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Finding a Refuge for the Victorian Illustrated Book in the COVE

Much of the joy of teaching a course I designed on “The Victorian Illustrated Book” comes from introducing students to the rare book room at Skidmore College.  Even senior English majors are often surprised to discover that Special Collections exists at a small liberal arts college.  In the rare book room, we study physical books, serials, and prints in the forms they appeared to the Victorians when they were first issued, though some have been rebound or put in archival boxes for safe handling.

The City of the Jugglers

Set in the aftermath of Chartism, the European revolutions of 1848, and the bursting of the railway bubble, William North’s The City of the Jugglers; or, Free-Trade in Souls: A Romance of the “Golden” Age is constructed around the rise and fall of an audacious commercial speculation in human souls, and, with it, England’s reactionary social order.  Punctuated by Carlylean statements of moral outrage, self-regarding authorial footnotes, diverting speculations on matters ranging from monetary policy to the state of modern cookery, repeated panegyrics on the versatile excellence of men-of-letters, and at least three doubled secondary plot lines, the book repeatedly transgresses and thereby calls attention to the formal conventions of the Victorian novel.  This edition of The City of the Jugglers seeks to make this deliberately problematic text both available and accessible to a twenty-first-century audience of students and scholars.  Freed from the market that it excoriates, hopefully North’s self-described “mythical history, magnetic revelation, dream of poetic vanity, incomprehensible cartoon, or whatever else it turn out to be in the eyes of men or angels” can speak to a new generation of “defenders of the people, which we, and we only, represent, in this age of transitions.”

Trooper Peter Halket at Mashonaland

Olive Schreiner's Trooper Peter Halket at Mashonaland (1897) gives voice to one of the most powerful and uncompromising denunciations of imperial violence published in the nineteenth century, and yet the work stands largely unread by students of Victorian literature. The novella, set in Rhodesia under Company Rule, depicts an encounter between a young British soldier lost in the veld and a mysterious Christ-like stranger who transforms his views on colonialism.

Concerning Geffray Teste Noire

THE WATERS OF THE BROAD CANAL SETTLING RING AFTER RING IN HEAVY CIRCULAR RIPPLES (163)

THE WATERS OF THE BROAD CANAL SETTLING RING AFTER RING IN HEAVY CIRCULAR RIPPLES (163) 

The facsimile and viewer below is provided by the HathiTrust. A full-featured version can be found at https://hdl.handle.net/2027/uc2.ark:/13960/t6k075m3z?urlappend=%3Bseq=177.

Illustrations by George Brinsley Sheridan Le Fanu (Le Fanu’s son) to “Strange Event in the Life of Schalken the Painter.”

Illustrations by George Brinsley Sheridan Le Fanu (Le Fanu’s son) to “Strange Event in the Life of Schalken the Painter.” In Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu. The Watcher and Other Weird Stories.With Twenty-one Illustrations [and a Preface] by Brinsley Sheridan Le Fanu. London: Downey, 1894: 126-68. 

The facsimile and viewer below is provided by the HathiTrust. A full-featured version can be found at https://hdl.handle.net/2027/uc2.ark:/13960/t6k075m3z

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