Tag Archives: 1800s

The Ever-Changing State of Literary Criticism

By Larry Trudeau
Larry has been an editor at Gale for over 25 years, and loves doing deep research amid the library stacks. A recent vacation included a day set aside to explore the astonishing Burton Historical Collection at the main branch of the Detroit Public Library.

I was recently reviewing an entry on Charles Dickens’s Great Expectations for an upcoming volume of Nineteenth Century Literary Criticism (NCLC), and was surprised—delighted, really—to see that we were including two reviews of the novel from 1861, the year it was published in book form.

What’s more, there was another article from 1877, in which the reviewer recalled the experience of reading the novel as it came out in weekly installments, between December 1860 and August 1961, in Dickens’s own magazine, All the Year Round. The reviewer, Edwin P. Whipple (how’s that for a good, Victorian-sounding name?), extolled Dickens’s skill at constructing his great novel essentially on the fly, with deadlines constantly looming. “When the novel is read as a whole,” Whipple marveled, “we perceive how carefully the author had prepared us for the catastrophe; but it required feminine sagacity and insight to detect the secret on which the plot turns, as the novel first appeared in weekly parts.” (Feminine sagacity and insight—another echo from another century!) Continue reading

Here Comes the Sun King: finding Louis XIV in State Papers Online

On Wednesday night the BBC premiered Canal+’s lavish new period drama, Versailles. Always a sucker for period dramas, I looked forward to this one especially as I had no idea of the plot beforehand so the drama was a complete surprise, and I had very fond memories of a trip to the real Versailles as a student. Home of Louis XIV, the Sun King, Versailles was the seat of French government for most of the 18th Century, and if the TV show is to be believed, was the centre of much political intrigue.

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“The Great Binge”

by Seth Cayley
Seth Cayley is the Director of Research Publishing at Gale International, a part of Cengage Learning. He and his team are responsible for commissioning and creating Gale’s award-winning digital archive products.

Can cocaine really cure sea-sickness? Something tells me that very little peer-reviewed research has been done on the subject in recent years. But that didn’t stop the Victorians. From around 1870-1915 a large number of narcotics, including heroin, were widely and legally available, and often packaged as medicines. Historians have dubbed this period before the first international drug control treaties as “The Great Binge”.
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Data Mining Image

Supporting Your Local Data Miner

By: Dr. Dallas Liddle, Associate Professor and Chair of English, Augsburg College

Marshall McLuhan is supposed to have said that “the content of a new medium is always an old medium.” He intended the observation as wry cultural criticism, but as a literary historian I am grateful every day that so many new research media are now brimming with the contents of great past media: newsstands, theatres, libraries, music halls, stereopticons, and magic lantern shows. Lately I have started to hope that the benefits of these research tools may go far beyond the convenience of having so many original texts, images, and artifacts instantly available. New methods of “data-mining” using database archives, if we do them creatively and well, may help researchers better understand how the old media forms themselves worked and developed.
The hope grows from recent experience. I started “data mining” the Gale Times Digital Archive not long ago, after struggling for nearly twenty years with questions about Victorian newspapers that traditional archival research had been unable to answer. Continue reading

Race & Gender in the Carceral State

By Jen Manion
Jen Manion, Ph.D., is Associate Professor of History and Director of the LGBTQ Resource Center at Connecticut College. Manion is author of Liberty’s Prisoners: Carceral Culture in Early America (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2015) and co-editor of Taking Back the Academy: History of Activism, History as Activism (Routledge, 2004). Jen has also published essays in Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, Journal of the Early Republic, TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly, and Radical History Review. 

Crime, Punishment, and Popular Culture, 1790-1920 is a trove of material for scholars and students interested in the history of gender, gender expression, and sexuality. Criminal accounts provide an illustrative window into the culture of the time by highlighting the lives, actions, and motives of those who crossed the line of so-called acceptable behavior. Women’s participation in illicit activities such as theft, robbery, assault, or murder were generally sensationalized in both trial and newspaper records, giving such accounts a sexual tinge no matter how seemingly mundane. The range of source material—from newspaper accounts to trial manuscripts to organizational records to sensational dime novels—allows readers to approach a singular topic from different perspectives. Historians can examine the treatment of people along lines of race, class, and gender, or chart changes in such regulations over time. Continue reading

Charlotte-Bronte1

Happy Birthday Charlotte Brontë!

April 21st would be Charlotte Brontë’s 200th birthday. As Jane Eyre is my favourite book and as a fan of Brontë’s in general, I jumped at the chance to do a little research on her and her work. I knew that some letters of Brontë’s had been published in The Times in the early 20th century, so I used those and Elizabeth Gaskell’s biography (both available via Gale Artemis: Primary Sources) to do a little digging. Having read Jane Eyre every year for the past 20 or so years I thought I knew everything there was to know about its history, but I was a little surprised by some of the things I found out…

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Packing a Punch in Colonial Australia

With Australian Heritage Week nearly upon us (16 – 24 April), the following is a post concerning a particular perspective of Australian colonial history, being a perspective that can be researched in detail with Gale Primary Sources collections. It concerns Australia’s paradoxical relationship with England since 1788, as reflected within the pages of London’s Punch magazine and its Australian editions – most of which can be seen in Gale Primary Sources collections, Punch Historical Archive, 1841 – 1992  and 19th Century UK Periodicals. Continue reading

Tiradentes in Brazilian and Portuguese History and Culture: The Oliveira Lima Library

By Lourdes Mena
I have a degree in marketing and have experience as a university lecturer. I joined Gale in 2012 as Marketing Manager for Latin America. My role in Gale has allowed me to develop my twin passions: design and research. I enjoy the opportunity of putting these at the service of the academic community.

On 21 April, Brazil celebrates the Tiradentes Day, commemorating the anniversary of the death of Joaquim Jose da Silva Xavier (1792), considered by many to be the first martyr of the Republic of Brazil. But who is this man, who only began to be considered a national hero a century after his death? To find out more, we take a look through Brazilian and Portuguese History and Culture: The Oliveira Lima Library, one of the finest collections of Luso-Brazilian materials available to scholars. Continue reading

Rogue Bras to Bogarts: April Fool’s Day in the Media

As I sat down to write a blog post for April 1st, I considered composing something creative, bizarre and downright untrue – as is tradition on April Fool’s Day. Perhaps I should explain that William Shakespeare will now appear in Gale’s Biography in Context as Wally Shakespoon, because it was the great bard’s given name before his publisher recommended he assumed a pen name with more grandeur and authority…Or maybe that State Papers Online will soon include Queen Victoria’s architectural plans to install a hot-tub in Buckingham Palace? My fascination for how and where this humorous tradition originated got the better of me, however, and I decided instead to root around the (real!) Gale resources to find out more about the origins and history of what many of us now call ‘April Fool’s Day’. It quickly became apparent that the answer is somewhat elusive. Not only are there numerous possibilities to negotiate, some explanations were pranks in themselves. Continue reading