequences (1881).
The central distinctions between Nervous Exhaustion (Neurasthenia) and American Nervousness arise from the books’ tone and audience. While Nervous Exhaustion (Neurasthenia) was written for the medical community, and excerpted and summarized in the periodical press, American Nervousness was, in Beard’s own words, “of a more distinctly philosophical and popular character than [Nervous Exhaustion (Neurasthenia)] which was specially addressed to the professional and scientific reader” Continue reading
ILN 8 April 1871 -- "Opening of the Royal Albert Hall of Arts and Sciences by the Queen"
These are exciting times for Victorian scholars with interests in the Illustrated London News. Check out this new database by Gale. Nothing satisfies my inner nerd more than these kinds of searchable archives.
A Guest Post by Emily Simmons
One of the fun things about posting with a title like this one is that I knew I was coming back to it sooner or later. Well, The Law and the Lady is finished, and we’ve had another meeting to discuss its attractions (many) and repulsions (some, yes). Of the serialized reading experience I have little else to say. At the end of my forced hiatus I finished the novel in one gulp; it certainly wasn’t lacking in page-turning sensation. Continue reading
In her last post, Jennifer raised a number of possible connections between contemporary blogging and nineteenth-century serial writing. After reading a recent article by Mary Elizabeth Leighton and Lisa Surridge in Victorian Studies, “The Plot Thickens: Toward a Narratological Analysis of Illustrated Serial Fiction in the 1860s,” I think one of the ways that Victorian serial fiction may differ from contemporary blogging is in the complex and reciprocal relationship between serial writing and illustration. Continue reading
In the first chapter of his book Charles Dickens and His Performing Selves, Malcolm Andrews attends to the particular relationship that Charles Dickens had with his readers – both in his imagination and in theirs. Andrews discusses the influence of serialization on the relationship between writer and reader, drawing heavily on Hughes and Lund’s The Victorian Serial, to argue that “Dickens could use serialization as a means of intervening regularly in the lives of his readers, thereby creating in them a degree of reliance on himself…that matched his reliance on their affection and attention” (16). For Andrews, this particular and intimate reader-writer relationship set the stage for the remarkable popularity of Dickens’s public readings. Continue reading
As we begin this blogging journey, I am looking forward to participating in new networks of thinkers, writers, and readers with my fellow Floaters here at the Floating Academy and other bloggers and commenters in the academic blogosphere. This formation of an online network among those who share common interests, and how that network contributes to the formation of new communities has many historical precursors, of course, but the resemblance I keep coming back to is one that is related to my research in Victorian Deaf and Disability Studies. Continue reading