Read Like a Victorian
August 24, 2016 2:06 PM   Subscribe is a project by Dr. Robyn Warhol and her student Colleen Morrissey that helps you read Victorian novels in serial, as they would have been experienced by readers at the time. The site currently covers three time periods: 1846 - 1848, 1859-1861, and 1864-1866. Texts are sourced from project Gutenberg and Librivox (when available).
posted by Going To Maine (5 comments total) 32 users marked this as a favorite
It's an interesting idea. Contextualising the works against what else was being widely read at the same time. I would be nice if you could get them to send you a monthly email with links to the relevant sections in the stack. So you could work in "real time". Obviously you could just set reminders on your calendar, but it could be a fun extra for them to add.
posted by howfar at 3:11 PM on August 24, 2016 [2 favorites]

It's a brilliant idea, although I agree with howfar that with some extra work (which I don't blame the creators for not doing, it's hardly their specialty and the site is impressive as it is) you could have something like an app that pushes weekly updates to your Kindle. With a little recognition and funding they might be able to hire a contractor to make that happen.
posted by uosuaq at 5:37 PM on August 24, 2016 [1 favorite]

I think they've added the illustrations/part-issue wrapper links since I first looked at the site this summer. Wrappers have a bad habit of not being preserved, so we lose some important context--namely, that you'd encounter your novel amidst a chunk of advertising. (Of course, the wrapper for the re-serialized edition of Oliver Twist also spoils the entire novel; I guess somebody forgot to tell the publisher about spoiler spaces...) It might be interesting to link to reviews, too, as a successful serial would often be reviewed as it appeared, much as critics today write about an ongoing TV series.

A number of people have experimented with teaching Victorian novels as serials, so that the students either read multiple novels together, instead of sequentially, or read a long Victorian novel alongside a bunch of other things in a survey. This site would be a big help in setting up such a course.
posted by thomas j wise at 5:47 PM on August 24, 2016 [1 favorite]

The Serial Reader app already exists from a different content provider. I downloaded it on my iPad months ago but haven't actually used it. I'm thinking of starting with The Count of Monte Cristo.
posted by Ranucci at 7:49 PM on August 24, 2016

Do you think avid serial readers in the 1800s were like "I hope Edmond Dant├Ęs defeats Milady de Winter and marries Agnes"?
posted by infinitewindow at 11:03 PM on August 24, 2016 [1 favorite]

« Older Green Homes, With a Dash of Hyperbole   |   It's a feel-good story Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments