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Victorian Literature

This guide contains information on the literature of the Victorian Age.

Selected Websites

Victorian Life and Culture 

Charles Booth and the Survey into Life and Labour in London (1886-1903)
Provides an index to the original records of Booth’s Inquiry into the Life and Labour of the People in London, an extensive study of working class life undertaken between 1886 and 1903, which is archived at the London School of Economics and Political Science library. Also contains a great deal of digitized material, including police notebooks and the Maps Descriptive of London Poverty, in which maps of London were color-coded to indicate the poverty level and social class in different areas of the city. 

HISTOP: The Online Historical Population Reports Website 
HISTPOP provides online access to the British population reports for Britain and Ireland from 1801 to 1937 as well as supplementary documents from the National Archives, critical essays, and other material.

The Proceedings of the Old Bailey, 1674-1913
This is a fully searchable collection of the digitized images and electronic text of the proceedings of more than 197,745 criminal trials held at the Old Bailey, London’s Central Criminal Court, from 1674 to 1913. Also includes contemporary maps, images, and other supplementary material. Essential resource for anyone researching crime and punishment in Britain during this time period. 

Studies in Scarlet: Marriage and Sexuality in the U.S. and U.K. (1815-1914)
Digitized images of more than 420 separately published trial narratives from the extensive collections of the Harvard Law School Library. Included are American, British, and Irish cases from 1815 to 1914 involving child custody, bigamy, and violent crime as it relates to sex and marriage. 

Victorian Britain: The British Library
An illustrative tour that uses  posters, pamphlets, diaries, political reports, and illustrations to  tell about this seven-decade stretch of the 19th century.  A set of essays by Liza Picard explore topics like "The Working Classes and the Poor" and "The Rise of Technology and Industry."

The Victorian Literary Studies Archive
This site created by Mitsu Matsuoka is very comprehensive and contains all kinds of information relating to Victorian studies including art, child labor, costumes, culture, economy, history, literature, medicine, printing, science, society, and women,

The Victorian Web     
Links to resources on British literature, history, and culture during the age of Victoria, compiled by Brown University. A great starting point for research on Victorian literature and culture.

A Vision of Britain Through Time
This site was created by the Great Britain Historical GIS Project based at the University of Portsmouth. It provides a geographical survey of Britain from 1801 to 2001, including census reports, historical maps, election results, and the largest collection of historical British travel writing available online. Best used for tracking statistical trends for specific counties, districts, and parishes within Britain. 

Who's Who of Victorian Cinema
The searchable site provides a biographical guide to Victorian film, from the 1870s through 1901. Includes 300 searchable biographies of filmmakers, actors, and other notable figures in early film. It is based on the book by the same name published by the British Film Institute. 

The Workhouse
This site introduces us to the grim world of Oliver Twist and gives us a glimpse of life in the London workhouses - the history, the daily routine, rules and punishments, as well as the English Poor Laws.


Victorian Literature - Bibliographies/Books/Journals/Pamphlets/Digitized Works

Aspects of the Victorian Book
Contains an online exhibition from the British Library providing an introduction to printing technology, formats (including yellowbacks, “three-deckers,” and penny dreadfuls), illustration techniques, and more.

At the Circulating Library: A Database of Victorian Fiction, 1837-1901
This free database is hosted by Victorian Research Web, a major research resource for Victorian scholars. It offers a biographical and bibliographical database of nineteenth century British fiction.

British Library
Contains an online exhibit documenting the advent of photographically illustrated books, including nearly 1,500 early prints on a variety of subjects.

British Literature: Victorian Era (Credo Reference) Credo Reference has created a very useful guide on the Victorian era which contains links to background information, genres, novelists, essayists, critics, reformers, and poets.

The Internet Archive
This immense library offers almost two million digitized texts, including many 19th century periodicals

Internet Library of Early Journals
This site includes digitized runs of six 18th and 19th century journals including Notes and Queries, The Builder, and Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine. The project was completed in 1999. 

Letters from the Past
The letters give an insight into the daily lives and concerns of ordinary people without whom history would not exist. The letters are a wonderful example of how much history may be gleaned from such primary sources.

Nineteenth Century British Pamphlets Online
This website focuses on nineteenth century British pamphlets. It describes pamphlet collections, has links to catalogues and digitised pamphlets, and provides resources to assist those wanting to use pamphlets within their research or teaching.

NINES - Nineteenth-century Scholarship Online
The Networked Infrastructure for Nineteenth-Century Electronic Scholarship is an organization that publishes and provides enhanced access to digital research on the 19th century and serves as a peer-reviewing body for digital resources in this area.  The site recently added a database which catalogs early Victorian penny fiction.

Nineteenth Century Serials Edition
This site contains a searchable database of the digitized versions of six 19th century serials and newspapers segmented to the article level and downloadable. 

Science in the Nineteenth Century Periodical Index
Searchable index to the science, technology, and medical literature of sixteen 19th century nonscientific periodicals. Invaluable resource for those researching the representation and interpretation of science in the general literature of 19th century Britain. 

Victoria Research Web
This site includes  short reference works produced by scholars, such as guides to periodical research, locating and using Victorian publishing records, and planning a research trip to Britain. It also hosts “At the Circulating Library,” a database that catalogs information about three-volume novels published during the Victorian period and serialization information for more than 60 periodicals

The Victorian Dictionary    
Compiled by Lee Jackson, an author of historical thrillers and nonfiction about Victorian London, this site is a searchable collection of excerpts from books, pamphlets, academic works and periodicals, original writings by the author, and images (including many from Punch). The site is worth a look for online researchers, although, as the author notes in his bibliography, serious scholars should consult an original copy of the materials referenced.

The Victorian Prose Archive
The Victorian Prose Archive contains nineteenth century works of prose and literature of writers such as Matthew Arnold, Thomas Carlyle, James Froude, Francis Newman, Walter Pater, and Oscar Wilde.

Voice of the Shuttle: Victorian Literature Resource List
Voice of the Shuttle is one of the best sites for Literature. The Victorian literature page links to general information sites on Victorian literature, electronic resources for nineteenth century studies, Victorian authors, works, and projects, journals, listservs, newsgroups, and conferences. The site is woven by Alan Liu and a development team in the University of California, Santa Barbara.


Individual Authors

The Carlyle Letters Online
An electronic collection of more than 10,000 letters of Thomas and Jane Welsh Carlyle based on the print volumes that make up The Collected Letters of Thomas and Jane Welsh Carlyle, published by Duke University Press. Advanced search and browsing is available, as well as the ability to create a free account with which the user can set up folders, save searches and letters, and create e-mail alerts. 

The Complete Works of Charles Darwin Online
Comprehensive site containing more than 90,000 pages of searchable text and more than 200,000 electronic images. Contains a complete collection of Darwin’s publications, including both the digitized image of the text and the formatted electronic text. Includes many signed and annotated copies of texts and many are available in languages other than English. Also includes a large collection of Darwin’s manuscripts and private papers, many not published elsewhere. Another essential online resource for those researching Darwin and his work. 

Darwin Correspondence Project
Contains the full text of more than 6,000 letters and information on 9,000 additional letters, as well as essays and other supplementary material describing the letters and their context. All letters are published in the print volumes of Correspondence of Charles Darwin (Cambridge University Press). Well organized and enhanced with relevant images, this site is a must for any Darwin researcher.

The Dickens Project     
An excellent bibliography of critical studies of Dickens' work and many useful links to research websites from the University of California, Santa Cruz.

The Rossetti Archive
Extensive collection of high-quality digitized images and scholarly commentary representing the poems, prose, pictures, books, correspondence, and other works of Dante Gabriel Rossetti. 

The Shelley-Goodwin Archive
The Shelley-Goodwin Archive provides the digitized manuscripts of Percy Bysshe Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, William Godwin and Mary Wollstonecraft with the aim to document their life, works, and thought including the development of many outstanding pieces of English literature and political philosophy.