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Articles on Victorian era

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Dotheboys Hall, from Nicholas Nickleby by Charles Dickens. Illustration by ‘Phiz’ (Hablot K. Browne). Image scan and text Jacqueline Banerjee, Associate Editor, Victorian Web

Charles Dickens and the push for literacy in Victorian Britain

Dickens's novels highlighted the poverty of education for the working classes. The all-important Education Act was finally passed in the year of his death.
Crinolines, by design, made physical contact nearly impossible. Hulton Archive/Stringer via Getty Images

The fashionable history of social distancing

In the past, maintaining physical distance was an important aspect of public life – and clothes played a big role.
Image from ‘Criminal man, according to the classification of Cesare Lombroso’ (1911). Internetarchivebookimages/Flickr

How tattoos became fashionable in Victorian England

We may think tattooing is a modern phenomenon, but the reasons for its popularity are not dissimilar to those seen in the prisons and convict ships of the Victorian era.
Visitors walk through Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama’s installation ‘Fireflies on the Water.’ maurizio mucciola/flickr

In dandelions and fireflies, artists try to make sense of climate change

Images of wildfires are powerful, but can make climate catastrophe seem like something spectacular and distant. So some artists are focusing on the plants and bugs in our immediate surroundings.
As extreme weather events, like Hurricane Florence, become more common it is time to ask what it will take for the world to finally tackle climate change. Encouragingly, there may be a historical precedent: Victoria London’s handling of the ‘Great Stink’, where growth had turned the River Thames into an open sewer. EPA/JIM LO SCALZO

Will 2018 be the year of climate action? Victorian London’s ‘Great Stink’ sewer crisis might tell us

As climate extremes mount, let's reflect on Victorian London's 'Great Stink' sewage crisis - when things finally became so bad authorities were forced to accept evidence, reject sceptics, and act.
Almost 1,500 immigrant boys, aged 10 to 17, were separated from their parents and brought to stay at Casa Padre in Brownsville, Texas. Department of Health and Human Services

Breaking up families? America looks like a Dickens novel

There are strong parallels between the Trump administration’s policy on immigrant families and the 19th century's 'New' Poor Laws of England, whose cruelty was illuminated by writer Charles Dickens.

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