Royal Holloway 19thC Reading Group: Meeting Thursday 18th November

November 12, 2010 at 12:00 pm (General Victoriana)

This is to announce the next (and first for this academic year!) meeting of the .

Thursday 18th November 2pm-3pm IN244

Text for discussion: ‘Introduction’ to Andrew Miller’s The Burdens of Perfection: On Ethics and Reading in Nineteenth-Century British Literature. Ithaca: Cornell UP, 2008. (I will post a .pdf of the reading to the Reading Group webpage.)

As always, all postgraduates (taught and research) and staff are welcome to attend.

For those of you who are new to the Department, the group meets twice a term to discuss nominated texts which contribute in interesting ways to current critical debates in the field of nineteenth-century studies. Postgraduates and staff who are not nineteenth-century specialists, but who have some interest in the broader themes/debates involved in the set text or in nineteenth-century topics generally, are very welcome to join us.

Best wishes,


Dr Vicky Greenaway

Lecturer in Nineteenth-Century Literature
Royal Holloway, University of London
Egham, Surrey, TW20 0EX
Tel: 01784 276423


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April 7, 2010 at 4:13 pm (Uncategorized)

Just to let you all know, I’ve sent round an email outlining the three internships that MA Victorian students can apply for this year. The deadline for applications is April 26th, so do check your RHUL email accounts for further details. And look – I’ve finally used the blog! There will be no stopping me now. Watch out for a notice about readings for our meeting on the 29th April next.
all best

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Victorian London Core Course Week 9

March 10, 2010 at 2:03 pm (Uncategorized)

I am very late getting this information to you I realize. I have been ill and got behind, and I do apologize. As it happens, for this week’s class on ‘City of Glass’ much of the reading will be done in a workshop session in class, on passages that you do not have to read ahead of the class. However if you do have time before tomorrow’s evening class, I should like you to read Thomas Hardy’s short story ‘The Fiddler of the Reels’, which takes place at the time of the Great Exhibition, and at times actually in the Crystal Palace, and a short journalistic piece by Dickens from ‘Household Words’, available online (just google the title) ‘On Duty with Inspector Field’. ‘The Fiddler of the Reels’ is not so readily available online unfortunately. I will get into the office early Thursday morning, photocopy the story and place it in the perspex box on the wall outside my office (IN205) in case you have some time to read it in the day before class. But I will perfectly understand if you do not have time to do this. The story is often available in collections of Hardy’s short stories and originally appeared in his volume of stories entitled ‘Life’s Little Ironies’ which is available in the library. Some helpful secondary reading would be Isobel Armstrong’s book ‘Victorian Glassworlds’ which I believe many of you know from the Victorian Reading Group last term. I look forward to seeing you tomorrow. NOTE: Irene Bittles fro Founder’s Library has just emailed me a link she found to ‘Fiddler of the Reels’ in Scribner’s Magazine: her message and the link is as follows:

Here’s another site, which hosts digitized versions of historical periodicals, including selected issues of Scribner’s Magazine (1887 – 1896), which appears to include the required story:;cc=scri;rgn=full%20text;idno=scri0013-4;didno=scri0013-4;view=image;seq=609;node=scri0013-4%3A27;page=root;size=s;frm=frameset;

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March 8, 2010 at 9:34 am (Core Course, Uncategorized)

A pendant to the Doré post (and seminar), via Selena, who notes a potentially interesting, and relevant, exhibition at the Tate Modern (she adds: ‘I don’t know anything about the exhibition beyond the website so it might be a very weak link… but the Southbank is always good for a stroll even if the exhibition is pants – and it’s free!’). Here’s the revelant exhibition link. And here’s the nub:

Martin Karlsson: London – An Imagery
3 March – 31 December 2010
About | Visiting information
Free Entry
Outside Tate Modern at Holland Street
To celebrate the beginning of the works for Tate Modern’s new building, Swedish artist Martin Karlsson has created a project on the 100-metre hoarding that encloses the works. London – An Imagery 2008–9 takes as its starting point Gustave Doré’s gothic etchings published in 1872.
Karlsson updates this portrait of the city and its inhabitants. [AR]

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Gustave Doré

March 4, 2010 at 12:38 pm (Core Course)

Doré today: or more specifically, Doré’s images of London from London: a Pilgrimage (1872). There’s no advance preparation necessary for this evening’s class; we’ll be looking at and reading some of the man’s more famous images. But if you wanted to take it further, there are a couple of interesting resources. W. H. Herendeen’s ‘The Doré Controversy: Doré, Ruskin, and Victorian Taste’ (Victorian Studies, 25: 3 (1982), 305-327) is good on his complex contemporary reputation; though he argues ‘The current view of him as the iconographer of the period is simple-minded and distorts our appreciation of both the artist and the age. The proliferation of reprints of his work and their use as a visual aid in teaching nineteenty-century literature promotes this longstanding and simplistic image of the artist.’ Gulp. Let’s agree not to do that this evening. Gustave Doré by Millicent Rose is very old (1947; reviewed here) but still useful. And Nancy Aycock Metz’s ‘Little Dorrit’s London: Babylon Revisited’, Victorian Studies, 33: 3 (1990), 465-486) links Doré’s representation of London to Dickens’s novel in passing. [AR]

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December 9, 2009 at 9:00 am (Core Course)

For this Thursday’s core-course class (the last of this term) we will be discussing Millais’ lovely painting ‘Mariana’ (1851). By way of preparation it would make sense to (a) have a look at the picture, there; and (b) read the Tennyson poem, ‘Mariana’, upon which it is based. If you’re feeling keen, have a look at Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure, from which play Tennyson took the character of Mariana.

Also useful is this (not very long) introductory piece by Andrew Leng about Millais’ picture: check that out too. But mostly, look carefully at the painting.

[Note: Leng mentions Ruskin’s 1878 essay ‘Three Colours of Pre-Raphaelitism’; you can find this online in several places, if you’re interested. Google books have it here (the Millais stuff starts on p.334 right at the bottom: Ruskin’s section 244).

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Aestheticism visuals – Swinburne

December 2, 2009 at 3:37 pm (Uncategorized)

Dear Aesthetes,

The artworks that accompany this week’s texts are the Hellenistic statue of Hermpahrodite in the Louvre and Whistler’s ‘The Little White Girl: Symphony in White No.2’ (1864).

Images of both of these can be found in an archive post from last year – click on Aestheticism (under Categories in the right-hand toolbar) and scroll down until you find the Swinburne entry.

I look forward to hearing what you make of Algie (or Algae, as the Modernists liked to call him),


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Aestheticism & Decadence reading: Rossetti

November 20, 2009 at 4:48 pm (Uncategorized)

Dear Aesthetes,

I will bring excerpts from Hollander’s criticism to class, so you don’t need to hunt him up for yourselves (unless you’re interested, and do go ahead if so – the books I will be talking about are Vision and Resonance: two senses of poetic form and The Gazer’s Sprit: poems speaking to silent works of art.

DO look up the set Rossetti texts (paintings and poems) on The Rossetti Archive online. Texts are available from a list of subheadings at

If your interest is stimulated, have a look at a few more of the ‘Double Works’ (works that appear as both paintings and poems) under that particular subheading – we can talk about these in class also. I’m going to see if I can book us a room with technology for the second hour so we can work with the Archive during our discussion – so make a note of any works that particularly interest you, and we can look them up on the day.

All best, and get in touch if you have any questions,


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Aestheticism and Decadence reading Wk 7

November 9, 2009 at 4:34 pm (Uncategorized)

Dear All,

I look forward to meeting you this week and beginning our ‘Poetry and Painting’ segment of the Aestheticism course.

The Tennyson texts are easy to get hold of; there is an online copy of Arnold’s 1853 Preface at

Best wishes and see you on Thursday,


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Tonight! (Monday 9th Nov): George Eliot and the Classics

November 9, 2009 at 10:40 am (Uncategorized)

Tonight is the annual Dabis lecture at 6pm in the Windsor Auditorium Main Lecture Theatre. Dr Margaret Reynolds (QMW) will speak on ‘George Eliot and the Classics.’ Reynolds is always interesting, and good value, and admittance is free: why not go along? [AR]

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