BizarreVictoria: Celebrating 4 Years

Yesterday was my four-year anniversary for this blog! Wow, I have spent a considerable amount of time cussing and talking about dicks. As I said on this anniversary a couple of years ago, this blog “started out a place for me to vent, since I have to be so painfully professional and analytical in my day-to-day work as a PhD student. Sometimes you just need to drop an f-bomb or 75.”

It’s been a big year for me, and for the blog. My PhD studies are now over, I’ve published a total of four articles in academic journals, hosted two international conferences, am working on turning my thesis into a book, and–most importantly–got a job as a university lecturer in English literature. It’s been a wild ride and I’m not entirely sure I could have gotten through it with my sanity in tact if I didn’t have this blog.

If you’d like the 20132014, or 2015 Years In Review, here they are!

As for this year? Well, here are some highlights:

1.) We’ve have some hilariously Bad Book Covers: Pamela, Ivanhoe, Anne of Green Gables, Vanity Fair, Turn of the Screw, She, and The Jungle Book.

2.) I’ve also introduced, with my friend @VictorianMasculinity, a series called “Victorian Snark Theatre 3000”. We’ve recapped Dracula 2000Vanity FairThe Man in the Iron Mask, and The Raven. Coming up soon is Titanic, so keep an eye out for that.

3.) There’s been some weird sex stuff, like grown-ass men who fall in love with children and then get scared by public hair. Or another who died getting a blow-job from his mistress. Oops. Or one gentleman who decided to be the utmost authority on porn.

4.) We’ve also seen some badass women, like Catherine the Great and her terrifying vagina. Or one rural beauty who shot a guy in the face at a ball, rather than take any of his shit. French author Colette had a performance so raunchy that it scandalized even the Moulin Rouge. The fabulous Countess Castiglioni spent her entire fortune on having her photograph taken in hundreds of elaborate costumes (which she used to threaten her estranged husband). The Marchioness of Londonderry gave snobbery a new meaning. There was one scientific woman who carried a kangeroo fetus around in her purse. And another who crashed through the glass ceiling of natural history.

5.) I also looked into more mundane (but still hellishly interesting) aspects of Victorian life. What did the Victorians do with their rubbish? Why was the Victorian era not as clean as Hollywood tells us it was? Where did the Victorians store things if they had no storage space? How did they clean their carpets or bedding? How did they exterminate pests and vermin? What were the rules for mourning? How did they raise their children? What were some examples of Victorian pregnancy tests?

6.) There’s been some odd encounters with animals. One woman was rescued by a lobster. Two elephants were viciously, ostentatiously killed.

7.) In addition to the Bad Book Covers posts, there are a couple of examinations of artwork in the nineteenth century. One shows erotic sexy fun-times with a manic horse. Another, the ridiculous downfall of a respectable wife. Or one brave woman’s near-trampling by horses to get the perfect perspective for her painting. And we can never, ever forget mass mermaid erotica.

8.) There’s always some good examples of fucked-up “science”, like the fear of “tropical ovaries“. One medical cure-all treated everything from cancer to elephantiasis, but not hard corns. Novels apparently cause anxiety. One disreputable family “proved” the claims of both of the opposed eugenics and social welfare movements. The ‘pleasures’ of the water-cure were illustrated in twelve hilarious movements.

9.) We saw some ugly Victorian jewelry, too! Including berthas, earrings made from taxidermied bird heads, Queen Victoria’s bracelet, which was set with the baby teeth of all her children (nope nope nope), and some incredibly expensive jewelry made to look like flies (whyyyyy???).

10.) There were some aristocratic dudes who led perfectly strange lives.

11.) There were also plenty of divas in the form of courtesans.

12.) Finally, we looked at nineteenth-century murders-by-poison, including: arsenic, cyanide, digitalis, hemlock, monkshood, nicotine, opium, phosphorus, strychnine,

These are, by no means, all of the posts I wrote this year, so enjoy a bit of a catch-up if you missed anything.

I’m going to keep up my Monday-Wednesday-Friday posting schedule and will happily keep this going for a fifth year!

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