When the term 'dinosaur' was coined in 1842, it referred to fragmentary British fossils. In subsequent decades, American discoveries—including Brontosaurus and Triceratops—proved that these so-called 'terrible lizards' were in fact hardly lizards at all. By the 1910s 'dinosaur' was a household word. Reimagining Dinosaurs in Late Victorian and Edwardian Literature approaches the hitherto unexplored fiction and popular journalism that made this scientific term a meaningful one to huge transatlantic readerships. Unlike previous scholars, who have focused on displays in American museums, Richard Fallon argues that literature was critical in turning these extinct creatures into cultural icons. Popular authors skilfully related dinosaurs to wider concerns about empire, progress, and faith; some of the most prominent, like Arthur Conan Doyle and Henry Neville Hutchinson, also disparaged elite scientists, undermining distinctions between scientific and imaginative writing. The rise of the dinosaurs thus accompanied fascinating transatlantic controversies about scientific authority.
Casting fresh light on late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century British art, literature, ecological science and paganism, Decadent Ecology reveals the pervasive influence of decadence and paganism on modern understandings of nature and the environment, queer and feminist politics, national identities, and changing social hierarchies. Combining scholarship in the environmental humanities with aesthetic and literary theory, this interdisciplinary study digs into works by Simeon Solomon, Algernon Swinburne, Walter Pater, Robert Louis Stevenson, Vernon Lee, Michael Field, Arthur Machen and others to address trans-temporal, trans-species intimacy; the vagabondage of place; the erotics of decomposition; occult ecology; decadent feminism; and neo-paganism. Decadent Ecology reveals the mutually influential relationship of art and science during the formulation of modern ecological, environmental, evolutionary and trans-national discourses, while also highlighting the dissident dynamism of new and recuperative pagan spiritualities - primarily Celtic, Nordic-Germanic, Greco-Roman and Egyptian - in the framing of personal, social and national identities.
Drawing on an ambitious range of interdisciplinary material, including literature, musical treatises and theoretical texts, Music and the Queer Body explores the central place music held for emergent queer identities in the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries. Canonical writers such as Walter Pater, E. M. Forster and Virginia Woolf are discussed alongside lesser-known figures such as John Addington Symonds, Vernon Lee and Arthur Symons. Engaging with a number of historical case studies, Fraser Riddell pays particular attention to the significance of embodiment in queer musical subcultures and draws on contemporary queer theory and phenomenology to show how writers associate music with shameful, masochistic and anti-humanist subject positions. Ultimately, this study reveals how literary texts at the fin de siècle invest music with queer agency: to challenge or refuse essentialist identities, to facilitate re-conceptions of embodied subjectivity, and to present alternative sensory experiences of space and time. This title is also available as Open Access on Cambridge Core.
Vagrants were everywhere in Victorian culture. They wandered through novels and newspapers, photographs, poems and periodicals, oil paintings and illustrations. They appeared in a variety of forms in a variety of places: Gypsies and hawkers tramped the country, casual paupers and loafers lingered in the city, and vagabonds and beachcombers roved the colonial frontiers. Uncovering the rich Victorian taxonomy of nineteenth-century vagrancy for the first time, this interdisciplinary study examines how assumptions about class, gender, race and environment shaped a series of distinct vagrant types. At the same time it broaches new ground by demonstrating that rural and urban conceptions of vagrancy were repurposed in colonial contexts. Representational strategies circulated globally as well as locally, and were used to articulate shifting fantasies and anxieties about mobility, poverty and homelessness. These are traced through an extensive corpus of canonical, ephemeral and popular texts as well as a variety of visual forms.
In the long nineteenth century, scientists discovered striking similarities between how birds learn to sing and how children learn to speak. Tracing the 'science of birdsong' as it developed from the 'ingenious' experiments of Daines Barrington to the evolutionary arguments of Charles Darwin, Francesca Mackenney reveals a legacy of thought which informs, and consequently affords fresh insights into, a canonical group of poems about birdsong in the Romantic and Victorian periods. With a particular focus on the writings of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, the Wordsworth siblings, John Clare and Thomas Hardy, her book explores how poets responded to an analogy which challenged definitions of language and therefore of what it means to be human. Drawing together responses to birdsong in science, music and poetry, her distinctive interdisciplinary approach challenges many of the long-standing cultural assumptions which have shaped (and continue to shape) how we respond to other creatures in the Anthropocene.
Conversing in Verse considers poems of conversation from the late eighteenth into the twentieth centuries – the very period when a more restrictive conception of poetry as the lyric product of the poet's solitary self-communing became entrenched. With fresh insight, Elizabeth Helsinger addresses a range of questions at the core of conversational poetry: When and why do poets turn to conversation to explore poetry's potential? How do conversation's forms and intentions shape the figures, rhythms, and prosody of poems to alter the reader's experience? What are the ethical and political stakes of conversing in verse? Coleridge, Clare, Landor, Tennyson, Robert Browning, Christina and Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Swinburne, Michael Field, and Hardy each composed poems that open difficult or impossible conversations with phenomena outside themselves. Helsinger unearths an unfamiliar lyric history that produced some of the most interesting formal experiments of the nineteenth century, including its best known, the dramatic monologue.