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How Tuberculosis Shaped Victorian Fashion

 
  Friday, March 3, 2017  
 
 
A rarity now, tuberculosis was the most feared scourge of 19th-century Europe. Ironically, some of the disease's symptoms—including pale skin and excessive thinness—became the Victorian era's ideal of beauty. This fascinating article delves into how the fashion industry encouraged perfectly healthy women to put on the appearance of TB sufferers, and in doing so, creating trends that endure even today ... (Read more)
 
 
 
 
 
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Queen Victoria: The Day the People Vented Their Fury

 
  Thursday, March 2, 2017  
 
  When Lady Flora Hastings died in 1839, she was the central figure in a controversy that had already caused a bitter schism in the British government. As revealed here, the villain in this tale is none other than the young Queen Victoria herself ... (Read more  
 
 
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8 Things You May Not Know About the Crimean War

 
  Thursday, March 2, 2017  
 
 
While most of us have heard of Florence Nightingale and Tennyson's classic poem "The Charge of the Light Brigade," how much do you really know about the Crimean War? Take a look at this overview of an incredibly complex conflict, one which anticipated the broader wars of the 20th century ... (Read more)
 
 
 
 
 
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Dickens' Secret Affair

 
  Wednesday, March 1, 2017  
 
 
Amazingly, Charles Dickens's 13-year affair with actress Nelly Ternan was unknown to the general public for more than a century. This article recounts the archival detective work that brought Dickens's final romance to light ... (Read more)
 
 
 
 
 
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The Rise and Fall of the Workhouse

 
  Tuesday, February 28, 2017  
 
  Charles Dickens's novels have forever defined how we view the institution known as the work house. As this article reveals, however, work houses were often safe, orderly operations that saved thousands of lives. Completing this portrait of a vanished way of life, a profile of notable workhouses is also included here ... (Read more)    
 
 
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Daisy Goodwin Shows Us an Independent, Passionate Version of Queen Victoria

 
  Tuesday, February 28, 2017  
 
  Meet Daisy Goodwin, the historical novelist behind the new PBS series Victoria ... (Read more)  
 
 
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Anne Brontë: Giving the Forgotten Sister and Badass Feminist Author Her Due

 
  Monday, February 27, 2017  
 
  We know more about the Brontë sisters than their friends and neighbors ever did, and both Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre are permanently ensconced in the literary canon; the "other" sister, Anne Brontë, nonetheless remains a peripheral figure. Here is an appreciation of the author of The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, a talented, strong-willed feminist in her own right ... (Read more)  
 
 
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A Queen’s Forbidden Love

 
  Friday, February 24, 2017  
 
  Although Queen Victoria has become synonymous with prudery, the widowed monarch developed a very close—and for the era, rather risqué—attachment to her Scottish servant, John Brown. How close were they? Examine the fascinating evidence here ... (Read more)    
 
 
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Jane Eyre and the Invention of the Self

 
  Thursday, February 23, 2017  
 
  Now considered an essential 19th-century classic, Charlotte Brontë's 1847 novel Jane Eyre astonished readers of its era with a heroine who was introspective yet independent, feminine and modern. This article re-introduces a book that we only thought we knew ... (Read more)  
 
 
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Trollope Trending

 
  Thursday, February 23, 2017  
 
  Popular in his own day but neglected for nearly a century after his 1882 death, Anthony Trollope is once again on the rise. In this extensive New Yorker feature, Adam Gopnick analyzes the contemporary fascination with this quintessentially Victorian chronicler ... (Read more)    
 
 
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Charles Dickens: 5 Facts on the Author & Some Gruesome Truths About His Victorian England

 
  Wednesday, February 22, 2017  
 
  Life in Charles Dickens's London was often nasty, brutish, and short. Take a look at some facts about the appallingly medieval conditions in Victorian England, interspersed with info about the intriguing—but by no means angelic—Mr. Dickens himself ... (Read More)  
 
 
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On The Table With One of History’s Most Infamous Surgeons

 
  Tuesday, February 21, 2017  
 
  Victorian surgeon Robert Liston performed amputations with a speed that seems beyond belief, resulting in a higher survival rate for his patients—and a few terrifying mishaps. Check out this stranger-than-fiction account here ... (Read more)    
 
 
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How Victoria Aims to Connect With Young Women

 
  Friday, February 17, 2017  
 
 
Far from being a mere soap opera or eye candy, PBS's Victoria has already earned a legion of admirers for its inspiring yet unvarnished depiction of a young woman who proves capable of governing an empire. This article delves into the series' unique appeal, and what it says about contemporary politics and social issues ... (Read more)
 
 
 
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Charles Dickens’s Inner Child

 
  Friday, February 17, 2017  
 
 
In his final essay, Christopher Hitchens examines the enduring appeal of Charles Dickens, finding England's beloved novelist to be affable and even childlike—but by no means innocent ... (Read more)
 
 
 
 
 
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5 Reasons Victoria Should Be Your New Aesthetic

 
  Friday, February 17, 2017  
 
  More than a century after her death, Queen Victoria is at the cutting edge of fashion and style again, thanks to the hit PBS series. Take a look at the pictures here ... (Read more)    
 
 
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The Shocking Tale of the Penny Dreadful

 
  Friday, February 17, 2017  
 
  For Victorian readers who wanted a glimpse of the darker side of life, there were the penny dreadfuls, serialized tales of murder and mayhem, priced to appeal to a lower class budget. As this article reveals, penny dreadfuls were the most controversial art form of their day, blamed for corrupting the morals of young people ... (Read more)    
 
 
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The Real History Behind PBS’s Historical Drama Victoria

 
  Thursday, February 16, 2017  
 
  If you believe the ongoing TV series Victoria, the queen was a beautiful philanthropist living in a rat-infested castle. The truth, historians reveal here, was altogether different ... (Read more)  
 
 
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Victoria’s Jenna Coleman on Playing the "Passionate" and "Stubborn" Queen

 
  Wednesday, February 15, 2017  
 
  As this intriguing, extended interview demonstrates, Jenna Coleman's convincing, revelatory portrayal of the queen in the PBS series Victoria is based on substantial research of her own. Here the British actress offers her own thoughtful appraisals of Victoria and her era ... (Read more)    
 
 
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Can Victoria Really Be The New Downton Abbey For PBS?

 
  Wednesday, February 15, 2017  
 
  A year ago, it would have been anyone's guess how PBS could follow up on the success of Downton Abbey. As the 2017 Masterpiece series Victoria demonstrates, however, perhaps the only way to top a story about the turbulent lives of British aristocrats is to create one about the most aristocratic Briton of them all ... (Read more)    
 
 
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Lord Melbourne and Queen Victoria: The Truth Behind Their Relationship

 
  Wednesday, February 15, 2017  
 
 
In the first season of PBS's Victoria, romantic tension between the young queen and her advisor, Lord Melbourne, were a major part of the show's appeal. We all know that Victoria marries Prince Albert, but is there any chance that Melbourne will return for season two? ... (Read more)
 
 
 
 
 
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10 Victorian Inventions That Never Quite Took Off

 
  Friday, February 10, 2017  
 
  While the Victorian era was an age of invention, many of these creations—including a belt to ward off cholera and a hat with storage pockets for your cigars—weren't destined to catch on. Take a look at these ten intriguing but ultimately misguided innovations here ... (Read more)  
 
 
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The Full Brontë

 
  Friday, February 10, 2017  
 
  The English moors are inseparable from the novels of the Brontë sisters, and as this article relates, many of the buildings and landscapes that inspired these literary greats are virtually unchanged. Devotees of Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights can even take a guided, ten-mile hike across this spectacularly beautiful region ... (Read more)    
 
 
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Middlemarch And Me

 
  Friday, February 10, 2017  
 
 
Most of us have a favorite novel, but for Rebecca Mead, George Eliot's Middlemarch became nothing less than a guide to life. Even if you've never read this towering 19th-century masterpiece, Mead's essay is an eloquent homage to the power of a well-written book ... (Read more)
 
 
 
 
 
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Ten Days at the Mad-House: How Nellie Bly Posed as Insane in 1887 in Her Brave Exposé of Asylum Abuse

 
  Friday, February 10, 2017  
 
 
Undercover journalism is commonplace now, but in 1887, Nellie Bly broke new ground by feigning insanity in order to be sent to a mental institution. Quoting from Bly's subsequent expose, this article recounts how the young woman endured a harrowing ordeal in order to alert the public to the inhumane practices of these facilities ... (Read more)
 
 
 
 
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The Depressing Stories Behind 20 Vintage Child Labor Pictures

 
  Thursday, February 9, 2017  
 
  Was child labor one of those phenomena that need to be seen in the context of its time? Not at all; it was if anything worse than we imagine, and in these astonishing photographs, children as young as two were compelled to do work that was tedious, poorly paid, and often dangerous ... (Read more)    
 
 
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The East India Company: The Original Corporate Raiders

 
  Wednesday, February 8, 2017  
 
 
While it is said that Britain conquered India, it was really the rapacious East India Company that used a combination of business acumen, bribery, and military force to seize the subcontinent. In addition to setting a dangerous precedent for colonialist expansion, this article suggests that the unscrupulous company's eventual demise anticipated the "too big to fail" bankruptcies of the 21st century ... (Read more)
 
 
 
 
 
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17 Haunting Post-Mortem Photographs From The 1800s

 
  Wednesday, February 8, 2017  
 
  More than century before the development of the selfie, a majority of people lived their entire lives without ever being photographed. Particularly in cases of unexpected deaths, however, family members sometimes availed themselves of a last chance to get a picture, resulting in a morbid, characteristically Victorian practice. Seventeen examples appear here; don't say you weren't warned!  ... (Read more)  
 
 
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The Queen, Her Prime Minister, and the Kissing of Hands...

 
  Wednesday, February 8, 2017  
 
 
The ITV drama Victoria has portrayed Lord Melbourne as a suave potential suitor for the young queen, resulting in a backlash from armchair historians arguing that he was a father figure to Victoria. As this article details, however, Melbourne was no stranger to scandal, and he may have had a naughty penchant of his own ... (Read more)
 
 
 
 
 
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Go Ask Alice

 
  Friday, February 3, 2017  
 
  Few authors are so beloved yet so misunderstood as Lewis Carroll, and there's no question that he was a man of mystery. This thorough and evenhanded article restores this eccentric genius to the context of the Victorian era ... (Read more)
 
 
 
 
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Doctors, Welfare, and the Deadly Workhouse

 
  Friday, February 3, 2017  
 
 
The welfare state as we know it has existed in the UK for more than four centuries, but in the Victorian workhouse the concept found its most visible—and appalling—symbol. This article explores how good intentions went badly awry, but led to life-saving reforms ... (Read more)
 
 
 
 
 
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The Real Story of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert's Romance

 
  Friday, February 3, 2017  
 
  The ITV drama Victoria, now airing on PBS, depicts the queen in a love triangle with Lord Melbourne and her cousin, Albert, whom she doesn't particularly like. As always with fictionalized history, it is interesting to see how the storyline matches up with the historical reality. Take a look here ... (Read more)  
 
 
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How Charles Dickens Saw London

 
  Thursday, February 2, 2017  
 
 
For many of us, our concep of 19th-century London has been formed by the works of Charles Dickens. As this article reveals, Dickens—a literary celebrity on an unprecedented scale—even seems to have defined the city for the people of his own day ... (Read more)
 
 
 
 
 
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G Is For Ghosts… The Birth and Rise of Spirit Photography

 
  Thursday, February 2, 2017  
 
  The art of photography was in its infancy when hucksters began using it to create images of "ghosts." Here you can view several such images, and read about this distinctly Victorian fad ... (Read more)    
 
 
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Anarchy & Beauty: William Morris and His Legacy, 1860-1960 Review—The Virtues of Simplicity

 
  Wednesday, February 1, 2017  
 
 
Much as we admire the art and designs of William Morris for their old-fashioned elegance, he can also be considered a visionary modernist who helped to shape the world of today. Here is a review of a 2014 exhibition at London's National Portrait Gallery that traced Morris's considerable influence ... (Read more)
 
 
 
 
 
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23 Charming Photos That Prove The Victorian Era Had The Best Fashion

 
  Wednesday, February 1, 2017  
 
 
As these photographs prove, some fashionable Victorians looked ludicrous by our modern standards, while others were more dapper than we could ever hope to be ... (Read more)
 
 
 
 
 
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Dearest Deeply Loved Victoria ... Your Image Fills My Whole Soul

 
  Tuesday, January 31, 2017  
 
  The ardent marriage between Queen Victoria and Prince Albert is now the stuff of legend, and the recent exhibition of one of Albert's letters testifies to the depth of his feeling. The letter and its contents are discussed here ... (Read more)    
 
 
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In Good Company: Re-evaluating the Legacy of the East India Company

 
  Friday, January 27, 2017  
 
  Often seen as exploiting the resources of the Indian subcontinent, the East India Company was nonetheless a major force for international commerce, paving the way for Britain's Industrial Revolution. Tracing the company's rise and fall, this article re-evaluates this pioneering global enterprise ... (Read more)
 
 
 
 
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Ghost Stories: Why the Victorians Were so Spookily Good at Them

 
  Friday, January 27, 2017  
 
  For all its scientific and social progress, the Victorian era was engrossed in ghost stories by the likes of Charles Dickens, M.R. James, and Wilkie Collins. Here's a look at the cultural factors that made the late 19th century a golden age for spooky tales ... (Read more)
 
 
 
 
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Magnificent Obsession: How Queen Victoria Influenced Photography

 
  Friday, January 27, 2017  
 
  In a time when mass communication simply did not exist, Queen Victoria grasped that photography would provide an important means of connecting with her vast kingdom. This article examines how the queen supported this new innovation, and how she used it to project a carefully considered image of herself to the world ... (Read more)
 
 
 
 
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On England’s Coast, Thomas Hardy Made His World

 
  Thursday, January 26, 2017  
 
 
It has seen a lot of change in the past century, yet Great Britain's Dorset County—immortalized by Thomas Hardy in his novels as "Wessex"—remains distinctly beautiful and comparatively unspoiled. This guide to "Hardy country" also features some exquisite photographs of the region ... (Read more)
 
 
 
 
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Top 10 Creepy Aspects of Victorian Life

 
  Thursday, January 26, 2017  
 
  While the term "Victorian" may call to mind prim and proper ladies and gentlemen, let us not forget that it was also the era of Dracula and Jack the Ripper, poisonous cuisine and terrifying surgeries. This list surveys the barely concealed weirdness of a culture that dreaded being weird ... (Read more)    
 
 
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The Forgotten Wife of Charles Dickens

 
  Thursday, January 26, 2017  
 
 
He wrote such classics as David Copperfield, A Tale of Two Cities, and A Christmas Carol. She bore ten children. Long maligned by rumors and generally ignored, Charles Dickens's wife Catherine emerges here as an actress, cook, and author in her own right ... (Read more)
 
 
 
 
 
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The Return of London’s Fog

 
  Wednesday, January 25, 2017  
 
  What Londoners dubbed the "pea souper" is increasingly being called by its true name: air pollution. Here is a history of the fog that has concealed criminals, suffocated animals, and provided mystery authors with an ideal setting for their books ... (Read more)    
 
 
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Queen Victoria: The Real Story of Her "Domestic Bliss"

 
  Wednesday, January 25, 2017  
 
  Much as Queen Victoria projected the image of a happy mother in a happy family, the truth was rather different. As this eye-opening article reveals, the tempestuous monarch struggled for control against her beloved Albert; she also loathed pregnancy, breastfeeding, and—let's call it like it is—her children ... (Read more)    
 
 
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Death in the City: The Grisly Secrets of Dealing with Victorian London's Dead

 
  Tuesday, January 24, 2017  
 
 
As it became one of the most populous cities on Earth, 19th-century London ran out of places to bury its dead. With graveyards crammed to the point of bursting, their proprietors looked for ways to pack more bodies in, resulting in a "miasma" that was harmful to the public's health. This grisly but undeniably fascinating account explores how the dilemma lead to the creation of that underrated Victorian innovation, garden cemeteries ... (Read more)
 
 
 
 
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The Amazing (If True) Story of the Submarine Mechanic Who Blew Himself Up Then Surfaced as a Secret Agent for Queen Victoria

 
  Tuesday, January 24, 2017  
 
  James McClintock was a leading mechanic on the Confederate submarine H.L. Hunley, and died in an explosion while working on a later sub. Or did he? In the 1880s, an American explosives expert by the same name offered his services to Queen Victoria's government, ultimately betraying Britain as well. Here's an account of one of the most uncommonly successful and elusive con men of the 19th century ... (Read more)
 
 
 
 
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The Brontës’ Secret

 
  Friday, January 20, 2017  
 
  Short-lived and by no means prolific, Emily and Charlotte Brontë nonetheless enjoy a rare degree of movie star popularity in the mind of the reading public. This article provides a detailed look at the careers and remarkable afterlife of the Brontë sisters ... (Read more)    
 
 
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Victoria’s Secrets: What the Royal Archives Didn’t Want You to Know About England’s Queen

 
  Friday, January 20, 2017  
 
  Closed to the general public and rather difficult even for top scholars to access, Britain's Royal Archives are a stronghold of secrets. As this intriguing article details, the royal family and their appointed archivists maintain dictatorial control over these files ... (Read more)    
 
 
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Punished For Being Poor: London’s Forgotten Workhouses

 
  Friday, January 20, 2017  
 
  Although the buildings look innocuous today, Britain's 19th-century workhouses were miserable without exception. Here are accounts of life in some of the most notorious of the bunch, along with descriptions of the structures' later histories ... (Read more)    
 
 
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How to Make Victoria Sponge the Way Queen Victoria Would Have Eaten it

 
  Thursday, January 19, 2017  
 
  Many things were named for Queen Victoria, and the Victoria sponge cake is by no means the least of them. Here's how her cotemporary Mrs. Beeton would have prepared it, along with a history of the queen's love affair with pastries ... (Read more)    
 
 
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Love Before Albert: Queen Victoria’s Suitors

 
  Thursday, January 19, 2017  
 
 
Queen Victoria married young and she loved Prince Albert for life, but make no mistake, the young lady certainly had a choice. Here's a look back at some of the royal bachelorette's other suitors ... (Read more)

 
 
 
 
 
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Meet the Real-Life Lord Melbourne—Queen Victoria's Closest Advisor

 
  Wednesday, January 18, 2017  
 
  In ITV's series Victoria, the queen's advisor Lord Melbourne is portrayed as handsome, eligible, and interested. How accurate is this depiction? Is it historical, or the stuff of potboilers? ... (Read more)  
 
 
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10 Dangerous Things in Victorian/Edwardian Homes

 
  Wednesday, January 18, 2017  
 
  The Victorians projected an image of safety and comfort, but was it really true? Take a look at these ten hazards of the era, many of which were poorly understood back then but are no longer an issue today ... (Read more)    
 
 
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In Search of Queen Victoria’s Voice

 
  Tuesday, January 17, 2017  
 
  More than 130 years ago, Queen Victoria's voice was recorded in a brief, low-fidelity, but historically important audio clip. Does it still exist? Where is this rare recording now? And why does she say "tomatoes," if at all? ... (Read more)    
 
 
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Queen Victoria Timeline: 10 Milestones in the Monarch’s Life

 
  Thursday, January 12, 2017  
 
 
Beginning with the June 1837 morning when young Princess Victoria found out that she was monarch of the British Empire to her extravagant 1897 Diamond Jubilee, here are ten key events from the queen's life ... (Read more)
 
 
 
 
 
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Spice Up Your Vocabulary with These Scandalous Victorian Vulgarities

 
  Thursday, January 12, 2017  
 
 
Although "Victorian" is now equated with all that is prim and proper, the era had its own colorful array of insults and oaths. In those days, a man using gum might just get kicked in the whirlygigs by a hoydon! Click here for a crash course in vulgar Victoriana ... (Read more)
 
 
 
 
 
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Five Things You May Not Know About Queen Victoria

 
  Thursday, January 12, 2017  
 
  A single mom barely five feet tall who survived six assassination attempts? That's right, we're talking about Queen Victoria. Here are some other intriguing facts ... (Read more)    
 
 
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Jenna Coleman on Playing Queen Victoria: “We certainly don’t shy away from the fire and the passion”

 
  Wednesday, January 11, 2017  
 
  Portraying the most powerful woman of the 19th century has been quite a challenge for Victoria star Jenna Coleman, who learned to waltz, play the piano, and ride sidesaddle in a corset for the role. In this feature, Coleman reflects on her good fortune at landing the role of a lifetime ... (Read more)    
 
 
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Meet the Cast of Victoria

 
  Wednesday, January 11, 2017  
 
  Hailing from such shows as Doctor Who, Dancing on the Edge, and The Man in the High Castle, here's a chance to meet the stars of the ITV hit Victoria, with notes on the historical figures whom they portray ... (Read more)    
 
 
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Lord Melbourne: The True Story of the Man Close to Queen Victoria

 
  Tuesday, January 10, 2017  
 
 
The 2016 ITV series Victoria implies that the young queen may have been smitten with her political mentor, Lord Melbourne; it may have even been mutual. While audiences may enjoy the onscreen frisson between Jenna Coleman and the dashing Rufus Sewell, what is the historical basis this intriguing innuendo? ... (Read more)
 
 
 
 
 
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PBS Turns Its Sunday Spotlight to Queen Victoria, That Saucy Minx

 
  Tuesday, January 10, 2017  
 
  Our longstanding perception of Queen Victoria as a dour, repressed, unattractive monarch is being dispelled by the recent ITV series, starring the charismatic Jenna Coleman. Here screenwriter Daisy Goodwin discusses her unfamiliar—yet historically accurate—depiction of the queen ... (Read more)    
 
 
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Dickens's London Brought to Life: Fascinating Snapshots of Victorian Street Traders Taken at the Dawn of Photography

 
  Monday, January 9, 2017  
 
 
Charles Dickens's descriptions of lower-class England are vivid and unforgettable, but here are actual images from his era, a treasure trove of rarely seen sepia-tinted photographs of the capital's working poor, and maybe a few Dickensian eccentrics as well ... (Read more)
 
 
 
 
 
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Queen Victoria: 6 Stories from Her Diaries

 
  Monday, January 9, 2017  
 
  A lifelong diarist, Victoria documented her marriage proposal to Albert, the wonders of chloroform, and the surprise of finding that a man was shooting at her. Take a look at some highlights from the diaries ... (Read more)    
 
 
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Queen Victoria Dreamed Up the White Wedding Dress in 1840

 
  Monday, January 9, 2017  
 
 
Queen Victoria: Fashion Icon? The deeply entrenched custom of wearing a white wedding dress begins with Victoria, who bucked the traditions of her day to do it. Read about it here.
 
 
 
 
 
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Five Horrible Diseases You Might Have Contracted in Victorian England

 
  Sunday, January 8, 2017  
 
 
While the 19th century was in many ways a golden age for Britain, a host of diseases afflicted thousands of the nation's less prosperous citizens each year. Here's a look at five of the leading maladies of the day, and information on how medical science has combatted them over the past century and a half ... (Read more)
 
 
 
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Ten Mystic Spiritualists and Occultists from the Victorian Era

 
  Sunday, January 8, 2017  
 
  Defined by the Industrial Revolution and its increasing political might, Victorian England was paradoxically also a hotbed for spiritualist charlatans. While the names of Madame Blavatsky and the Fox sisters are still sometimes recalled, here are eight other mystics, mediums, and madmen ... (Read more)     
 
 
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