Gothic exhibition at the Library of Birmingham

_GBP3778Last week was the launch of Gothic, an exhibition of work by students at Birmingham City University. We’ve been working towards this for a while now and the exhibition, curated by Grace Williams, represents some of the fantastic work done by our students as well as offering a fascinating perspective on Gothic in the 21st century. Gothic is endlessly inspiring, it seems, and appears in our arts and culture in very different, unexpected ways, and this exhibition, which includes photography, painting and jewellery, reflects this and the ongoing relevance of Gothic as a cultural influence.

Last week saw the opening event of the exhibition, which was pleasingly well attended, and we ha_GBP3716d the opportunity to enjoy readings of creative writing by School of English students Charlotte Newman, Bex Price and Abigail Cooper. The exhibition itself provides some excellent examples of the way in which artists can reinterpret or be inspired by Gothic themes.

Exhibiting artists include:

Jivan Astfalck, Sally Bailey, Rachel Colley, Alessandro Columbano, Gregory Dunn, Jodie Drinkwater, Joanna Fursman, Anneka French, Bruno Grilo, Ole Hagen, Hannah Honeywill, Shelley Hughes, Sevven Kucuk, Jo Longhurst, Amy Lunn, Paul Newman, Wendi Ann Titmus, Cathy Wade, Grace A Williams and Rafal Zar.

Ther_GBP3700e isn’t space for me to comment on every work included, unfortunately, but it’s fair to say that the macabre and unsettling is a feature of most of the works included. There is jewellery which includes vintage stones, in a beautiful, unusual pendant by Jivan Astfalck, and Rachael Colley’s ‘Sovereign’, a ring set with sawdust and blood, a macabre echo of the hair mourning jewellery popular in the nineteenth century. More traditionally, Jodie Drinkwater’s ‘Something Wicked This Way Comes’ is a pen and ink drawing of a monstrous figure of a man on the rooftops of a Victorian city, indicating the fear of the unknown which can penetrate the familiar.The beautiful often contains the terrible, as Sevven Kucuk’s ‘Still Life with ApplesGBA_3530 – but no Oranges’ indicates (the title referencing Cezanne); the image of the glowing fruit in an urn-like container recalls Renaissance memento mori, reminding us that decay is present in everything.

The historical echoes of Gothic in the nineteenth century are all around even in this new work. As Julian Wolfreys points out in Victorian Hauntings, the Victorian period is, culturally, what we picture when we think of Gothic:

‘…all that black, all that crepe, all that jet and swirling fog… These and other phenomena, such as the statuary found in cemeteries _GBP3699such as Highgate, are discernible as being fragments – manifestations of a haunting, and, equally, haunted, “Gothicized” sensibility.’

Grace Williams’ print ‘Escamotage’ references a nineteenth century ‘vanishing trick’ in which the female body appears to disappear from under a Persian rug, which both reveals and conceals the female form. Gothic, with its complex relationship to the position of women – historically both reinforcing the subjection of women and simultaneously offering them a freedom as ‘other’, as deviant from the norm – provides a context to the image which makes it all the more disturbing. Wendi Ann Titmus’s mixed media images ‘Intellectual Uncertainty’ similarly disconcert the viewer, blurring boundaries between innocence and the macabre, reality and fantasy, and even fear and humour._GBP3696

These and many other exhibits are worth taking time over, considering how they relate to Gothic and also how they reflect the uncertainties we feel about the past as well as the anxieties of the present. Do go along to the Library of Birmingham and have a look at the exhibition, which is on the 3rd floor and runs until May 2nd.

All images (c) Graeme Braidwood Photography.

Book Review: The Wake

wake cover_illustrationIt’s a brave author who launches readers into a completely alien world with an unreliable and often unlikeable narrator who doesn’t quite speak our language as our only guide, but that is what The Wake, by Paul Kingsnorth, does, and it works. I rarely say this, but I was blown away by this novel, and only hope it gains the readership it deserves. This is an unusual book not just for its writing but also for its provenance, as the first crowd-funded novel (published by Unbound) to be long-listed for the Booker Prize; it’s also won the Gordon Burn Prize and been shortlisted for the Goldsmiths Prize. It’s also a beautiful book – the cover of the hardback has a striking green man on it. I wrote about a talk I attended by Paul Kingsnorth last year, which offers the author’s perspective on the subject of the novel.

The book is narrated by Buccmaster of Holland, a man of the Fens relating the events of the Norman invasion. His point of view is highly subjective, and the reader quickly becomes aware that he is prone to exaggeration, not always truthful, often violent, as well as a jealous and defensive man with entrenched beliefs. Yet he is a remarkable character, and utterly believable. The story is very much his own, though it is also the story of a conquered people and the response that the apocalyptic events of 1066 and its aftermath provoke from the English. From the time when Buccmaster’s sons go off to fight the invading French, through the fierce repression of Norman rule with its brutal killings, heavy taxes and oppressive regime, we see the effects on a man who prides himself on his Englishness, who is keenly aware of his own importance as a man with a large house and land to farm, and whose place in the world is literally taken from him. When he loses everything, Buccmaster retreats to the woods, becoming a ‘green man’, like Hereward the Wake of whom the men in the woods hear. From the woods Buccmaster and his motley band fight the French – but we know, of course, that his dreams of reclaiming England for the English are doomed. In fact, one of the ways in which this novel is powerful is precisely because we know the historical outcome; Buccmaster is in many ways a tragic hero, battling hopelessly for his own place in history, hanging on to what he believes in even though every reader will know that this is futile. It’s the fate of Buccmaster himself which keeps the reader in suspense, and the drive of his flawed character which holds a strange appeal.

Much of this focus on terrible events, individual responses to them, and particularly the focus on the land, the Hereward the Wakeenvironment of our world as a source of potential salvation, resonates with the Dark Mountain project with which Kingsnorth is involved. In Buccmaster’s insistence on a return to the land as a source of salvation, many will see resonances with modern ecological thought, though the spiritual and increasingly fanatical nature of his belief is also perhaps a warning.The motivation of the Dark Mountain project is this:

‘The Project grew out of a feeling that contemporary literature and art were failing to respond honestly or adequately to the scale of our entwined ecological, economic and social crises. We believe that writing and art have a crucial role to play in coming to terms with this reality, and in questioning the foundations of the world in which we find ourselves.’

Such a sense of how one copes with national (if not global) crisis is represented in The Wake, clearly, but the book does more than this; it questions how we structure the world around us, what we believe in, what motivates us, and how we construct our identities and sense of self accordingly. For Buccmaster, his identity comes from the land and his belief in the ‘eald hus’ – the old English gods whom his grandfather communicated with before Christianity reached England. Yet readers are able to see the flaws in his structures of belief, such as his hatred of ‘ingengas’ – foreign invaders – whilst maintaining a deep belief in gods which were Norse in origin – Woden, Thor, etc. Perhaps the opportunity for readers to deconstruct Buccmaster’s identity also invites us to consider how we have constructed Bayeux tapestryour own sense of self, and whether this is perhaps founded on things not true, or clung to because it is easier to believe than the truth.

The novel is very much not allegorical; it is rooted in the history of the time and reflects deep research into the Norman conquest. Yet there are echoes of other times and places, including our own time. In the occupation of England and the terrible reprisals for any resistance, there are obvious parallels with Occupied France and Vietnam, for example. But Buccmaster’s insistence on connecting with the land of his birth as a way of saving England, burying his head in the sand rather than see the inevitability of disaster, has endless parallels, not least for ecological campaigns. Moreover, at a time when we are thinking politically in the run-up to the General Election, where immigration and debates of ‘Englishness’, ‘Britishness’ and foreign policy are rising in frequency, it’s worth reflecting on a novel which points out that perhaps parochialism is always doomed, that change is inevitable, and that Britain is, after all, not so purely British and none the worse for it, over centuries since the Scandinavian settlers of whom Buccmaster’s grandfather talks.

Reviews of the book have tended to focus on the language: it’s written in what the author calls a ‘shadow tongue’, a version of Old English mixed in with modern syntax. A note in the book explains why he did this – primarily because of his own concern with historical novels which use modern English, a concern I share (and one of the reasons I’m often dubious about historical fiction). A brief glossary is provided for the more obscure words, and after a few Fen in mistchapters one quickly falls into the rhythm of the prose, which avoids words introduced into English after 1066 (so no Gallicisms, then), and is therefore limited in its lexical range – but this seems to work: to be fair, I studied Old English as part of my undergraduate degree so it probably seemed less alien to me than it would to many readers, but it’s well worth getting to grips with (and in fact, about halfway through the novel I found I was dreaming with Old English words!) Please don’t let the language put you off: it doesn’t inhibit – and in fact enhances – both beautiful prose and a startling immediacy of narration. As an example, here is a passage where Buccmaster returns to the site of his house:

‘there was a mist on the land and high was my heorte to be baec in the place i had cum from and wolde always be of. the paths here was not to the paths of the holt with great deorc  treows all around these was fenn paths. sum times they gan through meados and past eald small hams but micel time they gan through the fens with secg on both sides and this gladdened my heorte. the fugols that sang here was the fugols i cnawan and the heofon was the heofon of my cildehood and for a small time i felt that my heorte had cum baec to where it sceolde always be.’

As you can see, the language quickly becomes intelligible, though the odd word needs translating (fugols are birds, for example), but the descriptions of the land, in particular, are somehow stronger, simpler and more beautiful for their restricted language. Indeed, having to concentrate a bit more than usual because of the language also heightens the experience of reading the book. The fact that the whole novel is presented in present tense, in a very consistent, one-person narration, means that readers have to glean what clues they can from the text concerning the world outside Buccmaster’s narrow view, but the wider world is there, and it is often brutal and terrifying, and often beautiful.

Sargent’s Portraits

RodinThere have been many positive reviews of the National Portrait Gallery’s ‘Sargent: Portraits of Artists and Friends’, and it’s easy to see why. The exhibition tells us a great deal about the man and his work, his approach to his work and his versatility, and about the fin-de-siecle art scene. Many of the portraits on display are of influential people in Sargent’s world: other painters, patrons, writers, society figures and so on. Sargent was deeply interested in literature and music as well as art, so these are also represented here.

In the paintings, it’s often (though not always) the case that the figure could be present before you, so strong is the impression given – for example, in the wonderful portrait of Rodin, who I wanted to outstare in order to penetrate his thoughts. Yet this is no photographic realism, but something much more subtle; it somehow manifests the sitter’s – and artist’s – spirit, giving the viewer a sense of personality by the power of the portrait. ‘Sumptuous’ is the rather clichéd word I would use for many of these paintings: in the backgrounds, the fabRehearsalrics, the glimpses of flesh, the clothes, the women’s hair and the men’s impressive beards. Yet there is a sense that the artist is (mostly) not idealising his sitters and their settings, but representing them through his own idiosyncratic painter’s eyes. This is evident in the unsmiling children of ‘Portraits de M. E.P. et de Mlle. L.P.’ – it seems to me that this is less idealising the children than painting them as they were – refusing to smile when asked, perhaps, as children do – and it makes for an arresting image.

The exhibition demonstrates how his work crosses artistic boundaries, then, in terms of his engagement with a broad spectrum of the arts, but also in terms of artistic style. Many of his paintings, particularly in the ‘Student Friends and Young Artists’ section show elements of Impressionism in his work, in the brush strokes and loose repreMonetsentational style. ‘Roman Subercaseaux in a Gondola’ shows us a very different Sargent to that of his most famous portraits such as ‘Madame X’ (which isn’t here). The life and movement (and implied sound) of ‘Rehearsal of the Pasdeloup Orchestra at the Cirque D’Hiver’ also recalls the lively social scenes of Impressionism. Two portraits of Monet are included here, and they are strikingly different and suggest his boldness: in one, his features are portrayed starkly in relief as he looks away from the viewer, in as unImpressionist a painting as one could imagine, while in the other, of Monet painting, the style reflects – or even parodies? – Monet’s own work.

The showstoppers are the large, famous paintings such as ‘Dr PozzEllen_Terry_as_Lady_Macbethi at home’, an ecclesiastical style painting of the gynaecologist looking regal (and not at all domestic), and ‘Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose’, described as his ‘masterpiece’ – though I can see it is a painting in which Sargent’s international mix of styles reaches a sophisticated climax, I must confess that as a painting I find it a little cloying and not to my taste. To my mind the paintings to which I want to return are the spectacular, Pre-Raphaelite-influenced ‘Ellen Terry as Lady MacBeth’, even more spectacular and frightening in the flesh (paint), and the marvellous portraits of Robert Louis Stevenson, showing a Mr Hyde side to his character in his compelling, RLSsomewhat scary eyes. In one portrait he is sitting staring enigmatically at the viewer, and in the other, in a display of barely repressed energy which prickles on the canvas, he is walking away from his wife (who is unaccountably sparkly). The painting gives the impression that he is excitedly discussing an idea, and cannot contain his enthusiasm; the portrait looks like a photograph in its construction if not in its style.

The exhibition demonstrates how Sargent’s life and work crosses boundaries,Dr_Pozzi_at_Home then: across continents, across artistic forms, across styles and movement in painting. Old and new appear: Sargent’s work seems in many ways poised between the Victorian and the modern, looking both forward and back, and his portraits, of the up-and-coming (such as W. Graham Robertson) and the grand sages of the passing era (Edmund Gosse, Coventry Patmore) reflect this not just in their subjects but in their styles. Women dominate, however: looking around the gallery, they are the large, bright, flamboyant figures, not just beautiful but also fierce, strong, dramatic. There are many exceptions, of course, including ‘Dr Pozzi’, and I don’t want to draw simplistic conclusions, but many of the men are sombre, suited, stuffy, even: his interest in female beauty and strength is as apparent as his enthusiasm for the drama of power. Perhaps the line Sargent doesn’t cross, though, is that of class: the paintings are mostly of the successful, the famous and the well-to-do. This exhibition tells us a great deal about Sargent, though perhaps not the full story (there are few landscapes, obviously, in an exhibition of portraits) but these paintings give us a marvellous sampling of the range of his talents.

Magna Carta: past, present and future

painting-john-unknown-49805If you’re anything like me, you’ll be vaguely aware of Magna Carta and – in a vague way – that it is important as a historical document, and that it was written 800 years ago. I must admit I’d never given it much thought, though, so the British Library’s new exhibition, Magna Carta: Law, Liberty, Legacy, taught me a lot. On the first Sunday of the Easter holidays, it was packed and probably the slowest-moving exhibition I’ve ever visited (partly because you need to look closely and read every information panel), but it’s well worth spending time here. The exhibition shows documents from well before 1215 which were precursors to the Charter granted by King John at Runnymede, and it’s fascinating to have the opportunity to look at the tiny script and often rather scrappy documents of these hugely significant papers (I enjoyed mentally comparing them to official papers today, which seem rather boring). The documents are in Old English, Old French or Latin, as well as tiny writing, so it’s difficult to read much of them, but sections are translated in the panels so a good gist of them can be gained.

The exhibition unfolds a story, then, of ‘bad King John’ who needed to appease magna-carta-1215-cotton-augustusrebel barons, and did so with this document which has been significant for British law ever since. (There is a translation of it here, if you’re interested). From servants to political freedom, the ‘ancient liberties and free customs’ of the city of London, to inheritance, debts and crimes, there are familiar phrases in the text and familiar ideas, too, even though most of its laws have now been repealed. The closing exhibits are two copies of the Charter, one severely damaged but they other preserved enough to read (if your eyesight’s good!)

What is particularly interesting about the exhibition is the insight it offers into how Magna Carta has been interpreted and re-purposed cartoon-captioned-votes-for-women-C-121-g-1across its 800-year history. For example, in 1915 in The Englishwoman, Helena Normanton argued that the disenfranchisement of women went against sections 39 and 40 of Magna Carta, presumably on the grounds that liberties were offered to all ‘freemen’, a term which might also include women. In 1934, it was again evoked in a cartoon entitled ‘Pageant of Liberty at Runnymede’, in which those who have fought for freedom appear to be upstaged by Oswald Mosley of the British Union of Fascists and his ‘Magnissima Carta’. (There’s a great article about Magna Carta in the twentieth century here).

Two of Rudyard Kipling’s poems were included as examples of the enduring legacy of Runnymede; KIpling, patriot and poet of Empire, was fascinated by the enshrinement of political freedom which Magna Carta represented, and in ‘The Reeds of Runnymede’ he reimagines the creation of the document and reminds his readers that these ideas remain important. Similarly, in ‘The Old Issue’, written on the outbreak of the Boer War in 1899, he emphasises the lessons of the past which are enshrined in these old laws, suggesting that the issues cartoon-pageant-liberty-runnymede-lse2067at stake never change as human nature remains the same, and the struggle between the ruler and the ruled goes on – freedom must sometimes be regained.

Ancient Right unnoticed as the breath we draw—
Leave to live by no man’s leave, underneath the Law.

The exhibition describes Magna Carta as one of Britain’s greatest exports. From early American laws to the Bill of Rights, to providing downloadinspiration for human rights legislation in the twentieth century, its significance is huge and much further-reaching than I had imagined. And echoes of it go on and on: in 2008 Peter Brookes’ cartoon ‘Magna Carta, Mini Carta’ mocks the anti-terrorism act, for example. The document may not be the law it was, but it shaped the law we have, and, more than that, it has become a symbol of British freedoms, of rebellion against excessive rule, and of the power of the people.

Gothic in Birmingham

Gothic Poster 150dpiI’m very excited to be organising an event and exhibition on Gothic at the Library of Birmingham. With help from students, I’m putting together a day of talks on Gothic from literature to Goth culture, open to everyone and free to attend, while an exhibition will feature work from BCU students which relates to Gothic. I haven’t yet got a completed programme for the day, but below is the press release, plus the beautiful poster designed by Grace Williams, who is also curating the exhibition. If you’re interested, please follow us on twitter @gothicinbrum, find us on facebook ( or look at the blog:

Library of Birmingham turns Gothic for an exhibition hosted by Birmingham City University.

Press Release by Holly Barry, student in the School of Media.

On Saturday 2nd May 2015, BCU will be hosting an Interdisciplinary Gothic Event  at the Library of Birmingham, showcasing all things Gothic. There will also be an exhibition, running from 7th April – 2nd May to accompany the main event, both organised by Dr. Serena Trowbridge from the School of English with support from second year English student Bex Price.

The event will consist of several talks about different areas of Gothic – fashion, architecture, literature, photography and more. The exhibition is being curated by Grace Williams, a PhD student in the School of Art, and will include a wide range of works by BCU students.

Serena Trowbridge, the organiser, tells us about how the event came about: “I’ve just started teaching a new module on Gothic as part of the BA English, which has been really popular with students. The subject has such a broad appeal as Gothic reinvents itself for every generation.”

Shannon Kooner, a student of the School of English agrees: “Whilst studying the Gothic, I felt the texts specified for us to study were extremely interesting as well as covering a diverse range of topics which worked interchangeably with the Gothic. I would gladly study this module over again!”Gothic Icon

Another student also confirmed: “One of the most interesting modules I’ve studied. I was really surprised by the texts- when you think of Gothic you expect everything to be very cliched, which was absolutely not the case! Great range of ideas and texts covered, extremely interesting.”

Serena says the event should prove popular with the public: “Gothic is a very interdisciplinary subject which also has a wide popular appeal so it’s ideal for a public event. I’m extremely excited about it!”

Dr. Trowbridge’s book, Christina Rossetti’s Gothic, which was published in 2013, grew out of her Ph.D. thesis which she completed at BCU.

As well as the exhibition itself, there will also be a blog dedicated to this event where there will be regular posting of news, updates and any written work revolving around the Gothic theme. You can read it at, or find more information on twitter @gothicinbrum. There is also a facebook group: for contributors and attendees.

Serena adds: “The event and exhibition as a whole will be an incredible way to showcase work for BCU students, to network across the Faculty and to be involved in a fun cultural event. We have some fantastically talented students in the Faculty and it will be great to display their work to the public.”

The event will be open to anyone and admission is free.

Book Review: The Undiscovered Country: Journeys among the Dead

The Great Day of His Wrath 1851-3 by John Martin 1789-1854Is there life after death? What happens to the body, and the soul, after death? The Undiscovered Country by Carl Watkins, a medieval historian, explores these biggest of questions and asks how our beliefs surrounding these issues affect the rituals we practice after a death. This is, I’ll admit, not the cheeriest of subjects, but it’s written with such enthusiasm and depth of research that it’s difficult not to enjoy the book.

Watkins’ idiosyncratic approach is to discuss the topic of death and the body chronologically whilst moving around the British Isles giving examples of different treatments of the corpse. Opening with a discussion of the fall from popularity of John Martin’s enormous, vivid picture ‘The Great Day of his Wrath’ (1851-3) as belief in hell became less widespread, the book covers a great deal of ground. I’m researching graveyard poetry – such as Gray’s ‘Elegy’ – and consequently have been thinking quite a bit about ways in which we memorialise, reflect on and anticipate death, and reading this book helped me to crystallise some of my thoughts as wBury-St-Edmunds-1697ell as entertaining me with some anecdotes and little histories. For example, while I know that the Reformation changed a great deal in Britain, including ways of worship and the rites of death, I hadn’t really thought about it in the detail Watkins offers: suddenly, if not quite overnight then still rapidly, Purgatory didn’t exist any more. For the reformers, this was obvious and they had seen it coming; for working-class worshippers a long way from London, this was a horrible shock. It became illegal to say prayers for the souls of the dead, which seemed spiritually wrong, if not blasphemous, to many. It also put severe pressure on the church, which no longer received the same level of donations and sponsored chantry chapels, since while the dead could be remembered, to pray for their release from Purgatory was forbidden.

Tomb_of_the_Unknown_Soldier_8The end of Purgatory also meant, in many ways, the ‘death’ of ghosts and spirits. If hauntings were carried out by souls trapped in Purgatory, who required freeing in some way, then suddenly they were vanished too. Examples of early hauntings and their possible interpretations abound in this book, and provide interesting examples of how the belief in the afterlife reflects different tenets of theology as well as other social mores. One’s view on the issue of the resurrection of the body was also reflected in the treatment of the corpse after death, with a widespread belief that the body should be buried intact in holy ground to ensure its reunion with the soul at its resurrection (hence the punishment of burial in non-sacred ground for suicides and criminals).

Moreover, Martin Luther’s insistence that salvation was through faith rather than good works altered the approach to death of many worshippers. Memorials were now perhaps less memento moris, exhorting others to remember their own approaching death with massive tombs, cadaverous statues, and for the wealthy, alms to the poor. Yet such transitions in belief did not come easily, as Watkins explains, using historical examples to illustrate his points.

From Yorkshire to Cornwall, the book goes on to explore the desire of humans to be remembered; how the loss of faith means that different rites may be observed, and how cremation gradually became socially respectable. In a chapter on edwardVictorian spiritualism and its religious purposes we are offered space to reflect on how supposedly scientific advances might combine with religious belief to provide a new story of the afterlife – a way of contacting the dead, both for enhancing earthly wisdom and for consolation for the bereaved. A strength in this and many other chapters is that while some of the ideas expressed may be outlandish to modern minds, Watkins does not judge or mock such a serious subject. The book concludes with the Great War and its mass-memorialisation of a generation of dead men, an interesting exercise in national mourning which encompassed a wide range of beliefs. And as Watkins explains, although the social and religious milieu in which we now live (and die) is very different to that of earlier times, ‘the emotional need for a narrative about the dead remains.’

Insanity and the Lunatic Asylum

insanity and the lunatic asylum_frontInsanity and the Lunatic Asylum in the Nineteenth Century was published in December, a book which grew out of a conference I organised back in 2010 (you can read a report here), and which I’ve been editing with a colleague, Thomas Knowles. It’s a project which has been a long time coming, but we’re delighted with the final book and immensely grateful to our contributors, who have produced some outstanding chapters for the book, and to our editors at Pickering & Chatto. We’ve just had our first review, on the Criminal Lunacy blog written by David J. Vaughan, and I’m delighted it’s so positive about the book. Among other things, it says ‘it opens up a fascinating treasure chest of anecdotal and statistical material,’ and ‘as a collection of thought on the heavily nuanced subject of insanity and its place in – or, more accurately, beyond – nineteenth century society, it delivers with alacrity and aplomb. It was a pleasure to read.’ Details of the book are below.

The nineteenth-century asylum was the scene of both terrible abuses and significant advancements in treatment and care. The essays in this collection look at the asylum from the perspective of the place itself – its architecture, 5730033486_c9bf43c1ecfunding and purpose – and at the experience of those who were sent there. Fictional as well as historical sources are used in order to present a study of the asylum both as it was and as it was perceived in the popular imagination.


Introduction – Serena Trowbridge and Thomas Knowles
Part I: Literary
1 ‘Horrible Dens of Deception’: Thomas Bakewell, Thomas Mulock and Anti-Asylum Sentiments, c.1815–58 – Rebecca Wynter
2 ‘This Most Noble of Disorders’: Matilda Betham on the Reformation of the Madhouse – Elaine Bailey
3 The Legacy of Victorian Asylums in the Landscape of Contemporary British Literature – Thomas Knowles
Part II: Quantitative
4 Building a Lunatic Asylum: ‘A Question of Beer, Milk and the Irish’ – Bernard Melling
5 ‘Just Can’t Work Them Hard Enough’: A Historical Bioarcheological Study of the Inmate Experience at the Oneida County Asylum – Shawn Phillips
6 ‘Always Remember that you are in your Senses’: From Keeper to Attendant to Nurse – Claire Chatterton
7 ‘Atrophied’, ‘Engorged’, ‘Debauched’: Muscle Wastage, Degenerate Mass and Moral Worth in the General Paralytic Patient – Jennifer Wallis
Part III: Cultural
8 ‘Attitudes Passionelles’: The Pornographic Spaces of the Salpêtriére – Amanda Finelli
9 ‘The Poison that Upsets my Reason’: Men, Madness and Drunkenness in the Victorian Period – Kostas Makras
10 ‘Madness and masculinity’: Male Patients in London Asylums and Victorian Culture – Helen Goodman
11 ‘Straitjacket’: A Confined History – Will Wiles