Creepy Victorians: Victorian Literature and Insects for #NIW2016

I wrote a blog on the Victorians’ fascination with insects for
National Insect Week 2016, featuring some stunning entomological fashion illustrations from the Punch magazine, space-insects, and Alice’s adventures as naturalist in Through The Looking-Glass – read the blog here!

Follow National Insect Week on twitter with the hashtag #NIW2016 and @insectweek, and on www.nationalinsectweek.co.uk/

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‘The real-life inspiration for the Mad Hatter and his Tea Party’

A press release for my article ‘The Stupidest Tea-Party in All My Life’: Lewis Carroll and Victorian Psychiatric Practice‘, published in the Journal of Victorian Culture, is now available here. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me with any enquiries.

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‘Alice in the Asylum’ article on The Conversation

In a new article on The Conversation I am exploring the reality of Victorian lunatic asylums in relation to Disney’s latest Alice adventure, Alice Through the Looking Glass. To learn more about the real mad tea parties of the Victorians, mad march hares and hatters, this way.
EDIT: The article ‘Alice à l’asile’ is now also available in French!

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Talk & Article on Lewis Carroll and Victorian Psychiatric Practice

I will be giving a talk on Lewis Carroll and his engagement with Victorian Psychiatric Practise at the Lewis Carroll Society Meeting (Art Worker’s Guild, London, 8th of April 2016). The talk is based on an article which has appeared in the Journal of Victorian Culture. Click here for more details on the talk!

tea party

Find out more about Mad Tea-Parties, Mad Hatters and March Hares!

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Frog Murder Christmas

Happy [weird Victorian] Christmas…?

Weird Christmas

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It’s a joke, right?

It has to be. There’s no way this can be sentimental. There’s no remote possibility one could look at this and think of the holidays without the caption, right?

One thing’s certain: this card is far and away the most popular I’ve ever posted. It has thousands, THOUSANDS of reblogs and likes. It’s travelled in every genre and category of reposting blog I can imagine, from simple holiday things to S&M tumblrs to grandmothers to furry fans. This one struck a chord.

But why, exactly?

Part of me wants to believe that this card is a joke, plain and simple. But there are so many other odd ones where the humor is tinged with something “jolly” or “festive” that it makes me skeptical. This card is almost too ironic, too “modern,” to be the kind of humor that usually passes on these old cards. It…

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Alice’s Adventures in Cyberspace: Lewis Carroll’s creation turns 150

I’m pleased to say The Conversation have published my article on “Alice’s Adventures in Cyberspace” in which I briefly reflect on American McGee’s Alice: Madness Returns and its most recent sequel Alice: Otherlands. Give it a read! It includes a video snippet of McGee’s new work.

alice otherlands

American McGee’s Alice: Otherlands (2015)

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Ashmolean DEADFriday Talk: Death in Victorian Children’s Literaure

EDIT: The Lecture is now available online – click here!

As it’s (almost!) Halloween Ashmolean LIVEFriday turns into DEADFriday this week – with all sorts of Halloween themed shenanigans in store. Next to wandering ghosts, face painting and a bar there will also be a series of public lectures & gallery pop up talks, organised by TORCH (The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities).
– I will be speaking about the, slightly unusual, topic of ‘Death and Victorian Children’s Literature.

Arthur Hughes, 'At The Back of the North-Wind'

Arthur Hughes, ‘At The Back of the North-Wind’

From Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol, Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Victorian Children’s Literature was, perhaps surprisingly, filled with scenes of dying and suffering children, a reality many readers had to face in their own environment. However, searching for a sense in this, authors often gave those children fantastic dreams and visions, filled with mythological creatures which embodied ideas of death and dying, but also of nature, and for hope for rebirth eternal life. Thus stories like Charles Kingsley’s The Water-Babies or George MacDonald’s At the back of the North Wind give amazing insights into the Victorian search for the meaning of life, the nature of the soul and man’s place in creation.

To find out more about these fantastical Victorian journeys into the inner workings of nature and life itself – come to the Ashmolean Lecture Theatre (Level -1) at 7.45 pm! The event is ticketed. A full list of speakers and more info can be found here.

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