Category: Featured Posts

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About My Blog & Me

I’m Senior Lecturer in English Literature & Cultural History at Liverpool John Moores University, and I specialise in histories of women, gender, and feminism in Britain from the Victorian period to the present day, as well as in neo-victorianism, and contemporary women’s writing. I’m the author of The Widow: A Literary & Cultural History (LUP, 2017). I’m an AHRC/ BBC New Generation Thinker and have made broadcasts about my research on widows in Britain for BBC Radio’3 Free Thinking and The Essay. As part of the scheme, I recently made my first short documentary film – Women & Weeds – for BBC Arts, which will be available online from 1 April 2016.

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[Research] Widows, Weeds, & Victorian Jokes

I knew from the very early stages of my research that, for the Victorians, widows had a lot of tragic as well as comic potential. I don’t think, though, I was prepared to find quite so many widow-related jokes in the pages of periodicals, magazines, and newspapers. As their number increases by the day the more I browse and search, it only seems right to collate them here. So, ladies and gents, be prepared to cry with laughter, chuckle to your heart’s content, or shake your head in disbelief at these pitiful puns and witty lines on which you’re about to feast your eyes at your own peril.

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[Commentary] The Widow & the Law: A Brief History of Widows’ Pensions in Britain

At a time when we remember the First World War, its victims, and its survivors, it seems apt for me to share some of the research I’ve been doing on the literary and cultural history of the widow in Britain, and particularly on how the state’s support and the economic conditions of widowed women has changed in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and reflects both Britain’s development in terms of gender equality as well as the emergence of the welfare state.

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[Commentary] For the Sake of the Children: Widows & Welfare in the 1960s

In the post-war decades, Britain prided itself on the new welfare state and the support it afforded children and mothers. But what about those women who had lost their husbands in the war? This post looks at the picture painted by two sources from the 1960s: a broadcast on child welfare by the Central Office of Information (1962) and a BBC Home Service radio broadcast called “World of the Widow” (1960).

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Women & Belief, 1852-1928

Over recent years, research into religious belief during the Victorian period and the early twentieth century has grown in diversity and importance. The centrality of faith-based discourses to women of the period has long been recognized by scholars in the field. But until now relatively little significance has been attached to the fundamental relationship between women’s faith and women’s rights. This new title in the History of Feminism series remedies that omission. Women and Belief, 1852–1928 is a six-volume collection of primary materials covering a wide range of opinions about women, their self-identity, and the combination of their spiritual and political beliefs.

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Embracing Mediocrity

  Today’s thought is dedicated to those days we all know very well, and tend to file away under the labels “unsuccessful”, “unproductive”, or “unsatisfactory”. Teaching goes ok, but won’t...

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Face Your Fears

I’ve been trying to make this thought sound less dramatic, but somehow “Get Comfortable with Discomfort” didn’t quite sound right, and also vaguely reminded me of adverts for constipation remedies....

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