Nineteenth-Century Prose

Articles from Vol. 29, No. 1, Spring

"A Nobler End": Mary Webb and the Victorian Platform
This article calls for a more careful examination of dramatic reader Mary Webb, one of the first black women to take the public platform in Great Britain. It examines four sets of issues surrounding Webb's "performance" of race and takes the materials...
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Any Questions? the Gendered Dimensions of the Political Platform
Through a comparison of the political performance and reception of the Chartist Mary Ann Walker and the social reformer Josephine Butler, this article considers how changes in the organization of public meetings in the mid-Victorian decades helped...
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Aspects of Platform Culture in Nineteenth-Century Britain
This Introduction provides background to the more focused essays that follow. It calls attention to the continued neglect of the nineteenth-century platform, and especially--in the wake of Meisel's recent study of the political platform--of the lecture,...
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Charles Kingsley Speaking in Public: Empowered or at Risk?
This article juxtaposes an article by Roland Barthes with accounts of Charles Kingsley speaking in public, to argue that the platform is potentially a site of risk as well as power. This article suggests that Kingsley was engaged in fashioning himself...
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Finding an Audience: The Political Platform, the Lecture Platform, and the Rhetoric of Self-Help
This article examines the influence of the experience of public speech on the literary career of Samuel Smiles, archetypal Victorian proponent of the gospel of self-help. Notwithstanding Smiles' extensive written output of nearly 30 books, innumerable...
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From the Editor
The present Special Issue on "Platform Culture in Nineteenth-Century Britain" by Guest Editor and Editorial Board member Martin Hewitt, is a companion volume to the Fall 2000 (27/2) issue of Nineteenth-Century Prose, which was a Special Issue on "Rhetoric."...
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Seen but Not Heard? Women's Platforms, Respectability, and Female Publics in the Mid-Nineteenth Century
This article explores the role of the press in defining the boundaries of respectable feminine activity in the public sphere in mid-nineteenth-century Britain. Through an examination of the reporting of women's meetings and appeals to female opinion,...
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The Egyptian Hall and the Platform of Transatlantic Exchange: Charles Browne, P. T. Barnum, and Albert Smith
This article examines the careers of three mid-century performers, the Americans Charles Browne and P. T. Barnum, and the Englishman Albert Smith. Their appearances at the Egyptian Hall, Piccadilly offer an alternative account of transatlantic cultural...
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The Enslaved as Spectacle: Ellen Craft, Sarah Parker Remond, and American Slavery in England
Focusing on the lecture tours of African American abolitionists Ellen Craft (1851) and Sarah Parker Remond (1859), this paper argues their appearances and appeals on the platform capitalized on their English audiences' fascination with the "tragic...
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Working the Room: The Cases of Mary H. Kingsley and H.G. Wells
Within a ten-year period at the turn of the century, both Mary Kingsley and H.G. Wells placed themselves in the public eye as active lecturers and contributors to periodicals. However, as authoritative voices (and bodies) on the lecture platform, both...
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