My review of Port Towns and Urban Cultures: International histories of the waterfront, c. 1700–2000, ed. Brad Beaven, Karl Bell and Robert James (Palgrave Macmillan, 2016) has been published in The Mariner’s Mirror (103.3); if you don’t have access to the journal, 50 free eprints are available here. I very much enjoyed this collection of essays on the history of ports and their cultural interactions, especially the way in which the book moved across a diverse variety of port cultures, while developing a core conceptual idea of “the port” throughout. There were also interesting intersections (including a shared contributor, Isaac Land) with issues raised in Sea Narratives.
More coastal connections await my reading, as Coastal Works: Cultures of the Atlantic Edge, ed. Nicholas Allen, Nick Groom and Jos Smith (OUP, 2017) has just landed in my in-tray and I’ll have a review of this out later in the year.
Two book reviews published this month: my review of Jude Piesse’s British Settler Emigration in Print, 1832–1877 is now available in Literature & History 25.2, and my piece on The Brontë Sisters In Other Wor(l)ds by Shouhua Qi and Jacqueline Padgett is in the latest issue of Victorian Studies (58.4).
In the new issue of Victoriographies (4.2) I review Michael Hollington’s The Reception of Charles Dickens in Europe (Bloomsbury, 2013). It’s an impressive two-volume collection of essays with 48 international contributors covering Dickens’s reception in 28 European countries. In the review I discuss the volume’s themes of national identity, the influence of Dickens on European authors, Dickens and the visual arts, as well as the substantive publication histories assessed in different national contexts.
Over on the Feminist and Women’s Studies Association blog I’ve reviewed Judith Johnston’s Victorian Women and the Economies of Travel, Translation and Culture, 1830-1870.
The new issue of Open Letters Monthly is out today, and in among a host of exciting arts and literary reviews you’ll find a piece by me on Tatiana Holway’s The Flower of Empire: An Amazonian Water Lily, the Quest to Make it Bloom, and the World it Created. This intriguing new study explores the history of the Victoria regia water lily that became an evocative symbol of the Victorian era, and Holway’s study takes us from the banks of the Amazon in the 1830s to the doors of the Crystal Palace in 1851, with an intriguing history unfolding in between. I very much enjoyed the book and, well, you can read the rest of the review over at OLM!
I recently had the pleasure of reviewing Leah Price’s How to do Things with Books in Victorian Britain for Open Letters Monthly, an online arts and literature review site. Price’s work is a rich and evocative study of the many uses to which books were put in Victorian novel, and I’d strongly recommend it to any Victorianist – it’s one of those books full to the brim of fascinating information you never knew you wanted to know, whilst producing some important overarching arguments about Victorian culture more widely and gesturing towards new directions for the intersection of literary studies and material culture. It’s also highly pertinent to the theme of this week’s BAVS conference, Victorian Values, raising questions about the value of books in the Victorian age and the meaning of books today as we shift towards digital media.
You can find my review here, and I’d also highly recommend checking out the rest of the September issue of OLM – a review of John Bew’s Castlereagh: A Life and a piece on “Therapeutic Wordsworth” by Stephen Akey are particular highlights.