Archive: "Victorian and Edwardian Literature" Category

Middlemarch

This week marks the 150th anniversary of the appearance of the first installment of George Eliot’s Middlemarch, A Study of Provincial Life. Often considered to be one of the greatest novels in English literature, Middlemarch was serialized in eight parts between December 1871 and December 1872. Middlemarch originated from two different writing projects which Eliot …

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Gothic novels and other tales of terror

Looking for some Halloween reading suggestions? We bring you a grim and grisly new addition to the Victorian Collection: the 1847 anonymous Gothic novel The Mysterious Avenger. Issued by a Yorkshire publisher, this cheaply produced “penny dreadful” features everything a reader might expect in a modern horror thriller. Spooky locales? Sinister characters? The supernatural? Revenge? …

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A Halloween exhibit

From October 13-31, Special Collections reprises the “Thrills and Chills in Cloth” exhibit for Halloween. It features some particularly spooky 19th and 20th century books from our Rare American Literature and Victorian and Edwardian collections. The exhibit demonstrates how British and American book designers took advantage of new technologies to stamp full-color images into cloth …

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New acquisitions in British Literature: 19th century literary periodicals

In 19th century England, periodicals were a popular and cost-effective way for readers to gain access to literary material, whether prose or fiction. Special Collections actively adds new periodicals and serials to the Victorian and other British literary collections. Here are two recent acquisitions featuring the work of major 19th century literary figures: The Friend …

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Sir Richard Francis Burton

Today marks the 200th birthday of preeminent Victorian explorer, and prolific author, Sir Richard Francis Burton (1821-1890). Burton had an amazing aptitude for languages and for blending in with foreign cultures, which he honed as a young English army officer. He served as an interpreter and spy in India, where he learned Arabic, Persian, and …

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New Acquisitions: 19th Century Women Travel Writers

March is Women’s History Month, and today we examine three recent acquisitions of travel narratives written by women. A Narrative of the Life and Travels of Mrs. Nancy Prince (1853). Nancy Gardner Prince was a free-born African-American woman from Massachusetts. She traveled to Russia with her husband, Nero Prince, who worked for several years as …

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Darwin’s Descent of Man

On this day 150 years ago, 24 February 1871, Charles Darwin’s The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex was published by John Murray. On the Origin of Species had appeared 12 years earlier, introducing Darwin’s theory of evolution; with The Descent of Man, Darwin took the theory to its next logical conclusion …

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Detectives in “The Strand”

Detective fiction was growing in popularity when London publisher George Newnes decided to launch a new magazine in 1890. The very first issue, dated January 1891, led with the detective story “A Deadly Dilemma” by Canadian author Grant Allen. Over the next six decades, The Strand Magazine would feature a host of fictional sleuths, most …

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