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Napoleon Sarony: Victorian Celebrity Photographer

I wanted to write a quick post in celebration of a nineteenth-century gent whose photographs you’ll probably be familiar with, but whose fabulously flouncy self is far less known than he deserves to be. Meet Napoleon Sarony (1821-1896)

 

Sarony self portrait
Sarony. Self Portrait.

Born in Quebec in 1821, Sarony moved to New York in 1836 to pursue a career in lithography and photography. It was in 1867 that he established the famed photography studio at 37 Union Square which Walt Whitman described as ‘a great establishment’ in which he ‘had a real pleasant time’ when he was invited to sit for Sarony in 1878.[1]

Sarony Whitman
Walt Whitman ‘had a real pleasant time’ at Sarony’s studio, not that you’d know it.

Continue reading “Napoleon Sarony: Victorian Celebrity Photographer”

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Review: Castlevania

** 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.

SYmphony
Ayami Kojima, Castlevania: Symphony of the Night (1997)
Continue reading “Review: Castlevania”

Victorians and their Dragons

It’s St. George’s Day! And, to celebrate, I thought I’d bring you another post in the style of ‘Victorians and their Dogs’ and ‘Victorians and their Cats’, only this time we’ll be celebrating ‘Victorians and their Dragons’. Please remember: a dragon is for life, not just for St. George’s Day.

Co-written with @DrDouglasSmall – funny man, academic, and researcher of Victorian drugs.  Continue reading “Victorians and their Dragons”

Victorians at New Year

After an immensely busy semester with very few posts, I thought I’d ring in the new year by recycling last year’s rummage through the January letters and diaries of eminent Victorian (and ever-so-slightly pre-Victorian) writers to see how the great and the good of the period spent their New Years. Continue reading “Victorians at New Year”

Go home, Robert Browning. You’re drunk.

A brief post today, but I wanted to take a moment for us all to appreciate this wonder of late-nineteenth-century technology and eccentricity.

Picture the scene, if you will: it’s a warm spring evening in 1889. Continue reading “Go home, Robert Browning. You’re drunk.”

Victorian Snark Theatre 3000: “Dracula 2000”

@BizarreVictoria and I watched the dreadful Gerard Butler vampire flick ‘Dracula 2000’. There was booze, and swearing and here is our (spoiler-filled) commentary for your Friday amusement:

BizarreVictoria

As many of you have probably picked up from my Ivanhoe Bad Book Covers post, or seeing me dick around on Twitter, I collaborate a lot with my good friend @VictorianMasculinity (not her real name, but how baller would that be?)

We also have a penchant for watching terrible Victorian-themed films and taking the ever-loving piss out of them, much in the vein of Mystery Science Theater 3000. We realized about a year into our regular movie sessions that these would make amazing blog posts (or self-indulgent, unfunny crap, but hey, let’s give it a go).

Last Friday we had the profound misfortune of watching Dracula 2000 which had SO MANY GOOD ACTORS IN IT that I’m not sure how they fucked it up.

Oh, wait, yes I do: the plot, the script, the directing, the special effects, all the rest of the bargain basement cast, and…

View original post 4,152 more words

Registration now OPEN: ‘Anxious Forms 2016 Masculinities in Crisis in the Long Nineteenth Century’, 28th October, University of Glasgow

We are delighted to announce that  general registration for ‘Anxious Forms 2016: Masculinities in Crisis in the Long Nineteenth Century’ is now open until 3rd October. You can find out more information about the event, our speakers, Glasgow etc. at our websiteContinue reading “Registration now OPEN: ‘Anxious Forms 2016 Masculinities in Crisis in the Long Nineteenth Century’, 28th October, University of Glasgow”

Victorians and their Dogs

After the amazing response to “Victorians and their Cats”
it seemed only fair that the dogs get a look-in too. So here’s my favourite collection of Victorian canines:

1.

Barber Steps
Charles Burton Barber

Elizabeth Bennett decided that, actually, she’d rather found her own internet startup than get married. Mr Darcy is running at full tilt across the lawn and she’s giving him a ten second head start before setting the dogs on him. Continue reading “Victorians and their Dogs”

“Did Victorian Cats Eat Kibble?”

After my previous post on ‘Victorians and their Cats’ I’ve been lucky enough to receive lots of lovely comments from you wonderful people, including one intriguing post by Karl Drobnic asking: “Did Victorians feed their cats kibble? What served for cat-food then?” Well, thinks I, I don’t actually know the answer to this question and as an academic specializing in the nineteenth century THIS MUST NOT STAND! Continue reading ““Did Victorian Cats Eat Kibble?””

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