A Victorian Christmas – Part 1

How did the Victorians celebrate Christmas? Julia Wood – City Connect’s Features Writer on Art & Culture – looks at the Victorian Christmas and finds out the truth behind the nostalgia and tradition… Christmas is a time when not merely individuals, but culture itself, turns reflective and introspective. It is a sentimental … Continue reading

Sporting in the Olympic Theatre

Olympic fever appears to have taken over the country, with Britain hosting, and performing astoundingly well, particularly in the cycling events, perhaps even putting cycling on the map as a national sport. In such economically dark times, a bit of flag-waving patriotism may be just the tonic the country needs; … Continue reading

Workhouse or Workfare? Attitudes Haven’t Changed – Part 2

Julia Wood, author and scholar, continues her discussion of “the undeserving poor”, workhouses and today’s attitudes to the unemployed. Throughout the nineteenth century, workhouses became places of refuge for those who were vulnerable, either because they were ill – mentally or physically – or because they were disabled. These people … Continue reading

Workhouse or Workfare? Attitudes Haven’t Changed – Part 1

Few people would dispute that social conditions and standards of living for the poor have improved since Victorian times. Yet, the Government’s draconian measures against benefit claimants suggest that conditions may have improved but attitudes have not really changed. The poor, especially those unable – some would argue unwilling – … Continue reading

Ghost Stories – Part 2

"Nicole Kidman", "The Others", "Ghosts"

In Part One, I looked at the history of the ghost story, utilising Freud’s essay The Uncanny to argue that ghosts are representations of collective fears and prejudices. I argued that, in the Victorian era – when there were stronger boundaries and taboos – ghosts were represented in fiction as … Continue reading

Nostalgia – Part 1

We live, it would seem, in nostalgic times. Clothing now hailed as the height of fashion by critics and fashionistas, is more often than not, derivative of earlier times; usually the 1960s and seventies, sometimes earlier. Often this is regarded by cultural critics as referentiality; a self-conscious and ironic invocation … Continue reading

Ghost Stories: Part 1 – A Potted History

Ghost stories, it would seem, retain a timeless appeal. In this first of another two-part article, I will be looking at the history of the ghost story. In the second, I will be exploring why ghost stories are still capable of captivating us today, how the Victorian model of the … Continue reading