“Commemorative Print: Serialized Monuments during the Shakespeare Tercentenary Debates,” Journal of Victorian Culture 26.1 (Spring 2021). https://doi.org/10.1093/jvcult/vcaa027.
This essay concerns Victorian debates about how best to commemorate Shakespeare at the tercentenary of his birth in 1864. Victorian enthusiasm for Shakespeare was all but ubiquitous, but it evolved in unpredictable ways. The National Shakespeare Committee’s proposal for a Shakespeare statue, for instance, ended in controversy and failure. By contrast, alternative forms of commemoration enjoyed notable success, such as Howard Staunton’s serialized facsimile of the First Folio (1864-66). Both the controversy and its potential resolution in Staunton’s Folio are revealed in essays published in the Reader, a short-lived literary weekly. Staunton’s facsimile came to be regarded by the Reader and commentators in other periodicals as the most apposite of tercentenary monuments. It remade the First Folio for middle-class Victorian readers, trading on the prestige of the First Folio and remaking a high-end book version of Shakespeare in the image of ‘shilling monthly’ serial literature. Taken together, the Tercentenary monument controversies and the Staunton Folio show the Victorian relationship to Shakespeare to be less settled than we have previously appreciated.
My research and teaching focus primarily on Victorian fiction and is based, conceptually and methodologically, in the intersection between print culture studies, literary history, and archival/media studies. My dissertation, “Collecting Works: Dickens, Eliot, and the Institutions of Literature,” considers two ways in which the dispersed archives of novelists’ works and lives were compiled into new wholes: the collected works edition, and the authorial archive. I read the history of collected works edition publication and circulation alongside paradigmatic novels that are themselves repositories of complex meditations on the interaction between material and narrative form. The last two chapters will examine these novelists’ archives in the narrower sense. I show how the assembly of the Forster Collection at the South Kensington Museum in the late nineteenth century and the George Eliot and George Henry Lewes Collection at Yale’s Beinecke Library in the early twentieth century shaped the epistemological horizons of Victorian literary studies. Dickens and Eliot were both reflexive practitioners of novel writing, persistently exercised by questions of the novel’s cultural position and its social and ethical responsibilities. This makes their works and the histories of their sociomaterial circulation of particular use in understanding the reflexivity of authors operating within Victorian literary institutions.
¶ Other Projects
I am a contributing editor to At the Circulating Library: a Database of Victorian Fiction, 1837-1901.
I am collaborating with ATCL’s general editor, Troy Bassett, on a project exploring fiction serialization practices in 1862, the year of, among (many!) others, Lady Audley’s Secret, Romola, Orley Farm, and The Water-Babies. Our goal is to publish an article and a dataset of all British serialized fiction that year.
I am an active book reviewer, with a review forthcoming in Review 19 in 2021.
- Lindsay DiCuirci, Colonial Revivals: The Nineteenth-Century Lives of Early American Books (Penn, 2019). Review in Jahrbuch für Kommunikationsgeschichte 22 (2020).
- Jesse Zuba, The First Book: Twentieth Century Poetic Careers in America (Princeton, 2016). Review in SHARP News (Feb. 2017).
In 2019-21, I am the North America grad student rep for the Research Society for Victorian Periodicals. If you’re a grad student who thinks nineteenth-century periodicals are neat and has ideas for RSVP events and ways to make it more representative for grad students, please email me.
I also serve on RSVP’s Digital Events Committee, and have organized events about decolonizing periodicals studies and DH, among other topics.
I co-organize the University of Washington Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century graduate research cluster, which brings together graduate students and faculty from across UW departments and the PNW region who research aspects of global middle modernity. We have frequently collaborated with the V21 Collective to organize events. More at http://uw1819.org.