MA Cultural History, Utrecht University, 2016,
Prof. Andrew Smith, Dr John Miller
Popular literature; Body history; Gender theory; Sensational fiction; Nineteenth century history
Elisabeth Brandenburg Memorial Fund (NL), Muller Fonds (NL), Fundatie van Renswoude (NL), and Stichting Niemeijer Fonds (NL)
My research proposal focuses on penny bloods – cheap serialized stories filled with adventures, conspiracies, and blood – which were published between 1830 and 1850. Penny bloods were read almost exclusively by a working-class audience, and has therefore long been overlooked by literary historians. In the last few years there has been increased academic attention for the periodicals the working class read, and this project will contribute to that movement.
My goal is therefore to investigate whether in the penny bloods of the 1830s and 1840s a remnant of the eighteenth-century way of thinking about gender and sexual difference is presented, or whether these scenes should be understood in another way. I aim to do this by looking at dressing up, assuming roles, and the masquerade within these stories.