Drood, Ghost-Dickens, and the Fourth Dimension

* The following is a guest post by Beth Seltzer, who holds a PhD from Temple University and is an Educational Technology Specialist at Bryn Mawr College. She can be found at bethseltzer.info or on Twitter at @beth_seltzer.*

Want to know what happened at the end of The Mystery of Edwin Drood? Why not ask the author?

The Mystery of Edwin Drood (1870) was only about half completed at Dickens’s death, its many mysteries still unresolved. What’s happened to the missing Edwin Drood? Has he been murdered by his uncle John Jasper (an opium addict obsessed with crypts and with Edwin’s fiancée)? And who is Datchery—the shadowy detective figure who might be another character in disguise? Victorian and modern reading audiences have speculated on the answers through hundreds of theories and completions, often seeking authority through careful close-reading or reports from the author’s friends and family. Continue reading “Drood, Ghost-Dickens, and the Fourth Dimension”

The Leftovers; or, Anecdote and the Serious Academic

* The following is a guest post by Sarah Bull, a Postdoctoral Research Assistant in the Department of English at Simon Fraser University *

"Holywell Street and the Strand" from _London. Compiled And Engraved By Edward Weller, F.R.G.S. Revised And Corrected To The Present Time By John Dower, F.R.G.S. John Dower, 1866. Updated by Bacon to 1868. London: G.W Bacon & Co., 1868. Image courtesy of http://london1868.com/
“Holywell Street and the Strand” from London. Compiled And Engraved By Edward Weller, F.R.G.S. Revised And Corrected To The Present Time By John Dower, F.R.G.S. John Dower, 1866. Updated by Bacon to 1868. London: G.W Bacon & Co., 1868. Image courtesy of http://london1868.com/

London. May 5, 1871. Great crowds gather on Holywell Street one Friday afternoon as more than 30 policemen prepare to raid shops reputed to deal in “obscene books, prints, photographs, and other things so vile they cannot for decency’s sake be described” (10).

The army of officers first enters a Mr. Tyler’s premises, at 31 Holywell Street. Tyler’s bookshop connects with several others via communicating doors, like those one might find between 21st century hotel rooms. Holywell Street booksellers are rumoured to use these doors to swindle their customers: they bind lurid divorce-court reports together and dress them up as spicier offerings, selling them “in sealed wrappers [with] questionable covers half exposed to view. When the cover is broken the witling who has made his purchase, and has found the book not what he thought, has no opportunity of quarrelling with the shopman who served him, as he generally passes through a private door into the next shop,” trading places with its proprietor (10).

Now, Tyler uses his private exit for another purpose—escape! He bolts through a series of communicating doors into a house on the Strand. Knowing that the police will not be far behind, he makes for a window and jumps forty feet down, down, down into the street. Severely injured, but with his sense of self-preservation intact, Tyler somehow, amazingly, succeeds in his break for freedom. Undeterred, the officers get on with the business of raiding, and carry “a fearful amount of obscenity” away from the crowd in Holywell street at the end of the day (10).

 “Extraordinary Seizure in Holywell Street.”
Nottinghamshire Guardian 12 May 1871: 10.
Gale Newsvault. Accessed 8 February 2015

 Anecdotes like this are the reason I’m an academic.

Continue reading “The Leftovers; or, Anecdote and the Serious Academic”

Editorial Traces: The Yellow Nineties Online

Cover of volume 5 of The Yellow Book
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 “Editorial Traces: The Yellow Nineties Online”

VSAWC

VSAWCThe Victorian Studies Association of Western Canada conference, Victorian Humanity and its Others, has come to a close. It was held at Coast Hotel in Vancouver, a location that has, ladies and gents, left me feeling a little nostalgic. I attended my first VSAWC meeting at the Coast in 2009 — my first visit to Vancouver. Fellow Floating Academician Daniel Martin gave me a tour of Stanley Park over a lunch hour and was kind enough to introduce me to the Victorian Studies who’s who of Western Canada.

Since then Daniel has moved east and I’ve moved west. It was great to have mini FA reunion at the conference: Daniel, Jennifer Esmail, and I Continue reading “VSAWC”

The Nineteenth-Century Novel, Anthropologie Style

Anthropologie rewraps the nineteenth-century novel.www.anthropologie.com
Anthropologie rewraps the nineteenth-century novel.
http://www.anthropologie.com

As a follow up to Jennifer Esmail’s interesting posts on the marketing of Victorian novels with classic status through new covers, I wanted to share these books from Anthropologie, which are nineteenth-century classics being marketed for the holiday season solely through their covers.  In the last post, Jen talked about how Victorian novels like Dracula and Wuthering Heights were being repackaged with gothic covers to  appeal to the Twilight generation, and how this underscored that  more traditional covers are also a form of marketing. Continue reading “The Nineteenth-Century Novel, Anthropologie Style”

Canadian premiere of Linotype: The Film

Date: Wed, 2012/11/21 – 7:30pm – 9:00pm
Place: Room 205, Bissell Building, 140 St. George Street, University of Toronto

image of Linotype machineFrom cave sketch drawings, to fountain pens with ink wells, to writing with a pencil to a pen, to typewriters, to printing materials, to using computer typesetting, we’ve moved from an oral society, to a written one, to a digital one.

From the late 19th century to the 1970s, Linotype was the industry standard for typesetting and printing newspapers, magazines and posters. Now, the publishing industry uses offset lithography printing.

The Linotype type casting machine was called the ‘Eighth Wonder of the World’ by light bulb inventor, Thomas Edison. The Linotype revolutionized printing and society. To celebrate what the machine allowed us to do, the Faculty of Information at the University of Toronto is pleased to present the Canadian premiere of Linotype: The Film, a feature-length documentary centered around the charming and emotional story of the people connected to the Linotype and how it impacted the world. Already, premieres from around the world have been sold out. Continue reading “Canadian premiere of Linotype: The Film”

Young Adult Readers and Nineteenth-Century Fiction: Part Two

About two years ago, we had a conversation on this blog about how some publishers were attempting to capitalize on the popularity of books like Twilight in order to market nineteenth-century fiction to young adult readers. Various publishers were re-packaging books by, for instance, the Brontës’, with covers they thought might be more appealing to young adult readers.

See, for example, the cover of Penguin’s Illustrated Jane Eyre by Goth artist Dame Darcy:

Continue reading “Young Adult Readers and Nineteenth-Century Fiction: Part Two”

Zotero!

I have made the resolution to use software to manage my citations more than once.  At the beginning of my MA I took a course on Endnote and dutifully used it to produce my master’s dissertation, which probably wasn’t necessary seeing as it was a twenty-five page dissertation with about thirty works cited.  At the beginning of my PhD, I took a course on Refworks and started gathering material there, but didn’t stick with it.  All in all this was okay; I actually found the recent week I had to spend sorting out my references for that project rather soothing on the whole.  I think it gave me the feeling of being productive without having to reflect on the quality of my arguments and analysis. Continue reading “Zotero!”

Dickens’s 200th Birthday!

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.

Happy Celebrating!

Links Round-up: Digital Platforms, Open Access and the Future of Scholarly Publishing

In the last few weeks, I have read some thought-provoking articles/essays/posts on scholarly publishing. My ideas are still percolating but I invite you to check out these links and contribute your thoughts in the comments about some of the questions raised by these writers:

If, as the MLA has repeatedly recommended, we should be moving away from the proto-book model of graduate dissertations, what should we be moving towards?

How do we, as scholars, ensure equitable and open access to our published research?

Has it been your experience, like Aimee Morrison’s (below), that “the more you write, the more you write”? (That is, that writing that doesn’t “count” because it isn’t peer reviewed, for instance, can facilitate increased writing output in the kinds of writing that do “count”? )

How have you successfully integrated blogging (and twitter?) into your research and teaching?

How have you been addressing these various issues of access and digital publishing  in your own publishing practices? Continue reading “Links Round-up: Digital Platforms, Open Access and the Future of Scholarly Publishing”

Dracula in Twilight and Goth Janes: Nineteenth-century Young Adult Fiction Today

Dame Darcy's cover for The Illustrated Jane Eyre

Over the past few years, I have come to learn a lot about children’s literature and the reading preferences of young urban children and youth. I am involved with a wonderful organization that provides books free to children in low-income neighborhoods. Books are donated to the organization, which then displays them in a beautiful location in a century home – complete with window seats and fireplaces – and then children browse the shelves and take home one free book every time they come for a visit. The organization serves hundreds of children a day and is a wonderful oasis in the middle of Toronto. Continue reading “Dracula in Twilight and Goth Janes: Nineteenth-century Young Adult Fiction Today”

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 “Victorian Studies e-books and the Future of Scholarly Publishing”