What to Read if You Like Star Wars: 5 Books to Explore

The Great And Powerful Rebecca Romney Speaks:

Aldine by Rebecca Romney

Sometimes I get a caught in my enthusiasms. I find a theme, or a genre, and I run with it. There was that time when I was reading every book about Istanbul-Constantinople I could find, or when I lived in various post-apocalyptic universes. Many of you understand this. If the Internet is any indication (a frightening phrase), many of you are experiencing this right now with Star Wars.

That’s excellent. Really. I get it. We all have our obsessions. And, wow, books are a pretty place to live out our obsessions. So when someone asks me for a book recommendation, my first response is always: “What do you like?”

Not every book works for every person. If I have a basis from which to work, an idea of what you like, then we can talk. In this case, you like Star Wars, and you want to read something you know you’ll…

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Magic, Witches and Devils in the Early Modern World: New Exhibition!


Exhibition: Magic, Witches and Devils in the Early Modern World (John Rylands University Library, Deansgate, from 21 January 2016).

Interview by Eloise Moss

Dr Jenny Spinks is Lecturer in the History of Early Modern Europe (particularly Germany, France and the Low Countries); Dr Sasha Handley is Senior Lecturer in Early Modern Social and Cultural History of the British Isles; and in 2016 Dr Stephen Gordon was Postdoctoral Research Assistant on their exhibition project ‘Magic, Witches and Devils in the early Modern World’, which opens at the John Rylands Library, Deansgate, on 21 January 2016. To see the website, click here

Fig 1

Mar Zay’ā attacks the angel of death, in Nūtārē dabnaynāšā men kulmedem dbiš (The Protection of People from All Kinds of Evil), Hakkari, Southeastern Anatolia (?), 1700s (Syriac MS 52). Copyright of the University of Manchester

EM: Hello! So, what was the inspiration for this project?


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Victorian Monsters? Strategies of Appropriation in the Neo-Victorian Mashup

The Victorianist: BAVS Postgraduates

Megen de Bruin-Molé is a first-year PhD candidate with the school of English, Communication and Philosophy at Cardiff University. Her current research focuses on neo-historical fiction, using the theme of monsters and the monstrous to explore how and why the twenty-first century persistently appropriates historical fictions, figures, and traces. Some of her other research interests include science fiction and fantastical literature, posthumanism, age politics, and apocalypse studies. You can follow her interests and the progress of her research on her blog: angelsandapes.com

002 Octopus Portrait, © Yumiko Utsu, from the Victoriana: The Art of Revival exhibition

I should probably preface this post by admitting that I’m not a real Victorianist. The Victorians were one of my undergraduate passions, and I continued to read and write all about them during my MA, but somehow I was always more interested in how we speak about the Victorians today than in how they actually spoke to themselves or to us…

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“Is this silly enough for you yet? Gothic enough, mad enough, even for you?”: Nostalgia for the ‘Victorian’

The Victorianist: BAVS Postgraduates

Emily Bowles is a third-year PhD candidate at the University of York. Her research focuses on changing representations of Charles Dickens 1857-1870, exploring how the author’s posthumous reputation was shaped in the decades following his death and uncovering the foundations of public engagement with, and understanding of, Dickens in the twentieth century. Emily is also a postgraduate representative for the Northern Nineteenth Century Network, assistant administrator of the Women’s Life Writing Network, and tweets about her research as @EmilyBowles_.

“Is this silly enough for you yet? Gothic enough, mad enough, even for you?”: Nostalgia for the ‘Victorian’

Victorian studies (and literary studies more broadly) has occasionally been accused of a kind of misguided nostalgia: part of the nature of historical and literature-based research is that as researchers, by necessity, we spend time trying to reimagine and recapture something of the past, and as such we’re called on…

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The Book-Hunters of 1888 (6)

Lawrence Worms exudes pure genius;

The Bookhunter on Safari


(14) Mr E. Stibbs – Returning to 1888 – no, I haven’t forgotten these book-hunters of yesteryear – seated to the right of (10) William Dobson Reeves we find a gnarled and bespectacled bookseller in an old-fashioned hat taking an evident interest in the book currently under the hammer.  The editors of “The Graphic” noted him merely as Mr. E. Stibbs, ‘veteran bookseller’, with both Roberts and Karslake subsequently identifying him as Edward W. Stibbs. Roberts added that his shop was in Holborn, that he died in the spring of 1891 at the age of eighty, and that his stock was sold at Sotheby’s the following year – “one of the veterans of the trade … essentially of the old school — the school which confined itself almost exclusively to classics”.  Karslake went on to say that, “Next to Mr. Reeves is E. W. Stibbs, whose business was the fore-runner…

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Haunting History

Brooke Palmieri covering the interwebs in clever, just like always:


by contributing editor Brooke Palmieri

Even Thucydides, the celebrated father of historical realism, found it impossible to avoid revising the past in the telling of it. “With reference to the speeches in this history,” he writes in the opening to The History of the Peloponnesian War, “it was in all cases difficult to carry them word for word in one’s memory, so my habit has been to make the speakers say what was in my opinion demanded of them by the various occasions.” Dead men cannot verify the truth of the words put into their mouths. Which makes the past into something of a puppet show. Or at least makes history at its core a discipline shaped by desire, the desires we have to make sense of what has happened.

Some place greater demands upon and have wilder desires for their sources than others. Consider Voices from the Spirit…

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Facial recognition software solves Elizabeth Gaskell mystery

Makes list of everyone in history he wants to see the actual face of…

John Rylands Library Special Collections Blog

On the 150th anniversary of the death of Elizabeth Gaskell (on 12 November 1865), a mystery surrounding the true identity of a silhouette suspected to be of the Victorian novelist has finally been solved.

A team from The University of Manchester used state of the art facial measuring software and more traditional provenance research to authenticate the silhouette, which is owned by the descendants of the Gaskell family.

Following their research, medical artist Ray Evans and Stella Halkyard, the Library’s Visual Collections Manager, have concluded that, while they can never confirm the silhouette’s authenticity irrefutably, it is very likely to be of Gaskell.

Stella said: “The silhouette has an excellent ‘provenance’ and a ‘chain of unbroken custody’ which means that it has been kept by Gaskell’s descendants and we know where it has come from and where it has been throughout its history.”

She added: “At The John Rylands Library we have a miniature portrait that…

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