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« This Week's Acquisitions | Main | This Week's Acquisitions »

February 23, 2015



So (leaving aside the misprinting and/or misbinding, and also the absurdities of the plot, for the moment) the question comes to mind: why was this kind of fictional speech, which cannot have been natural or verisimilitudinous to Victorian audiences either, both valued and popular? Is it modeled on theatrical dialogue, I wonder? I assume there's been work done on this issue.


Besides the sentimental tropes in play, there's a lot of stage melodrama going on--plenty of intense affect, dramatic gestures for the reader to decode, etc. Elaine Hadley's first book, Melodramatic Tactics, does a lot with this. Cf. early Dickens and his illustrators.


Thanks, Miriam. Proving once again that the very badness of bad art may have its intriguing aspects.


If even the proof-reader gives up on a book, perhaps you ought to follow their example.

It's curious how books appear- or don't appear on the internet. There's only one of Dorsey's books available, on Gutenberg, as far as I can see, yet equally unimportant writers have dozens of books available in various places. The English Voltairean, Robert Bage, a much more important writer in many people's opinion - OK, mine, was represented only by the easily-accessible Hermsprong the last time I looked, whereas obscure eighteenth-century pornographers seem to turn up everywhere.

David Starner

Project Gutenberg in the old days was pretty dependent on what could be found in old, clearly public domain editions. That stress has dropped a lot in more recent days, but availability of usable (preferably good) editions is still important. Also, the number of people choosing books to be transcribed on Project Gutenberg is pretty small; there's probably only a couple dozen who have done a significant number of books, and most of those are working on the Greek classics or history or Russian literature instead of non-genre English Victorian novels. What's been transcribed in any one field is based on the whim of one or two people.

And as someone who did some of that eighteenth-century pornography for Project Gutenberg, it amuses the volunteers and attracts eyes, if not always people who read the whole thing. It sells better then Robert Bage, no matter how important.

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