The 19th Century Research Seminar works closely with Baylor’s Armstrong Browning Library, and, as such, we like to highlight some of the library’s recent acquisitions. Below are reviews of the library’s latest books, all of which are available for students and scholars alike. (Book reviews are grouped according to subject matter)

Charles Dickens:

The Curious World of Dickens by Clive Hurst & Violet Moller

Hurst, Clive, and Violet Moller. The Curious World of Dickens. Oxford: Bodleian Library, 2012

From the Publisher: “Published to mark the 200th anniversary of Dickens’s birth, this book celebrates the greatest of English novelists by illustrating some of his abiding preoccupations. Prompted by quotations from the novels and other writings, each themed chapter explores contemporary images relating to salient topics of the Victorian age such as the public entertainments of London and the domestic pastimes of its inhabitants; the coming of the railways (which were to transform Victorian England in fiction and in fact); school life for children, and conditions in the workhouses and prisons which loom so large in many of the novels and which blighted Dickens’s own childhood.”

Dickens and Race by Laura Peters

Peters, Laura. Dickens and Race. Manchester: Manchester UP, 2013.

From the Publisher: “In the first book-length study of its kind ‘Dickens and Race’ examines Dickens’s complex relationship with race shaped by the twin poles of racial science and fancy. Examining the intersection of the lifelong influence of childhood favorites Robinson Crusoe and Tales of the Arabian Night, and the African travel narratives for which the adult Dickens had a particular ‘insatiable relish’ with Dickens’s interest in science, Dickens and Race offers a unique contextualisation of Dickens’s fictional engagements with race in relation to his lesser-known journalism, with wider nineteenth-century debates about differences between humans, with issues of empire, and with the race shows of London. Dickens and Race will be useful to academics, postgraduates and undergraduates who are interested in Charles Dickens, Victorian studies, with racial difference and empire, and childhood.”

 George MacDonald

George MacDonald: Divine Carelessness and Fairytale Levity by Daniel Gabelman

Gabelman, Daniel. George MacDonald: Divine Carelessness and Fairytale Levity. Waco: Baylor UP, 2013.

From the Publisher: “The Scottish poet, author, and Christian minister George MacDonald is widely known as an inspiration for the works of C. S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkien, and Lewis Carroll, among others. Nineteenth century photographs of MacDonald present a forbidding visage, embodying Victorian-era solemnity. Yet behind the facade, as Daniel Gabelman writes, lived a whimsical and fantastical muse. Indeed, MacDonald imbued theological weight through childlike lightheartedness. Gabelman ably reveals in MacDonald’s writings a bridge between playfulness and seriousness in the modern imagination. George MacDonald delivers a balanced reading of its subject that ultimately lends a new theological and literary weight to whimsy.”

George MacDonald Exposes False Conflicts by Mary Ellis Taylor

Taylor, Mary Ellis. George MacDonald Exposes False Conflicts: Jesus/God: Justice/mercy: Science/religion. Bloomington, IN: AuthorHouse, 2004.

From the Publisher: “George MacDonald Exposes False Conflicts is the only book to bring the rich, healing insights of nineteenth century George MacDonald into the present so that they interact with contemporary religious and scientific movements and conflicts. MacDonald discovered that certain inherited beliefs contain hidden conflicts between Jesus and God, between divine justice and divine mercy, and between science and religion. This book offers George MacDonald’s powerful, plausible, and enlivening ways to think about these relationships.”

Victorian Culture

The Age of Doubt: Tracing the Roots of Our Religious Uncertainty by Christopher Lane

Lane, Christopher. The Age of Doubt: Tracing the Roots of Our Religious Uncertainty. New Haven: Yale UP, 2011. Print.

Lane’s book tells the story of religious doubt in the Victorian period by examining the lives of such important historical figures as George Lyell, Alfred Tennyson, George Elliot, Herbert Spencer, and Thomas Carlyle. Lane looks at each individual and extrapolates an argument about the greater culture’s struggle with scientific discoveries and those discoveries implications for religious belief. Ultimately, Lane’s goal is to trace a path from nineteenth century concerns to modern debates about religious belief and disbelief. Although at times Lane’s argument is rooted in older theories about nineteenth century religious belief, the work is an elegantly written work and a concise examination of a complex historical issue.

Crafting the Woman Professional in the Long Nineteenth Century: Artistry and Industry in Britain by Kyriaki Hadjiafxendi (Editor), Patricia Zakreski (Editor)

Hadjiafxendi, Kyriaki, and Patricia Zakreski, eds. Crafting the Woman Professional in the Long Nineteenth Century-artistry and Industry in Britain. Farnham: Ashgate, 2013.

From the Publisher:” Over the course of the nineteenth century, women in Britain participated in diverse and prolific forms of artistic labour. As they created objects and commodities that blurred the boundaries between domestic and fine art production, they crafted subjectivities for themselves as creative workers. By bringing together work by scholars of literature, painting, music, craft and the plastic arts, this collection argues that the constructed and contested nature of the female artistic professional was a notable aspect of debates about aesthetic value and the impact of industrial technologies. All the essays in this volume set up a productive inter-art dialogue that complicates conventional binary divisions such as amateur and professional, public and private, artistry and industry in order to provide a more nuanced understanding of the relationship between gender, artistic labour and creativity in the period. Ultimately, how women faced the pragmatics of their own creative labour as they pursued vocations, trades and professions in the literary marketplace and related art-industries reveals the different ideological positions surrounding the transition of women from industrious amateurism to professional artistry.”

The Victorian Diary: Authorship and Emotional Labour (Nineteenth Century Series) by Anne-Marie Millim

Millim, Anne-Marie. The Victorian Diary: Authorship and Emotional Labour. Farnham: Ashgate, 2013. Print. The Nineteenth Century Ser.

From the Publisher: “In her examination of neglected diaristic texts, Anne-Marie Millim expands the field of Victorian diary criticism by complicating the conventional notion of diaries as mainly private sources of biographical information. She argues that for Elizabeth Rigby Eastlake, Henry Crabb Robinson, George Eliot, George Gissing, John Ruskin, Edith Simcox and Gerard Manley Hopkins, the exposure or publication of their diaries was a real possibility that they either coveted or feared. Millim locates the diary at the intersection of the public and private spheres to show that well-known writers and public figures of both sexes exploited the diary’s self-reflexive, diurnal structure in order to enhance their creativity and establish themselves as authors. Their object was to manage, rather than to indulge or repress, their emotions for the purposes of perfecting their observational and critical skills. Reading these diaries as literary works in their own right, Millim analyses their crucial role in the construction of authorship. By relating these Victorian writers’ diaries to their publications and to contemporary works of cultural criticism, Millim shows the multifarious ways in which diaristic practices, emotional management and professional output corresponded to experiences of the literary marketplace and to nineteenth-century codes of propriety.”