Victorian Freak Show Posters

"Krao" poster from the British Library's Online Gallery of Victorian Freak Show Posters

Kristan Tetens at The Victorian Peeper points us to an interesting online collection of Victorian Freak show posters at the British Library’s website. Noting the importance of “titillating publicity” to the success of these shows, the BL website emphasizes how the  invariably “exaggerated and stylised illustrations” of the posters graphically framed and pathologized the performers’ physical difference. Continue reading “Victorian Freak Show Posters”


Bookbinding (the American Cousin Edition)

Bookbinders from James A. Secord, Victorian Sensation (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000) 120If you haven’t seen it yet, let me recommend the video that chronicles the production of John Carrera’s edition of the Merriam-Webster engravings. The Linotype was cast on a machine from the 1930s, but the binding process reminds me of so many images of Victorian binders seated as sewing frames.

Pictorial Webster’s: Inspiration to Completion from John Carrera on Vimeo.

Dr Marigold and Mr Chops: Dickens Reprised

Two years before his death, in 1868, Charles Dickens famously toured the United States, giving public readings of his work. Mark Twain was in the audience in New York and admitted to being “a great deal disappointed” at Dickens’s performance. He records, “what a bright, intelligent audience he had! He ought to have made them laugh, or cry, or shout, at his own good will or pleasure — but he did not. They were very much tamer than they should have been.” Continue reading “Dr Marigold and Mr Chops: Dickens Reprised”

Lining the Nest: Art History and Victorian Studies

For years I’ve felt right at home in the nesting colony that is Victorian Studies. As Victorian Studies expanded in the last decade to include history along side literary criticism, I’ve snuggled in and lined my Victorian Studies nest with novels, popular science treatises, artificial limb catalogues, late-century films, and body building manuals. Although visual culture is central to Victorian Studies, it was only at the joint VSAWC and VISAWUS conference in October that I started to think about the art historians that might be nesting in the same Victorian Studies colonies.

This year’s joint Victorian Studies Association of Western Canada Continue reading “Lining the Nest: Art History and Victorian Studies”