Archive: "Victorian and Edwardian Literature" Category

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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A Halloween Exhibit of Victorian Publishers’ Bookbindings

A temporary exhibit in Special Collections’ lobby showcases creepy and mysterious book cover designs in time for Halloween. “Thrills and Chills in Cloth” features British and American cloth bookbindings from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. In the late 1880s, book manufacturers developed a process to stamp bookcloth with colored ink. Publishers used this …

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Remembering Charles Dickens

Today marks the 150th anniversary of the death of beloved Victorian writer Charles Dickens. Dickens passed away at his country home in Kent, Gad’s Hill, on Thursday, June 9, 1870, having suffered a stroke the previous evening. He spent the morning of June 8 working on his last (unfinished) novel, The Mystery of Edwin Drood. …

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Sir John Tenniel in Special Collections

Renowned Victorian artist Sir John Tenniel was born this day 200 years ago. Tenniel was formally trained as a painter, but after accepting a job as an illustrator at the prominent English humor magazine, Punch, he found fame as a cartoonist and book illustrator. He produced thousands upon thousands of drawings for the magazine, from …

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Anne Brontë’s Bicentennial

January 17, 2020 marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of poet and novelist Anne Brontë. Anne, the youngest child in the Brontë family, was particularly close to her sister Emily, who was two years older. Anne was too young to attend the Cowan Bridge school where the eldest Brontë girls died (immortalized as Lowood …

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The World of George Eliot

Special Collections is featuring the work of eminent Victorian novelist George Eliot (Marian/Mary Anne Evans) in a small case exhibit celebrating the 200th anniversary of her birth on Nov. 22, 1819. “The World of George Eliot” showcases first editions of her major novels, like Middlemarch, Silas Marner, and The Mill on the Floss. The exhibit …

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