Class Discussion in the Blogosphere

This is our course website, where I will post excerpts from texts, videos, etc. for you to comment on for extra credit toward your participation grade. I will also post required blog post assignments to this site. Please read the “About” page before commenting on posts.


“I thought I could earn my living by teaching”

So says Lady Isabel to her uncle, Lord Mount Severn, when he finds her living in Grenoble in the November 1860 installment of East Lynne. Her plan, as the narrator explains earlier in the novel, is to “Put the child out to nurse, conceal her name, and go out as governess in a French or German family” (349). Not surprisingly, Lord Mount Severn is not keen to have his niece work for a living; he admonishes her not to “add romantic folly to [her] other mistakes” and inquires, “And how much did you anticipate the teaching would bring you in?” (361). Isabel’s uncertain response is “A hundred a year, perhaps: I am very clever at music and singing. That sum might keep us, I fancy, even if I only went out by day” (361). Her uncle then announces that she “shall have that sum every quarter,” or £400 a year, which is far more than a governess would earn. But is Isabel correct when she speculates that she could £100 a year as a governess?

Below is an article from an 1843 issue of Punch, commenting on an advertisement for a governess published in the Times. According to the article, how much would a governess make a year if she were to accept employment as a morning daily governess for the Islington family? How much would she make if she found “two other employers of equal liberality” to work for as well? According to the article, how does a governess’s salary compare to that of a housemaid? According to your currency handout, how does a governess’s salary compare to other salaries? How does the Punch article compare to this post about teaching that has been circulating on social media?

You needn’t limit yourself to answering these questions in your comments. If you have other relevant comments to make about the article, please feel free to do so.

DUE DATE: Monday, April 3

Punch_To Daily Governesses_1843


Blog Post #3: Reading All the Year Round

23-great-expectations-fullLast week we finished our reading of The Woman in White. Next week we begin our reading of Great Expectations. For your second blog post on The UCM Illustrated News, you are invited to reflect on ending and beginning these novels, both of which were published in weekly installments in All the Year Round, while reading other serialized novels. In addition to creating an original post, please comment on one of your colleagues’ posts.

If it is your first time posting, please be sure to read the “About” page on our course blog before posting. If it is your first time commenting, please be sure to read the “About” page on our course WordPress site before commenting

  • Posts are due on Saturday, March 18 by 11:59pm
  • Comments are due on Sunday, March 19 by 11:59pm

“There he lay, unowned,unknown; exposed to the flippant curiosity of the French mob”

L0042495 People visiting the morgue in Paris to view the cadavers.

Wellcome Collection

So remarks Walter Hartright upon seeing Count Fosco’s body in the Paris Morgue in the 25 August installment of The Woman in White. As we discussed briefly in class today, the Paris Morgue was a tourist attraction in the nineteenth century. As part of their Forensics: The Anatomy of Crime exhibition, the Wellcome Collection‘s Taryn Coin created a blog about the Paris Morgue. If you would like to read more about it follow this link.

Spotify Playlist for English 129

4589602254_12e8dc9bc9For your listening pleasure, I have created a Spotify playlist of music that is mentioned or alluded to in our course readings. It includes songs from Balfe’s opera The Bohemian Girl that are featured in both East Lynne and Framley Parsonage, as well as pieces by Rossini and Donizetti that Fosco performs in The Woman in White. The version of Balfe’s “When Other Lips” that I played for you at the beginning of class last week, by OperaBabes, is no longer available on Spotify, so I have added one by Heddle Nash, and English tenor. Joseph Augustine Wade’s “‘Twere Vain to Tell Thee All I Feel” (mentioned in East Lynne) is not available on Spotify either, but I have added another of his songs: “Meet Me by Moonlight Alone.” So far there is about an hour  and a half of music; I will add more throughout the semester.

Blog Post #1: Mind the Gap

framley_parsonage_serializedDue to Presidents’ Day, we have almost two weeks to read the next installments of The Woman in WhiteFramley Parsonage, and East Lynne. Take this opportunity to spread out your reading more than you would in a regular week. Doing so will better allow you to “Mind the Gap” between serial installments. For your first blog post on The UCM Illustrated News, you are invited to reflect on this temporal space between installments, as well as where and how the installments begin and end. You may focus on one particular gap in a single novel, a gap that affects two novels (e.g. Framley Parsonage and East Lynne, which were both published monthly), or several gaps in one or more of the novels. Write about something that truly interests you. Whatever direction you choose, be sure to read the “About” page on our course blog before posting there.

Questions to consider: Does anything intrigue or even surprise you about the way installments begin and end? Are there any patterns that emerge? How would you describe the experience of waiting to read the next installment? What happens during the gap? You needn’t answer all of these questions; they are here to get you thinking. If there are other questions you would like to address, please feel free to do so.

DUE DATE: Sunday, February 26 by 11:59pm

Vinegar Valentines


Valentine (c. 1870)

It may seem strange to us that Victorians sent each other Valentines like the one above, but send them they did. Read this post at for more information about and examples of “Vinegar Valentines.” Are these cards less surprising to you given the various plots of the novels we are reading? Why or why not? Can you imagine one of our characters sending one of these cards to another character? If so, who would send which card to whom? Why?

Comments section closes on Friday, February 17.

Presentation Groups

Blackwood’s Magazine (Monday, April 3)

  • Beyanira Bautista
  • Cynthia Romero
  • Lawrence Rush
  • Mason Witter

Cornhill Magazine (Monday, March 20)

  • Efren Alvara
  • Elle Lammouchi
  • Katie Oswald
  • Van Vang

Illustrated London News (Monday, April 17)

  • Natalia Alvarado
  • Alexis Blanco
  • Ciarra McCormick
  • Ruth Serrano

Punch (Monday, April 10)

  • Tiffany Day
  • Anita Kiannasr
  • Monica Perales
  • Lyndsay Teegarden

Thank you for your patience. I did my best to give everyone their first choice, but it wasn’t possible. All of the periodicals are worth researching; I’m sure they will all yield interesting projects.