The Future of the Victorians: Digital Curation

Chair: Joanna Taylor (Lancaster University/BAVS)


Bob Nicholson (Edge Hill University) – Remixing the Archive

Emma Curry (Birkbeck, University of London) – Dickens and Meme: Digital Media and Creative Criticism

Christopher Donaldson (Lancaster University) – Digitally Exploring The Lake Scenery of England

The digital turn in humanities scholarship has transformed literary studies in recent years. The impact on Victorian studies has been remarkable and, as this panel aims to demonstrate, digital Victorianist projects have much to offer literary studies more broadly. The papers in this session ask what role the digital plays in curating and analysing research materials. More than this, though, the three speakers on this panel consider digital humanities practices more broadly, and explain how the digital turn has affected the way they conduct and communicate their research into Victorian literature. Bob Nicholson will focus on his recent attempts to create an online archive of Victorian jokes. He uses this resource to offer suggestions towards a broader programme of archival remixing that might challenge existing assumptions about the literary canon. Emma Curry reflects on the ‘Our Mutual Friend Tweets’ project, and explains how the project cultivated a form of crowd-sourced close reading. She demonstrates how such forms of digital creativities are central to Dickens’s afterlives. Finally, Christopher Donaldson will consider the application of geospatial technologies to investigations of materials related to Victorian tourism in the English Lake District. He asks how tools such as geographical information systems and virtual globes might transform our understandings of established historical knowledge. Together, these papers indicate the increasing centrality of digital techniques to literary studies, but reveal, too, that these new methodologies can – and should – complement traditional approaches to literary study.

Thursday 6th July, 12.30