Posts Tagged ‘Victorian’

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Shakespeare and Victorian Visual Technologies

September 13, 2012

Michael Goodman (Cardiff University) will be speaking at a symposium at the University of Durham tomorrow. Forms of Innovation: Literature and Technology is a one-day symposium on the interrelation of literary forms and technologies.

PANEL 1A: VICTORIAN VISUAL TECHNOLOGIES

Michael Goodman – Things to Make and Do: Victorian Wood Engraving and the Digital Archive

In the mid-nineteenth century the technological development of wood engraving had an enormous influence on the publication of illustrated books. Not only could artists create much more finely detailed images but, because wood-engraved illustrations could be mass-produced, the price of illustrated books decreased dramatically thus allowing them to be enjoyed by all classes of Victorian society. My current research involves the creation of an open-access digital archive of wood- engraved Shakespeare illustrations that appeared in Victorian editions of the works of William Shakespeare. This paper will offer an exploration of the cultural effects that wood engraving had upon Victorian society. I will argue that digitisation allows the public today to interact dynamically with historical texts and images in a similar way to how the Victorians engaged with the illustrated book. I will analyse the issues surrounding my work, for example, the complex relationship between text and image in illustrated editions, Victorian notions of Shakespeare and the ways that this innovative digital archive enables new questions to be asked of the material. Yet these new questions come at a high cost: the loss of the physical illustration itself. By remediating an illustration from page to screen the meanings generated by the physical text are changed dramatically. Ultimately, I will suggest that, as literary researchers, the internet enables us to be creative, playful and imaginative in our research and in our academic endeavours we should ask not what the internet can do for us but what we can do for the internet.

Find out more here.

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Shakespeare’s Shrine: The Bard’s Birthplace and the Invention of Stratford-upon-Avon

June 28, 2012

An exciting book by Dr Julia Thomas (Director of CEIR at Cardiff University) has recently been published by the University of Pennsylvania Press:

“Anyone who has paid the entry fee to visit Shakespeare’s Birthplace on Henley Street in Stratford-upon-Avon—and there are some 700,000 a year who do so—might be forgiven for taking the authenticity of the building for granted. The house, as the official guidebooks state, was purchased by Shakespeare’s father, John Shakespeare, in two stages in 1556 and 1575, and William was born and brought up there. The street itself might have changed through the centuries—it is now largely populated by gift and tea shops—but it is easy to imagine little Will playing in the garden of this ancient structure, sitting in the inglenook in the kitchen, or reaching up to turn the Gothic handles on the weathered doors.

In Shakespeare’s Shrine Julia Thomas reveals just how fully the Birthplace that we visit today is a creation of the nineteenth century. Two hundred years after Shakespeare’s death, the run-down house on Henley Street was home to a butcher shop and a pub. Saved from the threat of an ignominious sale to P. T. Barnum, it was purchased for the English nation in 1847 and given the picturesque half-timbered façade first seen in a fanciful 1769 engraving of the building. A perfect confluence of nationalism, nostalgia, and the easy access afforded by rail travel turned the house in which the Bard first drew breath into a major tourist attraction, one artifact in a sea of Shakespeare handkerchiefs, eggcups, and door-knockers.

It was clear to Victorians on pilgrimage to Stratford just who Shakespeare was, how he lived, and to whom he belonged, Thomas writes, and the answers were inseparable from Victorian notions of class, domesticity, and national identity. In Shakespeare’s Shrine she has written a richly documented and witty account of how both the Bard and the Warwickshire market town of his birth were turned into enduring symbols of British heritage—and of just how closely contemporary visitors to Stratford are following in the footsteps of their Victorian predecessors.”

Visit the publisher’s webpage for the book here

Read the first pages of the book on amazon.com

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Digital Shakespeare: Voice of Humanities Conference

March 21, 2012

Michael Goodman, a PhD student at Cardiff University, will be presenting a paper tomorrow at the Voice of Humanities Conference:

Victorian Illustrated Shakespeare

 in the age of Digitisation and Hypertext

This presentation will explore how modern technology allows us to create exciting scholarly resources that enable academics, students and the wider public to engage dynamically with historical texts.

It will explain my research into Victorian illustrated Shakespeare and how I am currently curating and creating an open access database of Shakespeare illustrations from this era. It will go on to analyse the complex problems and philosophical implications inherent in such a project and, ultimately, how digital humanities can play a vital role in educational practices.

Find out more about the conference here.

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