I woke up this morning, opened up my browser to Google, and asked myself if it was Walt Disney’s birthday. Yes, the sketch on the Google letters that indicates that it’s somebody’s birthday looked like a Disneyfied version of A Christmas Carol, complete with ladies in bonnets with large ribbons and street urchins hanging around gas lamps. Actually, come to think of it my first exposure to Dickens was probably through Mickey Mouse, so this may be quite fitting!
In celebration of Dickens’s 200th Birthday, here is a round up of links to some of the festivities!
Click here to read free articles on Dickens from Routledge until May.
Click here to see places in the novels in London. (So sorry I haven’t got the map of where Dickens stayed in Toronto! I think it was University Ave.)
Click here to sign up for an online conference on Dickens in March.
Click here to search for Dickens in the British Newspaper Archive on a seven day free trial.
Charles Dickens beat out Keira Knightley for the lead story in the entertainment section of the Toronto Star today, with an article featured here on a local collector of his works. The paper also had a cool map of places in Toronto that Dickens visited on his 1842 visit to North America, which I don’t see reproduced online.
We are still a couple of weeks away from Dickens’s 200th birthday, on February 7th. It will be interesting to see what kind of mainstream media coverage the big event gets, in addition to the academic conferences and special publications being planned. Seems like the Victorians have enough cachet to trump starlets.
Bewick, Thomas et al. A History of British Birds. Printed by J. Blackwell and Co., for R.E. Bewick, 1847. 161
I’ve just returned to my online search for John Gould’s bird lithographs. I haven’t had any luck, but I have found a copy of Thomas Bewick’s History of British Birds – the volume whose letterpress Jane Eyre disliked so much. Assuming that she was reading the first volume of the1847 edition, then we can all go to Google books to give the offending letterpress the once-over.
The online reproduction of British Birds doesn’t quite afford me the affective pleasure that I’m looking for (let me nod to your post from October, Daniel). I think I’d flinch if I handled a physical copy of the edition with which John Reid brained our heroine, but I can’t tell how large or heavy a more material rendering of Google’s reprint would be.
"It's a great cake. A bride-cake. Mine!" Image from Harper's weekly serialization of Great Expectations. (Scanned by Philip V. Allingham).
As a scholar working in the field of Deaf Studies who thinks daily about the fraught triangulation of written language, signed language and spoken language, I was intrigued by Bill Brown’s recent call to “extend textual materialism beyond the manuscript and the book and to expand the ways of locating physical detail in a sign system, which is how we make matter mean” (25). Brown issues this call in an introduction to a series of articles on textual materialism in the January 2010 issue of PMLA in which he traces the complementary and contradictory ways that book history, “theory,” digitality, and thing theory/material culture studies combine. Continue reading
I’ve been reading too much Wilkie Collins lately, and not even the good stuff such as The Woman in White and The Moonstone, but also the lesser-known works from the 1850s through to his last published novel in the late 1880s. I’ve now read, I think, every Collins novel, in addition to much of his shorter works of fiction and journalism. I’m exhausted and overloaded. Reading excessive amounts of popular Victorian fiction skews your sense of the world. Continue reading
Merciful heavens- I haven’t posted in ages. Like Bob Cratchit, “I am behind my time,” like Ebenezer Scrooge, I’ve reformed and promise to be as good a friend as this good old blog has ever known.
Of late I’ve been thinking about how to treat willful lies in an autobiography. As the Toronto contingent of the Floating Academy has likely heard far too often, I’m working with the promotional materials of Eugen Sandow, the Prussian body builder. Continue reading
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
Emily’s fascinating post on Sublime Penmanship works hand in glove with research I’ve been conducting on graphology in Victorian Britain, as part of a chapter on the role of handwriting in R. L. Stevenson’s Jekyll & Hyde. The first book-length study of handwriting analysis was published in 1622 by Camillo Baldi, an Italian doctor of medicine and philosophy. However, the most broadly read text within England upon the subject was most likely the Swiss pastor Johann Kaspar Lavater’s Physiognomy. (Published in German in 1775, this study had gone through fifty-five editions by 1810, at least twenty of which were available in England.) Continue reading
“Now don’t say a word if you’ve read it… I owe everyone a grudge who tells me the plot of a story that I’m interested in” (The Heavenly Twins 1893, 527)
While making my way through New Woman novels this year, I’ve been musing on the New Woman and the problem of heredity. I’ll save my thoughts on Neo-Lamarkian and Darwinian theories for another post – for the nonce, I’d like to open up a discussion about heredity’s relationship to mystery novels in Sarah Grand’s The Heavenly Twins (1893). Continue reading
In an 1860 article, Victorian critic F.T. Palgrave likens Victorian novels to social conversation. He explains that contemporary readers “go to books for something almost similar to what they find in social conversation. Reading tends to become only another kind of gossip” (488). He writes with a certain degree of nostalgia for the past, when readers from a century earlier looked for “amusement of a kind higher and more amusing than could be expected from living gossip” (488). Continue reading
A guest post from Emily Simmons
Currently I am both reading and not-reading Wilkie Collins’s The Law and the Lady. Our Nineteenth-century reading group has undertaken an approximation of the serialized reading experience this summer with a sensation novel. The novel was originally serialized in weekly installments in The Graphic between September 1874 and March 1875. Continue reading