“Many among us fancy that they have a good general idea of what is English literature. They think of Tennyson and Dickens as the most popular of our living authors. It is a fond delusion, from which they should be aroused. The works of Mr. Pierce Egan are sold by the half million.”
The First British Edition of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “Feathertop” in Home Circle (1852) | Stephen Basdeo
The first British edition of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “Feathertop” in Home Circle in 1852. Hawthorne scholars have previously been unaware of the appearance of “Feathertop” in this magazine.
The Fatal Glove | Stephen Basdeo
At the period when our tale commences, George Hamel had more than fulfilled the great promises his infantine years seemed to afford of future greatness. His attention had been entirely devoted to the study of medicine; and at the age of five and twenty he was considered to be the most eminent physician in Nuremberg. His cousins were two of the most beautiful creatures that ever illumined this earthly sphere. Angiolina, the elder, was tall and stately—with dark blue eyes, light flaxen hair, and a clear complexion in which the white and red seemed to be struggling to decide which should obtain the conquest. Her bust was large and voluptuous—and her waist so thin, it appeared as if two hands could span it. She was a girl of a quick and fiery disposition, of strong passions, and endowed with even a masculine intellect.
The Urban Mysteries: Organised Crime in Victorian Popular Literature | Stephen Basdeo
Stephen Basdeo The Following was a lecture delivered by Stephen Basdeo at Richmond: The American International University on Wednesday 18 November 2020 to students in GEP4180: Organised Crime in Popular Culture. Although […]
A Victorian “Commonplace Book” | Stephen Basdeo
I recently got hold of a “Commonplace Book” which dates from 1859. Commonplace books have been a feature of home life since at least the 1600s. Most often women—though not exclusively women—would compile various poems, drawings, or copy out “advice columns” from books and newspapers into these books for keeping later on.
Playing Robin Hood in the Victorian Nursery
It would have fallen to the lot of a poorly paid Victorian governess to practice playing Robin Hood with children in the nursery.
How Victorians Fell in Love with American Rebels
The British people and the American people did not always like each other. The Americans had broken away from the empire in 1783 and relations remained frosty for over a century. But in the late Victorian era, British writers’ feelings about Americans began to change.
Stephen Carver’s “Author Who Outsold Dickens” (2020): Biography of a Crime Novelist
This book, highly recommended, is an excellent buy for any general reader who wishes to find out about the life of a famous forgotten Victorian crime novelist.
The Working Man’s Robin Hood: The Writings of Allan Cunningham (1784–1842)
In 1832, the publisher Charles Knight had a bright idea: every Saturday he would publish a new magazine which whose aim was to educate working-class readers about their world. It would not contain news, and would therefore be exempt from the Stamp Tax (the much-hated “tax on knowledge”), meaning that its retail price would be very low at only 1d.
Jack Harkaway: The Victorian Harry Potter
The Victorians in many ways were just like us: they enjoyed a good scandal whenever it was reported in the press, they liked both trashy and high-brow entertainment, and like today, they had their popular heroes adored by both adults and children. Let me introduce you to the Harry Potter of the late-Victorian era: Mr Jack Harkaway.
The Politics of Victorian England’s “Vicious Republican”: G. W. M. Reynolds (1814–79)
“I only strive to arouse the grovelling spirit of the industrious millions to a sense of the wrongs under which they labour.”
Pierce Egan’s “Robin Hood Ballads” (1840)
Pierce Egan’s “Robin Hood” was an early Victorian bestseller. In the first edition, Egan also appended a collection of Robin Hood ballads alongside his novel, for which he provided the illustrations.
Robert Louis Stevenson’s “The Black Arrow” (1888)
“I had four blak arrows under my belt, Four for the greefs that I have felt, Four for the number of ill menne, That have opressid me now and then.”
E. L. Blanchard’s “The Mysteries of London” (1849-50)
After G W M Reynolds and Thomas Miller decided to stop writing Victorian crime novel “The Mysteries of London”, E. L. Blanchard took up the narrative with a brand new story with original characters.
Society Gets the Criminals it Deserves: The Resurrection Man from G. W. M. Reynolds’ “The Mysteries of London” (1844-45)
What makes a person commit crime? How does a person become a hardened criminal? These are questions which we ask today and which the Victorians also asked of their society? This post examines G W M Reynolds’ answer to these questions.
The Chartist Robin Hood: Thomas Miller’s “Royston Gower, or, The Days of King John” (1838)
In Thomas Miller’s novel ‘Royston Gower’ (1838), Robin Hood is portrayed as a medieval Chartist activist.
Historic Yorkshire Criminals: William Knipe’s “Criminal Chronology” (1867)
In 1867 William Knipe authored “The Criminal Chronology of York Castle” – the most comprehensive survey of crime in Yorkshire from the medieval period to the Victorian era.
Wat Tyler: 18th- & 19th-Century Literary Afterlives
A brief look at Georgian and Victorian representations of Wat Tyler, the leader of the Peasants’ Revolt of 1381.
The Victorian Underworld
This is the text of a public talk given at Abbey House Museum, Kirkstall, Leeds on 1 March 2015 to complement their Crime and Punishment Exhibition.
Penny Dreadful Illustrations: Edward the Black Prince (1854)
Pierce Egan the Younger (1814-1880) was like the George R. R. Martin of his day. He loved the medieval period,