Whether a secularized morality, biblical worldview, or unstated set of mores, the Victorian period can and always will be distinguished from those before and after for its pervasive sense of the "proper way" of thinking, speaking, doing, and acting. Animals in literature taught Victorian children how to be behave. If you are a postmodern posthumanist, you might argue, "But the animals in literature did not write their own accounts." Animal characters may be the creations of writers’ imagination, but animals did and do exist in their own right, as did and do humans. The original essays in Animals and Their Children in Victorian explore the representation of animals in children’s literature by resisting an anthropomorphized perception of them. Instead of focusing on the domestication of animals, this book analyzes how animals in literature "civilize" children, teaching them how to get along with fellow creatures—both human and nonhuman.
Produced between 1850 and 1862, London Labour and the London Poor is one of the most significant examples of nineteenth-century oral history. The collection teems with the minute particulars of the everyday—bits and pieces of London lives assembled into a precarious whole by the author, editor, and principal investigator, Henry Mayhew. Mayhew was interested in the social fabric of people’s lives, their labour and earnings, but also their families, education, leisure time, and religious beliefs. What gives his “case studies” such immediacy is that they seem to flow unprompted and uninterrupted from the mouths of his subjects: street sellers, dock labourers, musicians, rat catchers, vagrants, chimney sweeps, thieves, and prostitutes. All are captured in this newly annotated and selected edition of Mayhew’s four-volume work. Historical appendices include a contemporary map of London, reviews of London Labour, and other slum journalism from the period.