October 27, 2016

Thursday group reading on representations

Please could you read the following:

James - Ascari

Yetunde - Carter Wood

Zoe - Chapman/Hilton

Izzy - Emsley

Amie - Godfrey

Louisa - one or more of the King articles

Abi - Mangham

Aksana - McDonagh

Aleemat - Pittard

Oliver R-J - Shpayer-Makiv

Mikka - Knight

Charlotte - one of the Pykett texts

Blessing - Worthington

Oliver B - Trodd

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  1. Aleema Salami

    • “Cheap, Heathful Literature”
    o It’s about the Strand magazine, the sociological model of “new puritanism” and how it can be used to analyze the nature of the Strand
    o How the Strand “purified” experience, especially in the “supposedly threatening realm of crime narratives”
    o The concept of “the reading community” as crucial to the developments in the study of Victorian periodicals and serial fiction
    • What was the Strand?
    o By George Newnes in Christmas 1980
    • Saw a gap in the market for “a monthly which would reflect the interests of an aspirational middle class through a wide range of fiction, interviews, articles, and illustrations, sold mostly at railway station stands to catch a market of city commuters”
    • He often describes his publications in the context if his readers health, very often describing his periodicals as “wholesome”
    • There was also an emphasis on community
    • The Fetishisation of Order
    o Richard Sennett Analysis
    • “The creation of community implies a certain purifying instinct, and to develop this he analyses a social formation he terms “purified community.” This structure arises out of an individual’s adolescent identity crisis, which is resolved by the adoption of a purifying drive which gives precedence to the ordered over the disordered and painful”
    • Richard Sennett: “Experience over the course of time is subjected to a purification process, so that the threatening or painful dissonances are warded off to preserve intact a clear and articulated image of oneself and one’s place in the world.”
    • This achieves an avoidance of disorder through a form of delusion over ones experiences
    • The purified identity acts to not only avoid the risk to self-identity but belief that outcomes of the risks are already known
    o This is what Sennett terms “the fetishisation of order”
    • Because it leads to an overreaction when disorder does actually appear
    • And Sennett gives the example of when localised upheavals in a city ghetto causes panic in another remote area
    • What is the model of new puritanism?
    o This phenomena is what Sennett terms the “new puritanism”
    o Sennett believes that the community is a paradoxical notion
    • Creating an image of solidarity in order for one to avoid dealing with each other but social contact is seen as potentially disruptive to self identity
    • People in society convince themselves that they are already interacting with each other simply by being a part of the same category or social arena

    02 Nov 2016, 12:07

  2. Aleema Salami

    • How is this “new puritanism” applied to the Strand?
    o To read The Strand, was to experience the city
    • Although read by everyone it as “a peculiarly urban artefact”
    o Newnes: “it is through the Strand (street in London) itself that the tide of life flows fullest and strongest and deepest”
    • So he intended his magazine the Strand to be a sampling of “the tide”
    • The cover a picture of the Strand (street) in London from pedestrian level
    o Lynda Nead identified two modes of vision in the modern city
    • The panoptic view from above: “turns the heterogeneous world of the city into a text; it renders complexity legible and comprehensible”
    • The pedestrian perspective: “disorganised and improvised”
    • It is “a space of resistance, which defies the attempts of the planners and improvers to discipline the contingencies of everyday life.”
    o Spatial renderings and detective fiction
    • These ideas of spatial renderings were one of the debates that “fascinated Victorian detective fiction, that between ordered design and untidy contingency”
    • The cover of the Strand magazine belonged to the “untidies contingency” of the pedestrian perspective
    • “Part of this “tide of life” was crime, or more accurately the fear of crime”
    o Despite crime, particularly theft, falling in the later 19th century, the fear of crime was a palpable phenomenon
    • For example “the hysterical middle-class fear of burglary was ruthlessly satirised by Punch”
    o “If the Strand Magazine was to be a sampling of the tide of life Newnes perceived in the geographical Strand, its journalistic counterpart could therefore not afford to ignore criminality”
    • “Newnes did not want to fuel crime scares, but at the same time the Strand did little to take its readers’ minds off the subject. Fictional detection and articles on crime were included in virtually every number of the 1890s. The first issue featured an article on “A Night with the Thames Police,” while in the second number, Grant Allen contributed the Strand’s first detective story, “Jerry Stokes,” inaugurating what would become the Strand’s symbiotic relationship with that genre”

    02 Nov 2016, 12:08

  3. Aleema Salami

    o A short series in the magazine in 1894 “Crime and Criminals” had a disclaimer:
    • “It is not intended that the series of articles we propose publishing in these pages under the above title should in any way give rise to alarm, or be an incentive to disturbed and restless nights. On the other hand, a better knowledge of how crimes are concocted and ultimately carried into effect may, perhaps, provide a course of much-needed lessons usually omitted in one’s early education”
    • “Crime and Criminals” focused on crime against property and this interested the middle class but “elided the sensational territory of crime enacted upon the body”
    • “Thieves v. Locks and Safes” removed the interaction between the burglars and the owners and instead focused on the “battle” between the criminal and the technologies of security used to keep them out
    o The detective series, however, had the largest presence than any other genre
    • Stories by Arthur Morrison, Grant Allen, L. T. Meade, Robert Eustace, Dick Donovan and most famous Arthur Conan Doyle
    • The Sherlock Holmes stories played a large role in the Strand’s success, The Hound of the Baskervilles (1902) gave the strand an added sales of 30,000
    • “New Puritanism” and Detectives
    o Sennett’s “new puritanism” is perfectly expressed in detective fiction
    • “As a genre which not only privileges order and rejects disorder out of hand, but which presents its readers with recognisable and comfortable narrative models through the serial format published in the Strand”
    • “The epistemological structure of the detective story parallels Sennett’s model of delusional experience, and when he argues that “making things coherent means imagining they are known and understood by the simple act of an individual’s will,” it is not difficult to cast the fictional detective in the role of the individual whose actions make sense of everything”
    • “The solution of a mystery is revealed not because every alternative is worked through, but because it only appears as if they have. It is accepted as the account of what happened, and given authority because it (falsely) seems that all alternatives have been dismissed”
    • “As Holmes repeatedly said in the pages of the Strand, “When you have dismissed the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.”
    • “For Sennett, it only appears that we have dismissed the impossible, a delusion caused by our conviction that those alternatives will be painfully disordered”
    • Rosemary Jann: “Holmes’s power is based on a method of character interpretation which makes “what is only possible seem inevitable”
    • “Victorian detective fiction is, to use Sennett’s terms, a puritan genre”
    o It can then be considered that the Sherlock Holmes series’ were actually a way to suppress sensation in order to provide healthy reading and purify the crime narrative
    o “This is not true of the two early novels, of which A Study in Scarlet is particularly bloody. Such a change was necessary for the short stories to be included in the Strand, and was not only imposed by Newnes, but also by Doyle himself. As Peter McDonald points out, Doyle’s “response to such concerns was to adopt a set of self-imposed rules that were intended primarily to pre-empt criticism of this kind and to protect his own literary reputation.”
    • Watson’s flinging of the “yellow back novel” full of sensationalist crime fiction onto the floor in favour of contemplating the mystery he and Holmes were trying to solve in The Boscombe Valley Mystery can be seen as Doyle’s rejection of this type of sensationalist crime genre, and the superiority of his tales in comparison
    o The contents of the Holmes stories were as Newnes wanted: “healthy” crime narratives, compared to the controversial and “unhealthy” sensation novel or penny dreadful”

    02 Nov 2016, 12:08

  4. Aleema Salami

    • “New Puritanism” and The Strand’s Illustrations
    o “The role of illustrations is crucial to an understanding of how the Strand policed its reading community since for Newnes, illustrations were not merely an adjunct to the text, but an important feature of the magazine”
    • Stuart Sillars: “the images all perform important functions in expanding the reader’s awareness, so that they work with the verbal text to produce a single mixed discourse which in some cases is not of inconsiderable complexity in ideology and social or moral function”
    • The illustrations worked by “obscuring or fracturing detail rather than revealing it” which was crucial to maintaining the “cheap, healthful literature”
    • “The illustrations thus act to reinforce the suppression of sensationalism desired by Doyle and Newnes”

    02 Nov 2016, 12:09

  5. The Fact and Fiction of Darwinism: The Representation of Race, Ethnicity and Imperialism in the Sherlock Holmes Stories of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle Hilary A. Goldsmith

    • the relationship between the detective fiction genre and scientific discourse remains relatively unexplored
    • scholarship examining the relationship between race, Darwinism and detective fiction is still virtually non-existent
    • Through his exploration of the character of the aboriginal Tonga in The Sign of Four, Conan Doyle demonstrates how racial stereotyping is wholly misleading, race being no indication of character
    • While Darwin suggested that some of the races of man are less developed than others, Conan Doyle shows that the imposition of colonial rule over less advanced races does no good to either the colonised or the colonisers
    • Darwin
    • In 1871, Darwin published The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex in which he extended the principles of his evolutionary theory first posited in The Origin of Species to offer an account of the origins of man himself
    • Key thing: all living beings are linked to one another through a chain of increasing complexity stretching from “some one primordial form, into which life was first breathed
    • one of Darwin’s prime achievements was to support intellectual reasoning with concrete examples collected from the observation of living specimens
    • Darwin’s theory contended that each group of animals showed an advance over those directly below it through modification of the smallest detail of its anatomy
    • Darwin concluded that the races of man should not be considered as separate species, but as sub-species
    o Darwin did recognise similarities between different races’ physical and mental characteristics, and referring to sub-species of man as ‘barbarians’
    o Darwin noted that “the civilised races of man will almost certainly exterminate and replace throughout the world the savage races”
    o Darwin states that “there can hardly be a doubt that we are descended from barbarians”
    • Connection to Holmes
    • This concept of interconnectedness is not only fundamental to Darwin’s theory, but also underpins Holmes’s “Science of Deduction”.
    • It is also unsurprising that ideas about race would filter into detective fiction.
    • both Holmes and Darwin required physical evidence as well as intellectual power to form their hypotheses
    • Holmes, like Darwin, contended that “all life is a great chain, the nature of which is known whenever we are shown a single link of it”
    • Holmes similarly recognises that a wealth of difference can be encompassed within that which is man, implying that while individuals demonstrate considerable variety one from another, mankind taken as a whole exhibits within its membership far more similarities than differences

    02 Nov 2016, 13:56

  6. • The Sign of Four 1890
    • 4 people commit a murder during a theft, convicted and imprisoned on Andaman Islands where British Major Sholto are in command.
    • During his captivity, Small (1 for the four men) came across a sick native Andaman islander named Tonga and nursed him back to health. Tonga helps Small escape.
    • Holmes and Watson discover that Small and Tonga have hired a boat in which they plan to escape with the treasure. Chased by a police boat, they are trapped. Tonga is shot dead and Small captured.
    • Through an exploration of Tonga’s character and role, Conan Doyle addresses the comparative moral and social qualities of white and so-called “lower” races.
    • Conan Doyle gives Tonga no direct voice, Small gets lots.
    • Tonga’s lack of a voice is not suggestive of a limited intellect, but rather of its suppression and, arguably, of the oppression of his race by those supposedly more intellectually advanced.
    • In chapter 3 of The Descent of Man, Darwin discusses the moral sense, noting “the low morality of savages” and cited an example where “the robbery of strangers is considered honourable”.
    o But in book white British Small is the one doing the initial robbery so immoral action is not just for ‘lower races’
    • Darwin also considers weak-will and greed as characteristics of the “lower races”
    o Small’s weak-will and greed ease his persuasion into collaboration to theft – so can also be behaviour demonstrated by ‘civilised races’
    • Tonga’s aiding and befriending of Small contradicts Darwin’s assertion that “savages” enjoy witnessing the distress of strangers and only help members of their own tribe
    • Darwin extends his assertion that the “lower races” are faithful only to their own tribe, further noting that “most savages are utterly indifferent to the sufferings of strangers”.
    o But Tonga gives his own life to save that of his white friend
    • Conan Doyle shows that moral sense cannot be linked to race.
    • Darwin frequently states the importance of sympathy, fidelity and courage between members of the same tribe to the preservation of that tribe.
    o Tonga, however, has progressed a stage further than this, for his devotion is to Small, a member of the race who is set on eliminating, or at least controlling his own.
    o Tonga’s allegiance to Small, because he saved his life, outweighs his fear and prejudice against a white man whose race has mistreated and misused his own, almost to the point of extinction.
    • The Adventure of the Speckled Band 1892
    • Roylott character had success and his elevated position in India – were arguably achieved and maintained through exploitation of the indigenous population. He has an Indian butler: the natives are reduced to a servile role. Roylott’s house is robbed, probably as a result of native resentment of his wealth and position acquired at their expense. Apparently provoked by these robberies, Roylott beat his “native butler” to death and “returned to England a morose and disappointed man”
    o Roylott gets more ferocious and mental state deters
    o The book demonstrates that the influence of the Indian colony is then to be feared. Its morals, represented by the thefts by natives, together with the tropical heat, threaten the sanity of Roylott, causing him to metaphorically revert to a lower form

    02 Nov 2016, 13:56

  7. Abi Wren

    Mangham – Violent women and sensation fiction : crime, medicine and Victorian popular culture

    • 25 October 1849, The Times suggested that the upcoming trial of Maria and Fredrick Manning would be one of the most important of the century.
    • Mannings had been found guilty of murdering Patrick O’Connor and putting his corspe under the floor boards of the kitchen.
    • At their trial, focus was laid almost exclusively on Maria.
    • Both defendants were found guilty and executed before a crowd of 30,000.
    • Fredrick gave a full confession – admitted that he helped bury the body, but claimed that the murder had been solely carried out by his wife.
    • Focus of the story within the media was that of describing the ‘ordinary’ domestic functions of Maria are indistinguishable from the brutal act of murder.
    • Maria is alleged to have uttered ‘Poor Mr. O’Connor’ – prosecutor saw this as evidence of her ‘hypocrisy’ and ‘consummate wicked-ness’ – ‘you knew his body was mouldering in your kitchen’.

    Young women and adolescents: ‘The mad fury of that lovely being’
    • Roger Smith – Trail by Medicine (1981) p it waist the 19th c. that lawyers, medical men and the public increasingly expected medicine to be represented in the criminal law’.
    • Victorians established the practice of having expert medical witnesses in criminal and civil trials.
    • Smith – this was not a smooth development as doctors, lawyers and journalists repeatedly argued over what constituted diminished responsibility.
    • ‘McNaughten Rules’ – rules stipulated that a criminal prosecution was sustainable only if the defendants mental state did not interfere with their sense of right / wrong.
    • Psychologists complained this was too idealistic – argued in many mental condiitons know the difference between eight and wrong but cannot resist the urge to commit crime – thought to be especially the case with women.
    • Women were believed to be driven by their bodily processes – processes that were considered to be inherently pathological.
    • Adolescence in particular was thought to have been an explosive time for women – ‘young female bursting into womanhood’.
    • ‘The White Maniac’ was a story that seemed to draw on existing ideas about the incendiary nature of female adolescence.
    • As with concurrent medical debates, such narratives seemed to underpin the view that young women, and the homes they were central to, needed careful and sustained surveillance if established hierarchies were to be maintained.
    • The association of the female adolescent body with violence fostered more widespread fears regarding the destructive potential of female sexuality and reproduction.
    • The period’s construction with hysteria show distinct associations between sexual desire and aggression.
    • Victorian definitions of hysterical condition were riddled with inconsistency and contradiction.
    • Jane Wood – hysteria could be modified in order to diagnose all the behaviours which did not fit the prescribed model of Victorian womanhood’.
    • The idea of women suffering from mental alienation because of defective menstrual flow was not unfamiliar to the era’s medical professionals.

    Motherhood I: Maternal Maniacs

    • The phase of maternity that was considered to put the most strain on women’s psychosomatic systems, however, was childbirth itself.
    • According to Victorians, mothers were as capable of extinguishing life as they were of creating it, and it was the process of mothering itself that frequently led to murder.
    Motherhood II: Morbid Influences

    02 Nov 2016, 14:18

  8. Abi Wren

    Mangham (2)

    • Routh – suggested employing fallen women as wet nurses was a grace mistake.
    • Their milk could be ‘the vehicle of poison’ – gin/opium addictions.
    • Routh – hints that children suckled by insane women have a greater chance of developing madness in later life.
    • ‘Old Maid’ was a frightening figure for the male populous in the 19th c.
    • Married or unmarried, virginal or otherwise, all women were deemed prone to developing a dangerous form of insanity sue to the biological ‘change’ they experienced at middle age.

    02 Nov 2016, 14:19

  9. Charlotte Beesley

    The ‘Improper’ Feminine: The Women’s Sensation Novel and the New Woman Writing
    Lyn Pykett

    This book is generally about female writers and the difference in writing between genders. Therefore in order to relate it to this crime module I would recommend reading chapters 5 and 7 as these relate to the sensation novel/writings which were brought about as a result of the Newgate Novels which tended to glamorise crime during the late 18th and early 19th centuries.

    Chapter 5: Fiction, the Feminine and the Sensation Novel
    Chief objection of sensation fiction was that it was produced and deformed by market forces and directed at the appetites of consumers, hence not historically reliable or accurate.
    Shaped and directed to literary modernity.
    Again proves the popularity of crime.
    Pykett states that ‘This emphasis on mechanistic, commercial production, and passive, appetitive consumption, marked the sensation novel as a feminine form, irrespective of the gender of the particular sensation author. Mass-produced for mass consumption, based on repeated and hence predictable formulae, sensation fiction was by definition ‘feminine’ according to the terms of a rendered critical discourse in which the masculine (positive) term was reserved for work that offered itself as the unique expression of individual genius’.
    Mass culture somehow therefore associates with woman while real, authentic culture remains the prerogative of men.
    Sensation fiction evolved to become addressed to women, the literature assuming or invoking a shared feminine experience.

    Chapter 7: Historicising Genre: The Cultural Movement of the Woman’s Sensation Novel
    Distinctive features of the sensation novel were their passionate, devious, dangerous and not infrequently deranged heroines and their mysterious, complicated plots – involving crime, bigamy, adultery, arson and arsenic.
    Novels of passion and crime were all set in the context of otherwise mundane domestic life of a contemporary middle-class of aristocratic English woman.
    Margaret Elephant was one of the only people to argue that this female sensation fiction was a female writer’s protest against the double standard on the issue of sexual purity.
    Pykett states that it they gave writers, ‘more or less off-the-peg formulae for the satiric subversion of literary conventions and social codes’ and, ‘drew upon and reinforced a comment of values shared by women writers and readers; and perhaps most importantly, it articulated suppressed female emotions and expressed women’s covert aider at the limitations of their social and domestic circumstances’.
    Many reviewers of the genre treated sensationalism, as they did realism and later naturalism, as evidence of a cultural disease of which it was both a symptom and cause. Seen as the characteristic fictional form of a modern, high-speed industrialised culture.
    The fiction was seen to be a method of ignoring all the perplexities, dangers and sufferings springing from the relations between man and woman.
    “The sensation novel itself was concerned in all sorts of ways with the unfixing and transgression of boundaries”.
    Linked to sensational journalism.

    02 Nov 2016, 14:30

  10. • Maurizio Ascari is an Italian English Literature academic.
    • Ascari’s book looks to explore to the formation of the cannon of (particularly early 20th Century) detective fiction – and ends up concluding that it was a multifaceted process
    • More generally → A Counter History of Crime Fiction aims to reassess some of the assumptions concerning the origin and nature of detective fiction, showing that the identity of this sub-genre should be regarded as the result of a cultural construction rather than as a faithful mirror of the ‘essential’ qualities of a certain number of literary works.
    • Complexity of crime writing in the 19th Century
    • Talks about the complexity of reading a text also → how a text/piece of writing or literature can never be completely understood in its entirety
    • Ascari seems to outline the general purpose of his book when briefly stating – ‘This volume is thus governed by the need to uncover areas of cross-fertilisation and to make connections, albeit without sacrificing that sense of categories and distinctions that is a fundamental intellectual tool’.
    • Ascari explains how his book aims to trace a counter-history of crime fiction, both by disinterring texts that have had little or no critical attention devoted to them and by reinterpreting, in a different light, works that we believe we know all too well.
    • Ascari attributes that Sherlock Holmes popularity as a literary individual figure helped to consolidate the formulaic character of detective fiction.
    • Religion as a key aspect to the popuarirty or formation of the detective canon – ‘It is my contention that religion had much to do with the development of the detective canon, which somehow came to replace the traditional biblical canon within a society that was increasingly secularised. At a time when traditional values – concerning both meta-physics and the human being – were questioned, detective fiction reinstated truth and justice as the basic coordinates of its system of meaning’.
    • Britain in fear was an aspect that led to the formation of the canon detective fiction (side effect of the fear was the spy novel) → ‘The development of the spy novel can be regarded as another side effect of this climate of fear, which was due both to the internal threat of social unrest and to the external threat of military conflict. People became increasingly conscious of the fragility of the enormous British empire, notably of the vulnerability of the British Isles to a foreign invasion, due to factors as diverse as the development of naval technology, the shifting European alliances and a series of international crises’.
    • → Spy novels betray a barely disguised xenophobia, which is directed both towards foreign powers and towards foreign individuals living on British soil, the ‘aliens’.
    • Ascari himself concedes that tracing a history of spy fiction exceeds the scope of this book, but believes that spy fiction is variously intertwined with detective fiction.
    • A central role in the canonisation of detective fiction was also played by the anthologies that were published in the late 1920s, both in Great Britain and in the United States.
    • Ascari notes the technical skill of many of the detective novels and couples this with modernism making a link with the time in which detective literature seemed to get its own identity → The normative character that mainstream detective criticism acquired in the 1920s mirrored the formalist concerns of modernist literature, with its emphasis on technique and on the rendering of time. Acknowledging this special connection between detective and modernist fiction, Clive Bloom regards the detective story as ‘a very special link in the emergence of the full theoretically based modernism of the early years of the twentieth century’, since ‘Its self-absorption abolished subject matter in favour of form.’

    02 Nov 2016, 18:10

  11. Louise A. Jackson, Women & Gender History: Child Sexual Abuse in Victorian England

    This book examines sexual abuse, looking at its treatment within the law and in relation to wider social, political and cultural agendas. Louise suggests that contrary to popular belief that child sex abuse was ‘discovered’ in the late 1970s, in the late 19th Century there was mass campaigning and legislation over topics of child prostitution, incest and age of consent, though through the use of euphemisms. Her book focuses on girls, as she states nearly all cases were against male abuse towards young girls. She concludes that effects of abuse were gauged in terms of moral corruption and pollution.

    Idea of childhood:
    Jackson talked about how the notion of childhood shifted from being Calvinistic (based on original sin) to being romantic from the 18th Century onwards. This gave the idea that children were innately virtuous and needed to be protected. The concept of juvenile delinquency thus emerged as a by-product of romanticism. Similarly, as children were born innocent, any corruption was due to environment, so there were increasing investigations into living conditions and behaviour of labouring children in mining/manufacturing industries.

    Christian moral economy:
    This came from an evangelical and Unitarian movement, and suggested that the moral condition of society was dependent on the regulation and containment of immorality. This Christian theory created dualism: Children were victims, but when they lost their sexual innocence, they needed containing, to avoid moral contamination to others. They were thus placed in specialist institutions.

    Difference between victims and perpetrators:
    The likelihood of conviction depended on social class, reputation and status of both the defendant and the victim. In reports, poor people were portrayed through brutality, immorality, incest and deviancy.

    Age of consent:
    This age was variable on gender/specific charge/changes over time. If a girl was under 13, an act was a felony, but if a girl was between 13-16, it was a misdemeanour. This is still enshrined in law today, and Jackson argues that this gives the idea that in the eyes of the law, an abuser should be protected from girls in a transitional age band, who might appear older than they are.

    Societies and public pressure:
    Different societies including the London Society for the Protection of Young Females, the Rescue Society, and the Reform and Refuge Union concentrated on juvenile prostitution. This resulted in the 1885 Criminal Law Amendment Act raising the age of consent in 1885. This bill has been said to be the result of public support, showing effective lobbying by societies. Prior to the passing of this act, there were many attempts to pass bills, but they were unsuccessful due to opposition from liberal and conservative MPs. Many feared that they people would be blackmailed by girls pretending to be older than they were. Liberal MPs feared that raising the age of consent would lead to increased police surveillance against the poor.

    Different histories of abuse:
    The first histories of abuse emerged in the 1980s through feminist theory. They were essentialist in regarding rape as part of the male condition (Brownmiller). Later histories were more sophisticated, dealing with the domains of family/neighbourhood/state. One history by Jeff Hearn looked at the role of the private patriarchy and its shift to the public patriarchy- the latter attempting to police the previously private realm of the family. Ethics about histories of abuse has emerged as a strong theme- as childhood, the body, sexuality and morality are cultural constructs, what do we do regarding ethical judgement?

    Problems with sources:
    There are conflicting accounts of the truth and limited records. We can only see cases that have been tried, so it is hard to note trends.

    02 Nov 2016, 19:21

  12. Domestic Crime in the Victorian Novel: Anthea Trodd

    Intro: The Guilty Home

    • Dominant image of the home was that of sanctuary. In Fiction the house were usually detached and had the ingredients for domestic crime, respectability, privacy and surveillance.
    • The secrecy of the home and its relationship with a public environment was the theme of the Victorian novelist.
    • Two main views of the home: Innocent, guarding against intrusions and guilty, needing someone or something to throw light in its activities.
    • Main figures in novels included the policeman, servant and lady of the house.
    • Writers were attracted to the home because of the relationships within the home and the anomalies they had.

    The Policeman and the Lady

    • The problems with portraying the policeman in novels was that they had no defined genre and attributes whereas the lady was seen as innocent and delicate.
    • In books like the Salem Chapel the policeman is portrayed as a misguided interloper and that in reality domestic problems are solved within the family.
    • There is a general anxiety about the policeman intruding into middle class homes that is reflected in the novels of the period.
    • Later novels began to praise detectives and police particularly as whilst the middle class were afraid of intrusion, they were happy for the lower classes to be on display.
    • As for the lady, in novels femmes fatale began to be introduced and the policeman was of the opinion that attractive young women used this idea of innocence to get away with murder.

    Household Spies: Servants and Crime

    • With an increased desire for privacy, the relations between household and servants became strained.
    • This is explained by the shift of servants from the old fashioned servant to a new professional who saw it as a career. This clashed with the employer’s view that was filled with patriarchal ambitions.
    • The presence of servants threatened the households defence against modernism.
    • The servant was seen as a reflection of status but also now became a threat to domestic life. Them being criminals was a way to justify this contradiction and highlight the household were still morally superior, needing a servant but also able to have privacy due to potentially malign servants being employed.
    • Servants were also shown in novels as being the detectives way into unveiling the façade of a criminal family in a household.

    Nurse’s Stories: Servant Interpreters

    • The narrative towards the child from the nursemaid was used a lot in novels to show a conflicting mind set between servants and nursemaids and their subsequent relationship with a policeman.
    • Nursemaids are used in novels to depict how men must move beyond the extreme emotions associated with women through their development.
    • The Brushwood Boy by Dickens shows this belief throughout the book.
    • Dickens, Strindberg and Kipling all show a boy’s attempts to move into a sphere of imagination that are blocked by the irrational and nightmarish tales told to him by his nursemaid.
    • As nursemaids were a direct link between the household and external world they could have a contaminating influence on the child by bringing in things from the outside, unbeknown to the rest of the household.

    02 Nov 2016, 20:59

  13. The Fiend in the House

    • This chapter follows on from the idea that women were the criminals in many households just as much as men, if not more within novels.
    • The women who was seen to have most interaction with servants and want privacy was the thing used to argue criminality. It created a secretive and thus suspicious household, of which the woman was at the centre.
    • Within the Victorian novel there was a difficulty of showing the woman’s rule in the house without leaving the emphasis on her dependence.
    • The alliance between the wife and female servants was seen as dangerous to the wellbeing of the house. Any theoretical authority she might have was dangerous.

    Behind the Veil: Women in Court

    • There became a focus on novels where a female character heavily influenced the outcome of a court.
    • Courtroom scenes allowed women more activity in the public sphere with no compromise of her moral character.
    • It also managed to continue the idea that women were the bastion of morality and innocence, guardians of society.
    • Also in the courtroom women also gained a degree of sympathy and emotional influence was seen as a large factor in courtroom proceedings.

    The Dear Old Homesteads Exposed

    • The Sherlock Holmes stories shows the idea that public intervention is needed to expose secrets in the home.
    • Holmes is a figure that shows the compromise between the power of police and the genteel amateur.

    02 Nov 2016, 21:00

  14. Amie Sleigh

    Masculinity, crime and self-defence in Victorian literature- Emelyne Godfrey.

    • There was a demand for Nineteenth Century literature to reflect the perceived hardship of urban living.
    • Self-defence can tell us a lot about masculinities and its ever changing meaning. Middle class masculinity in this period was defined by self-restraint and adherence to the law, though belligerent response was handled with hand-to-hand combat.
    • Violent crime dropped from the mid-Victorian era onwards. Murder rates fell continuously.
    • Though fear of violent crime and the ‘dangerous classes’ remained high.
    • Periodicals, plays and fiction in this period reflect the heightened awareness of self-vulnerability and the fascination with self-defence.
    • Print culture fuelled interest in self-protection.
    • Public opinion of violent crime was formed entirely from the press, not personal experience.
    • Print culture benefited from the removal of various advertising taxes and newspaper stamp duties. Also technological advancements made them quicker and easier to produce.
    • In the years 1855-1860 the number of newspapers printed increased threefold.
    • According to Richard Sennett, the urban perception of extreme crime levels can be seen in the building of walls etc to limit contact.
    • Urban planning aimed to keep respectabilities from the criminally minded underclass. Literature at this time suggested these infrastructural defences could be easily overcome, leading to greater anxiety.
    • The growing commuter culture in London was portrayed as the perfect place for criminals to hide.
    • Self-defence culture developed from a brief the police were inadequate at dealing with violent crime.
    • The passing of certain laws highlights how opinion to violent offenders changed across the century. The early part of the century focused on the creation of punishments specific to offences. By 1837 assault now a non-capital crime. 1861 death penalty abolished for all crimes except murder and high treason.
    • Male aggressiveness and violence became more acknowledged and as a result, laws were passed to try to protect women and children.
    • Attempts to limit fire arm ownership were constantly unsuccessful until the 1920s. Seen as highlighting the extent to which self-defence was engrained in the culture of the time.
    • The shift in the nineteenth century away from violence has been identified as an integral product of what is referred to as the ‘civilizing process’.
    • Studies on middle-class manly self-expression have also focused on sport as a mechanism for the building of masculinity, of the containment of aggression and the promotion of self-restraint.
    • A number of women, whilst aware of their vulnerability, may not have considered themselves to be weak and helpless.
    • Narratives of civilian self-defence have aspects in common with military propaganda – both, drew on nationhood as a galvanizing force – yet in the civilian self-defence scenario, belligerence was often considered to be un-British and therefore not to be aspired to.

    02 Nov 2016, 21:06

  15. Peter King, ‘Newspaper reporting, prosecution practice and perceptions of urban crime: the Colchester crime wave of 1765’
    - Key argument – King uses the case study of the 1765 Colchester crime wave to argue that newspapers induce moral panic and can perpetuate copycat crimes, drawing parallels with the New York crime wave of 1975.
    - Makes opening point that since most individuals do not have personal experience of crime or riots, ‘news coverage of these events will often be the main element that shapes their perception of the prevalence and nature of crime and disorder in their locality’.
    - Historically the paper that covered Colchester, The Chelmsford Chronicle, tended to only contain a couple sentences about law and order, since for the first nine months of 1765 there was only one reported burglary and no unsolved robberies.
    - During October 1765 there was a sudden increase in robberies, particularly on the roads surrounding the towns. The papers reported inhabitants arming themselves, and incited fears about clothing, associating wearing a smock with being a robber.
    - This was an example of inciting moral panic and influencing events as opposed to just reporting them, an innocent travellers wearing smocks were arrested on false charges.
    - King argues that the papers also had an impact in regards to flaming fears about gangs, which criminals picked up on. As a result criminals developed new tactics of confessing upon being arrested, then giving the police information about accomplices, hoping to change their status from prime suspect to chief informant.
    - Image was curated in newspapers of the victim being alone, likely in woodlands, while the criminals were stereotyped as outsiders, with no roots to the community, ‘remote and faceless figures’.
    - King speculates on possible causes for the crime wave, including;
    o High price of grain, up to 50% higher than previous three years.
    o Rises in unemployment, decline in local cloth production industry.
    o Impact of peacetime, trend of post-war periods having higher reported crime rates as newspaper reporting turns local with little to focus on elsewhere.
    - Puts forward reporting of newspapers as one of the most influential factors in crime increase, as the editor was not selective in choosing which reports from readers to publish, ‘pressed the accelerator’ in heightening fear and prompting copycat attacks.
    - Draws parallels with Fishman’s study of the New York crime wave of 1975, in that both crime waves were contained to one city, resulted in penal changes, and the media placed great emphasis on gang activity. Similar chronological pattern of reporting, first week reports of instances, second, third and fourth weeks coverage dominated by official response.
    - However King remarks it would be ‘ahistorical’ to draw to close of a comparison, since each must be placed within their specific historical context, and in addition media practises during the New York crime wave had the added dimensions of TV and radio.
    - King concludes by arguing closer study is needed into the framework behind what is considered ‘good news’ by editors and what is worth reporting, as this will be largely impacted by spatial issues.
    - In addition King laments on the way the media impacts of the way criminal law is implemented, since judges will hand out harsher sentencing due to fears created by the media and the need to be seen to be handling the situation. In this sense, King puts forward that newspapers ‘could make news as well as report it’.

    02 Nov 2016, 21:14

  16. ‘The Cambridge Companion to Sensation Fiction’
    Chapter 3: ‘Sensation Fiction and the Gothic’ by Laurence Talairach-Vielmas

    • Sensation fiction is sometimes thought to have emerged towards the end of the 1850s, with the publication of Wilkie Collin’s ‘The Woman in White’. However, sensation fiction did not just appear, it was a ‘hybrid’ of pre-existing popular forms, such as melodrama and penny dreadful literature.
    • The sensation genre was a visual drama-both print and on stage, and its ‘methodological scepticism’ encouraged the questioning of established traditions and entrenched ideologies, for example, sexuality. ‘Queerness’ and ‘queer’ characters in sensation fiction uncovered inequalities and injustices within Victorian society. The thematic concerns of sensation literature brought the notion of identity and what it means to be ‘normal’ under scrutiny.
    • The influence of gothic literature and its methods is clear in sensation fiction and helped to mould the new genre. Particularly, sensation fiction drew on the gothic tradition of exploring the powerlessness and social roles of women. The gothic tradition was used in sensational novels to express conflicting views towards female sexuality and the female body in contrast with traditional Victorian views.
    • More often than not female characters who break with the social norms of Victorian femininity were buried alive, even if only symbolically, and sensation fiction frequently explores fears related to the marital institution. By linking female identity and marriage, sensation novels resembled the gothic tendency to explore women’s domestic lives.
    • The well-known gothic sites, which often became a place of entrapment for women, were replaced in the sensation novel, with the sexualised female body as the ‘new gothic castle’. Sensation fiction began to lift the artificial mask of femininity, and explore issues of feminine repression, as well as the ‘woman’s endless recreation’, by exposing the nature of women’s lives in the 19th century.

    02 Nov 2016, 21:26

  17. Haia Shpayer-Makiv, ‘Revisiting the detective figure in late Victorian and Edwardian fiction

    • Looking at novels shows that the term ‘detective’ applied to different kinds of crime fighters. In addition to persons who enforced criminal law as employees of the police, the texts featured numerous private detectives – either self-employed or employees of a private agency
    • It appears that private investigations outnumber police detectives.
    • In many cases the two can be seen to collaborate
    • It is the involvement of the private investigator that is generally crucial in unveiling the truth. At times, the police themselves apply for his/her assistance
    • Private detectives did not in reality deal with the majority of violations of the law most often associated with them in literature – notably murder – nor did they possess the special constabulary powers that would in fact have been required to enable them to discharge certain detective duties
    • Even less realistic was the cooperation between the police and professional detectives, especial in narratives that depict the private detective as taking the leading role in the investigation
    • But in fact joint ventures were few and far between. In any event, private detectives were not, in reality, accorded equal status with police officers
    • Scholars of detective fiction have repeatedly pointed out that police officers were generally sketched as ‘conspicuously lacking in intelligence’, and as ‘incompetent or powerless’
    • Charles Dickens, whose special liking for police detectives was manifested in a series of articles he had published in the early 1850s, he had created the figure Inspector Bucket in Bleak House
    • Bucket’s task was to solve the murder of a lawyer, which he accomplished successfully
    • In this assignment he was shown to be assertive, observant, thoughtful, friendly, and composed
    • Because he was so popular the figure of Inspector Bucket became well known and served as a model for other writer
    • Wilkie Collins = created sergeant Cuff in The Moonstone (1868)
    • Mary Elizabeth Braddon = Scotland Yard investigator Henry Cater (1864)
    • During the 1850s and 1860s police detectives enjoyed the level and type of exposure later denied to them
    • Chronicle of Martin Hewitt 1895. Like Holmes, Hewitt was not immune to failure, but ultimately it was he who enabled the police to make arrests and prosecute offenders
    • Hewitt was a friend of the police and was willing to give a hand, but clearly he was the expert
    • Cases where detectives shown as superior to police:
    o The Ripening Rubies by Bernard Sutton (1894)
    o Loveday Brooke created Catherine Louisa Pirkins (1894)
    o Dorcas Dene Detective by George R. Sims
    • ‘it was the private detective who demonstrated a greater prosperity to innovate and who pioneered the application of scientific methods and forensic techniques in detention’
    • It was, however, only in the course of the second half of the twentieth century that police detectives gained the professional and social status in the media associated with them today
    • Evidence shows that the majority of real-life police detectives came from the working class, with a minority coming from the lower middle class. Because people from these backgrounds were not associated in the public mind with glamour and important accomplishments, popular writers tended not to portray them as heroes
    • Many writers of detection diction articulated deeply-felt concerns that social control was insufficiently resolute and was often in the hands of ineffectual agents

    02 Nov 2016, 22:56

  18. ‘Violent crime in England in 1919: post-war anxieties and press narratives’ & Crime and Society in England 1750-1900
    – Clive Emsley

    Emsley discusses the aftermath of the First World War. After the war, there was a fear the ex-soldiers would pose a threat to society with their weaponry training and that they would slide easily to violent crime. Similar fears were present in the eighteenth century and at the end of the Napoleonic wars.
    Press reports described such violent crimes and how men would use their war experiences as defence in court.
    Moral panic was feared but did not materialize. Moral panic would stimulate new legislation to be imposed. This became popular with criminologists and historians. The media constructs frightening, negative stereotypes – ‘folk devils’ – as the offenders. Former soldiers and sailors figured significantly in violent crime in England after the war and the press was keen to draw attention to them and to some of the problems created by the war that could be seen as a prompt to their violence.

    Alternative narratives – Some saw the war as having civilizing consequences for the working class and as vindicating the arguments of the pre-war National Service League.

    Explanations for sexual assaults by veterans were explained as them having gone through ‘an intensive culture of brutality’ and as a result they were sexually starved.

    The Times noted ‘the disregard of the sacredness of human life inevitably created and fostered in thousands of uncontrolled minds by the war’.

    The period of the war witnessed an overall decline in the statistics of reported crime, though they showed an increase in the proportion of offending by women and young people i.e. young army men.

    There was a peak in prosecutions for violent behaviour and drunkenness from October 1915 to September 1916.

    The rapid growth of the Army makes it difficult to draw conclusions about the number of offences.

    It is difficult to judge as to whether criminal statistics are representative of what actually went on. As Emsley mentions in his book Crime and Society in England 1750-1900, many crimes categorisation could be determined depending on the viewpoint of the victim or police officer. For example, if an offender was known to the police then they could opt for a more serious charge. Decreases/increases in crime may not be due to a change in the number of offences but the attitude of the police. Changes in the law also affected criminal statistics and resulted in new crimes, e.g. the creation of income tax. It is therefore difficult for the historian to use criminal statistics as a measure of actual criminal activities. Indictable assaults on women and children, were investigated by many contemporaries and have been taken up by historians. It might be supposed that the growing confidence and independence that the war provided for some young women, might have encouraged more victims to come forward and to testify as victims of rape.
    As regards to women, returning soldiers felt that women had stolen their jobs, for example, ‘A Disillusioned Patriot’ complained to The Times about this issue. The reporting of some domestic violence, and sympathy expressed towards some of the male perpetrators, may have reflected a desire to restore the gender relations.

    02 Nov 2016, 23:55

  19. ‘Violent crime in England in 1919: post-war anxieties and press narratives’ & Crime and Society in England 1750-1900
    – Clive Emsley (continued…)

    Emsley claims that ‘newspapers are commercial organizations that need to be profitable; in order to be profitable they need to attract and to keep readers’ and so therefore exaggeration of the number of more serious incidents was common. The Times was dry and factual. The News of the World however printed photographs and included drawings of key figures in court. There were brief character notes and case summaries. The News of the World’s sensational style meant it focused more on the dramatic incident and provided more explicit details of the crime and the victims’ injuries.

    The ‘unwritten law’ – In many cases where an ex-soldier had domestically abused his wife, the ‘unwritten law’ could sometimes be imposed, justifying his actions as a result of her drunkenness or unfaithfulness. Newspapers such as The News of the World would revel in these cases but also be careful to report that this law was not accepted in England.

    Shell-shock was another defence used amongst accused misbehaved soldiers which the press reported on, however medical evidence proved that this was actually due to a form of autism or incapacity.
    There is debate about the extent to which shell-shock was a turning point towards a more progressive and sympathetic psychiatry. The use of the term in the press helped to develop the idea among the public that mental breakdown was not just a female problem as had been previously believed. It may have been used as a way of explaining violence within the middle and upper class. It is clear how a class issue was peeking into this as Emsley says in his other text mentioned earlier, most offenders brought before a court came from the poorer sections of society and as a consequence, ‘class’ became more central to the perception of society, so criminality tended to be seen as, essentially, a class problem. It enabled sympathy to be given to even the most violent criminals who were, socially, gentlemen.

    Newspapers however were sensitive to the perception of these victorious returning soldiers however, and so did not report extreme or bold statements against these men, as they were aware that their audience would know many close relatives or friends who had served as one of these veterans.

    02 Nov 2016, 23:55

  20. Blessing


    • There is a discernible path of development in crime fiction which goes back from before Sherlock Holmes to earlier characters with similar characteristics
    • 19th Century crime literature (Dupin stories/Vicoq) not existing in a ‘vacuum’ but product of a vast body of literature which – in varying ways – concerned itself with crime
    • Criminal literature always existed, but reached new levels of popularity in the 18th/ beginning of the19th century
    • Worthington analyses varying criminal narratives (fact and fiction) produced in the 18th/early 19th century period to find that it’s within this material that crime fiction holds its origins
    • Broadside and periodical stories develop themes and patterns found in ‘Accounts of the Ordinary of Newgate’ and ‘The Newgate Calendars’
    • The details of criminal, crime, confession and consequent punishment were the narratives adopted in the broadsides of the 18th/19th century
    • As a developing genre of literature it balanced ‘monitory, consolatory, and policing functions’ with entertainment that was required as a result of commercial interest -these were created to generate a profit
    • Texts were a deterrent – there to warn of the consequences of crime and discourage criminal activity
    • As society and therefore crime grew more complex, these accounts grew more complex
    • Early 19th CE – a focus on the perpetrator and his/her motive instead of the crime and its punishment > criminality no longer simplistic and efficient
    • A central part of the narrative of crime fiction (which is developing) is the detective figure is principally taken from Poe and his character – C. Auguste Dupin
    • The detective figure becomes a necessity in crime literature from around 1820-1850
    • The detective figure
    • From the 1830s periodical articles became interested in ‘series’ and the continuity of stories

    Crime Narratives: Textualising Crime
    • Commodified crime: Murder for the masses
    • As interest in crime and the punishments rise there is a growing profitable market in the publishing of accounts of crimes in broadsides – bolstered by increased literacy amongst the lower classes (although circulation not strictly limited)
    • Pictorial representations and illustrations a central feature of 19th CE broadsides – but many were also entirely prose
    • ” For a penny the purchaser of the criminal broadside can, positioned by the broadside with the crowd, vicariously participate in a melodrama of crime and punishment made all the more sensational by its affective treatment of, and connection to, reality. ”

    03 Nov 2016, 02:32

  21. Aksana Khan

    Does literature reflect or shape society’s attitudes to crime and criminals?
    McDonagh argues that literature does both. She examines various literature, tracking how the idea of child murder revealed more about British national identity than the context in which this crime happens. Instead of focusing on statistics, McDonagh highlights how child murder becomes less about sympathising the stereotype of the unmarried mother and her illegitimate child. To show this, she adopts a cross between a constructivist and psychoanalytical approach, using the Nachträglichkeit process in which ‘experiences, impressions and memory traces that may be revised at a later date…fit in with fresh experiences or with the attainment of a new stage of development.’ (pg. 12) The implication of this process is that it highlights how the motif of child murder has more meaning pumped into it by the community. She charts the following:
    • E1720s – child murders caused by poverty, from the widening gap between the rich and the poor – the former who abuse luxury.
    • 1770s-1780s – reformers explored the consequences of masculine sentiment; they wanted reform on the grounds that the law was killing children. As the British became increasingly exposed to the world through empire, child murders became a potent example of savage behaviour.
    • 1798-1803 – Conservative fears of the chaos of the sexual excess and violence of the French Revolution would cause more child murders by the mob. The only way to neuter the threat of the working-class, is to reinforce conservative morality especially through the institution of marriage. It was in this intellectual climate Malthus’ theory regarding population growth, and there was clear legislative change. The crime of concealment was treated separately from the crime of murder thus seeing to the first steps of regulating motherhood.
    • New Poor Law 1839 – Child murders were caused by how increasing market autonomy was used to value human life. Criticism were made that it killed more children as they had no family and had to work. There were scandals following the Marcus pamphlet (which circulated the conspiracy of bourgeois government conspiracy to kill 1/3 of poor families) and the burial societies (working class killing their children for an insurance payout). This brought the motif of child murder to be fought over on class grounds.
    • The mass child murders of 1850s-60s – child murders were used to show the perceived national disorder. This perceived hysteria in the press prompted a Select Committee to investigate, they came to the conclusion that there were a small number of cases of child murder and an even smaller number of those found guilty. But the increasing regulation of society through the state by bureaucrats through censuses, birth and death registrations, nurse register etc. gave the inflated view that there were more child murders because the government had to regulate. Moreover, Indian infanticide was prominent to the British public, they saw this as a marker of their degeneracy, and it subsequently reinforced the idea of child murder as symptomatic of savagery.
    • End of the nineteenth century – no longer the excesses of patriarchal authority which caused child murders, but the ‘New Woman’. Eugenics was a springboard for middle class women to seek emancipation, and their ideas were seen as breaking down the traditional family. Moreover, against the backdrop of social Darwinism, child murders were seen as not an example of innate, primordial passions, but the consequence of the excesses of modern society. It saw to the degeneration of the working class. This period saw to the growth of philanthropic societies such as the NSPCC.

    03 Nov 2016, 08:28

    • Audiences/ consumers of culture can decode and interpret in a range of ways, relative to their social position and particular cultural resources
    • These interpretations may not line up with the intent of the producers, however
    • (Lyons and Taska) “The reader re works and re-interprets what is read; his or her contribution cannot be subsumed within the author’s version of the meaning of the text.”
    • Interpretations are not limitless, however
    • Crime Reporting – a key area of research of media narratives; formerly focused on writing as opposed to reading;
    • British murder trial that saw a woman named Beatrice Pace tried for the arsenic murder of her husband - fascinated US readers
    • In this case, readers were active and passive at the same time
    • The husband (Harry Pace) was suspected of abusing his wife Beatrice so she was martyred in the press which led to a sympathetic response to her; idolised as a caring wife + doting mother
    • Her case had become a regular feature in the domestic press, and was even given some coverage abroad
    • Acquitted 6th July 1928, memoir serialised in July and august in the express and later expanded in Pegs Paper
    • to political debates in Parliament and the editorial pages of both the broadsheet and tabloid press regarding the actions of the coroner, the methods of Scotland Yard and the plight of poor defendants
    • amassed a successful defence fund and received gifts from strangers
    • 232 letters in the collection addressed to pace
     Cross class – sample too vague for systematic analysis
     Mostly sent in by women
     Not all letters were nice but the ones that were not were all anon
     Commended her role as a mother
     Sent in the days surrounding the acquittal
    • Contents of news reports
     Intimate domestic features which deeply appealed to women (who went to rhe galleries and waited outside courts)
     Many sympathised and identified with her experiences and some addressed her as ‘sister’

    • Emotional intensity of the responses
    • Men who wrote to her:
     Respect and resilience
     On the topic of business (a subscription for her benefit to London papers)
     Highlighted her attractiveness
     BP and her eldest daughter also received offers of marriage
    • Non-gendered themes:
     Some letters condemned HP’s family who initiated the investigations – a ‘thirst for divine vengeance’
     Congratulatory – god bless; prayed for
     Negative – letters from some women who questioned her having stayed in her abusive marriage

    • Michelle Arrow in regards to listener’s memories – ‘suggest some of the ways in which audiences have used popular culture to understand their own history, underlining how popular culture, far from being ephemeral or disposable, is integral to our understanding of the past, both individual and collective’
    D P Nord – historicizing journalism is difficult because – ‘ephemeral and the reading of it so commonplace and unremarkable and there fore so commonly unremarked upon in the historical record. Yet it is precisely this commonness that makes the history of journalism readership central to the broader social history of reading in everyday life’
    • Responses to this case were very personal, which reflects the emotional tome of how it was reported
    • People can live vicariously through the stories; form of escapism
    • Adrian Bingham – interwar press functioned as a means through which women could communicate with one another about their lives
    • Stories of fictional escapism sat alongside those of real suffering
    • Responses would have been more ambiguous if BP’s case were reported more negatively
    • Testifies to the power of imagination

    03 Nov 2016, 08:31

  23. Aksana Khan

    McDonagh argues against this teleological view because there is a wider catchment area of agents to be considered in determining who murders children. The various pamphlets, poems, political treastises, novels, economic tracts etc. over the course of the eighteenth and nineteenth century, do not reflect an increasingly progressive view of society’s attitudes to crimes. This is because every child murder goes against the British view that they have a highly enlightened, civilised society because their modern civilisation loves children. Consequently, the literature which explained why child murder happened, were inflammatory as it saw to a re-examination of British morals. It could be argued that they were used to shape British attitudes as they were used as an impetus to reform.

    03 Nov 2016, 08:34

  24. Worthington

    • There is a discernible path of development in crime fiction which goes back from before Sherlock Holmes to earlier characters with similar characteristics
    • 19th Century crime literature (Dupin stories/Vicoq) not existing in a ‘vacuum’ but product of a vast body of literature which – in varying ways – concerned itself with crime
    • Criminal literature always existed, but reached new levels of popularity in the 18th/ beginning of the19th century
    • Worthington analyses varying criminal narratives (fact and fiction) produced in the 18th/early 19th century period to find that it’s within this material that crime fiction holds its origins
    • Broadside and periodical stories develop themes and patterns found in ‘Accounts of the Ordinary of Newgate’ and ‘The Newgate Calendars’
    • The details of criminal, crime, confession and consequent punishment were the narratives adopted in the broadsides of the 18th/19th century
    • As a developing genre of literature it balanced ‘monitory, consolatory, and policing functions’ with entertainment that was required as a result of commercial interest -these were created to generate a profit
    • Texts were a deterrent – there to warn of the consequences of crime and discourage criminal activity
    • As society and therefore crime grew more complex, these accounts grew more complex
    • Early 19th CE – a focus on the perpetrator and his/her motive instead of the crime and its punishment > criminality no longer simplistic and efficient
    • A central part of the narrative of crime fiction (which is developing) is the detective figure is principally taken from Poe and his character – C. Auguste Dupin
    • The detective figure becomes a necessity in crime literature from around 1820-1850
    • The detective figure
    • From the 1830s periodical articles became interested in ‘series’ and the continuity of stories

    Crime Narratives: Textualising Crime
    • Commodified crime: Murder for the masses
    • As interest in crime and the punishments rise there is a growing profitable market in the publishing of accounts of crimes in broadsides – bolstered by increased literacy amongst the lower classes (although circulation not strictly limited)
    • Pictorial representations and illustrations a central feature of 19th CE broadsides – but many were also entirely prose
    • ” For a penny the purchaser of the criminal broadside can, positioned by the broadside with the crowd, vicariously participate in a melodrama of crime and punishment made all the more sensational by its affective treatment of, and connection to, reality. ”

    03 Nov 2016, 08:53

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