A Blow from Bewick: Brontë’s Projectile Online

Bewick, Thomas et al. A history of British birds. Printed by J. Blackwell and Co., for R.E. Bewick, 1847. 161

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.

The Hulks on the Victorian History blog: “‘hell upon earth'”

J.M.W. Turner's "The Fighting Temeraire tugged to her last berth to be broken up," 1838.

Bruce Rosen at Victorian History has a fascinating post about the Hulks, the old navy ships used as floating jails in nineteenth-century Britain.  (The hulks also inspired the name of our blog!). Rosen includes a great image of the interior of a hulk and links to Adventures of a Guardsmen, the memoir of Charles Cozen who was a military prisoner on one of the Hulks.

Additional links:

-There are more images of “Prison Ships on the River Thames” on the Port Cities London website.

– The Temeraire, depicted above by Turner, was used as a prison ship after serving in the Battle of Trafalgar

“Hulks” on Lee Jackson’s Victorian London site

NVSA 2010: What the h— happened to Darwin?

I’ve returned home from lovely Princeton and from a very rich and collegial conference experience at this year’s NVSA conference. As I mentioned in my first post about the conference, the topic this year was “Fighting Victorians,” which is a theme I’d like to respond to as I think back over the conference. I really enjoyed how the focused topic allowed all of the papers to build on each other another and thereby construct a larger, aggregate sense of what fighting meant to the Victorians (and the wide range of issues that they had to fight over). Continue reading

Report from NVSA: Saturday

A few of us from the Floating Academy are attending the Northeast Victorian Studies Association conference this weekend at Princeton University. It has been a very enjoyable conference so far and my brain is swimming with lots of new ideas about conflict, debate, and even pugilism (as the topic of the conference is “Fighting Victorians”). Continue reading

Victorian Studies e-books and the Future of Scholarly Publishing

Designer Kyle Bean's The Future of Books (c. Kyle Bean, 2009). http://www.kylebean.co.uk

The future of academic publishing is an important and complicated issue that concerns us all and I know that we’re all deeply interested in the ways that scholarly publishers are responding to the economic pressures they face. For most presses, digitality seems to be an attractive cost-saving measure.  The University of Michigan Press, for instance, announced last year that they would be switching their list primarily to digital formats (with a print on demand option) in future. Other presses seem to be experimenting with e-book text access in order to figure out business models that work: indeed, various presses, like the University of Chicago Press, are providing access to specific e-books on their list at no charge. Continue reading

The Melancholy Problem of Sweeney Todd

Image courtesy of PBS.org

I was thinking about ways to improve the traffic on this thing we call the Floating Academy, and it struck me that I might write something about Sweeney Todd, the demon barber of Fleet Street. Maybe we’ll get a little Johnny Depp action on here. If not Depp fans, then we might reasonably expect to pick up a few readers googling their favorite obscure Victorian villain. I would be absolutely amazed, and honestly quite impressed, if we were to acquire readers from that rare group of enthusiasts of Sweeney Todd, the relatively unknown Canadian band fronted by a 15-year-old Bryan Adams. Continue reading