Hybrid faiths, occult religions, and esoteric beliefs: a review of Spirit Matters and The Occult Imagination in Britain

I was lucky enough to review two texts on nineteenth- and early twentieth-century spirituality for the British Association of Victorian Studies’ newsletter. They explore how Mesmerism, Spiritualism, occultism, and non-Christian religions such as Buddhism provided means for people from this era to reconcile old faith with the theological and philosophical challenges of modernity. I can […]

James Henry Pullen: Inmate, Inventor, Genius

On Friday, I finally managed to visit Inmate, Inventor, Genius, the Watts Gallery’s exhibition showcasing the life and work of asylum artist James Henry Pullen (1835-1916). This was a fascinating exhibition which demonstrated the artist’s incredible creative talent and technical skill while sensitively contextualising his practice with his institutionalisation. Pullen created ‘extraordinary designs, gigantic articulated […]

A Review of The Way of All Flesh

[This story was published on September 3, 2018, on the BAVS Neo-Victorian blog. Read the original story at victorianist.wordpress.com/2018/09/03/review-of-the-way-of-all-flesh-by-ambrose-perry.] A detailed and often macabre tale blending historical reality with fictional drama, Ambrose Parry’s The Way of All Flesh is set in a evocative rendition of 1840s Edinburgh. The novel follows nineteen year old medical student Will Raven, who […]

Hidden histories and family drama: a review of Loves, Lives, and Letters

[This story was published on July 24, 2018, on the BAVS Neo-Victorian blog. Read the original story at victorianist.wordpress.com/2018/07/24/hidden-histories-and-family-drama-review-of-lives-loves-and-letters.] – Lives, Loves and Letters: The Goring Family of Wiston, Sussex, 1743-1905 is a book with a peculiar origin story. The publication came about following the discovery of a wooden box, labelled Wiston Estate, containing nearly 400 letters, […]

Report: Nineteenth-Century Matters, Public Engagement Training Day

[This story was published on February 6 on the BAVS Neo-Victorian blog. Read the original story at victorianist.wordpress.com/2017/02/06/report-nineteenth-century-matters.] On January 28, Chawton House Library in Hampshire hosted the Nineteenth-Century Matters Public Engagement Training Day. The event was sponsored by the British Association for Romantic Studies (BARS) jointly with the British Association for Victorian Studies (BAVS), and was […]

Satire and people spotting in Victorian Hastings

If you wanted to know the local lowdown in Hastings during the mid 1800s, then the Gossiping Photographer was your man. Francis Frith published his book The Gossiping Photographer at Hastings in 1864, which he both authored and illustrated with his own photographs. The titlepage of the book features several images, including crinoline-clad ladies sitting on the beach at Hastings in front […]

The Living and the Dead: You Will Reap What You Sow

[This story was published on January 6 on the BAVS Neo-Victorian blog. Read the original story at victorianist.wordpress.com/2017/01/06/neo-victorian-review-the-living-and-the-dead-you-will-reap-what-you-sow.] In previous posts on The Living and the Dead, I have discussed how tensions between different worlds – old and new, religious and scientific, ‘real’ and ghostly – have been explored by the programme through its characters and themes. […]