Described by Reginald Pound as a ‘national institution’, the Strand Magazine (1891–1950) was the foremost British New Journalistic fiction paper of the 1890s. This heavily illustrated monthly promised its readers ‘cheap, healthful literature’, including short and serial fiction, factual articles, human-interest features and celebrity items, by some of the best-known authors of the time. Yet, in spite of its popularity, the Strand has attracted limited scholarly attention and is often dismissed as a prime example of the Victorian middlebrow. This special issue of Victorian Periodicals Review seeks to elicit original essays assessing the nature, role and significance of the Strand in the period 1891–1918. Possible contributions might address, but are not limited to, topics such as: Continue reading “CFP: Special issue of Victorian Periodicals Review: The Strand Magazine”
** Warning: Here be plot spoilers **
OK, I’ll admit, the only things that are strictly (neo)Victorian in Netflix’s new Castlevania series are Dracula himself and an occasional Tesla coil. But I had a damn fine time with this series and I make the rules around here, so we’re going with it.
The series is adapted from Konami’s epic Castlevania series of videogames, which first appeared in 1986/7 on the Nintendo NES, to be followed by around 30 more titles over the next three decades and across multiple gaming platforms. Yet short of playing Symphony of the Night (which pioneered the ‘Metroidvania’ gaming style and adopted a cool, Yoshitaka Amano-inspired art style by Ayami Kojima) with school friends in the 90s, it’s safe to say my knowledge of the Castlevania franchise was limited and my expectations of an adaptation low.
‘The boundary between the animal and the human has long been unstable, especially since the Victorian period. Where the boundary is drawn between human and animal is itself an expression of political power and dominance, and the “animal” can at once express the deepest fears and greatest aspirations of a society’ (Victorian Animal Dreams, 4).
‘The animal, like the ghost or good or evil spirit with which it is often associated, has been a manifestation of the uncanny’ (Timothy Clark, 185).
In the mid nineteenth-century Charles Darwin published his theories of evolution. And as Deborah Denenholz Morse and Martin A. Danahay suggest, ‘The effect of Darwin’s ideas was both to make the human more animal and the animal more human, destabilizing boundaries in both directions’ (Victorian Animal Dreams, 2). Nineteenth-century fiction quickly picked up on the idea of the ‘animal within’ with texts like R.L. Stevenson’s Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray and H.G. Wells’s The Island of Doctor Moreau. In these novels the fear explored was of an unruly, defiant, degenerate and entirely amoral animality lying (mostly) dormant within all of us. This was our animal-other associated with the id: passions, appetites and capable of a complete disregard for all taboos and any restraint. As Cyndy Hendershot states, this ‘animal within’ ‘threatened to usurp masculine rationality and return man to a state of irrational chaos’ (The Animal Within, 97). This however, relates the animal to the human in a very specific, anthropocentric way. Non-humans and humans have other sorts of encounters too, and even before Darwin humans have often had an uneasy relationship with animals. Rats, horses, dogs, cats, birds and other beasts have, as Donna Haraway puts it, a way of ‘looking back’ at us (When Species Meet,19). Continue reading “Call for Submissions: Gothic Animals: Uncanny Otherness and the Animal With-Out”
Thursday 2 November 2017, Senate House
Punch: or the London Charivari first appeared in 1841, published as a weekly magazine with a strong political agenda. Although some work has been done on the social reform agenda of Punch, very little is known about women in the magazine. Were there any women contributors? What representations of women appeared in the magazine, both in images and text? Women were certainly a subject for humour and caricature in Punch, but what were the political implications of those comic illustrations? What was the role played by verse in the depiction of women? Did the representation of women change significantly between 1841 and 1910, and if so, how and why? How do the caricatures and/or depictions of women in Punch differ or resemble those in other illustrated papers, such as the Comic Almanack (1835-1853), The Illustrated London News (1842-1989), the Man in the Moon (1847-1849), and Fun (1861-1901)? Queen Victoria subscribed to Punch; did it have many women subscribers and/or readers? How was the ‘New Women’ reported in the pages of the magazine? Was Punch interested in female education or the entry of women into the professions? Continue reading “CFP: Punch Conference: Women in Punch 1841 – 1920”