Victorian Periodicals Review


RSVP’s flagship journal, Victorian Periodicals Review, publishes the latest research in the vibrant and rapidly expanding field of 19th-century media studies. VPR features special issues, book reviews, announcements, and a biennial bibliography.

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Table of Contents of Current Issue

Victorian Periodicals Review
vpr cover winter 2016

Introduction to the Special Issue: Moments of Challenge and Change


An Archaeology of Victorian Newspapers

Interred in Printing House Vaults: Pianotype Composing Machines of the 1840s

Making the News National: Using Digitized Newspapers to Study the Distribution of the Queen’s Speech by W. H. Smith & Son, 1846-1858

Reading in Review: The Victorian Book Review in the New Media Moment

The Decadent Archive and the Long History of New Media

“You see but you do not observe”: Hidden Infrastructure and Labour in the Strand Magazine and Its Twenty-First-Century Digital Iterations

Chance Encounters, Rediscovery, and Loss: Researching Victorian Women Journalists in the Digital Age

Richard Le Gallienne–Liverpool’s Wild(e) Poet: An Exhibition Held at Liverpool Central Library, August-October 2016


VPR News

CFP: Special Issue of Victorian Periodicals Review – Essays in Honor of Sally Mitchell

CFP: Special Issue of Victorian Periodicals Review 

Essays in Honor of Sally Mitchell

CFP-VPR Special Issue for Sally Mitchell[1] copy

Proposals due March 1, 2018

Completed Essays due September 1, 2018


Sally Mitchell (1937-2016) was a pioneering feminist scholar and teacher in the field of Victorian studies whose work opened new avenues for the study of women’s writing, cultural history, and journalism. Throughout her career, periodicals were at the heart of her research, which included groundbreaking work on women’s penny papers and popular reading, an innovative study of The New Girl, critical biographies of Dinah Mulock Craik and Frances Power Cobbe, indispensable histories such as Daily Life in Victorian England and Victorian Britain: An Encyclopedia, as well as edited editions and anthologies of Victorian women’s writing. To honor her contributions to our field and highlight her continued legacy in Victorian periodical studies, we plan to publish a special issue of VPR in Fall 2019.

Contributions to the special issue should be 5,000 to 9,000-word essays (including notes and bibliography) focused on any topic inspired by Sally Mitchell’s work on the periodical press. Essays might explore the Victorian press in relation to:

  • • Victorian women writers and women’s reading
  • • The “new girl” and girls’ culture
  • • Daily life and social history
  • • Popular fiction and literary history
  • • Feminist activism, networks, and mentoring
  • • New directions in biography
  • • New approaches to teaching with periodicals

Please submit a 200-word abstract and a CV by March 1, 2018 to guest editor Katherine Malone at

 You can download a PDF version of the CFP here.

Completed essays will be due September 1, 2018.

Women in Punch 1841 – 1920, 02 Nov 2017, Senate House, London

Registration is now open for ‘Women in Punch 1841 – 1920’, 02 Nov 2017, Senate House, London.


Punch: or the London Charivari first appeared in 1841, published as a weekly magazine with a strong political agenda. Although some work has been done on the social reform agenda of Punch, very little is known about women in the magazine. Were there any women contributors? What representations of women appeared in the magazine, both in images and text? Women were certainly a subject for humour and caricature in Punch, but what were the political implications of those comic illustrations? What was the role played by verse in the depiction of women? Did representations of women change significantly between 1841 and 1910, and if so, how and why? How do the caricatures and/or depictions of women in Punch differ or resemble those in other illustrated papers, such as the Comic Almanack (1835 – 1853), The Illustrated London News (1842 – 1989), the Man in the Moon (1847 – 1849), andFun (1861 – 1901)? Queen Victoria subscribed to Punch; did it have many women subscribers and/or readers? How was the ‘New Women’ reported in the pages of the magazine? Was Punch interested in female education or the entry of women into the professions?


These are some of the questions to be explored by this one-day conference, which will look at some of the below themes:

  • Women in the literary marketplace
  • Education
  • ‘New Women’ and ‘cartoons’
  • Domesticity
  • Punch and the Intellectual Woman
  • Women and sports
  • Representations of Political Women
  • Punch and female readership
  • Sex, body, and Punch caricatures.


The programme for the day can be found here.
Conference organiser: Mariam Zarif,

Dr. Paul Fyfe wins Prestigious Donald Gray Prize

Congratulations to RSVP member Dr. Paul Fyfe winner of this year’s Donald Gray Prize for the best essay published in the field of Victorian studies.

Dr. Fyfe’s article ‘An Archaeology of Victorian Newspapers‘ was published in the Winter 2016 edition of Victorian Periodicals Review.

The NAVSA judging committee – Deborah Denenholz Morse (Chair), Mary Jean Corbett, Martin Danahay, and Peter Hoffenberg  – commented:

Paul Fyfe’s ‘An Archaeology of Victorian Newspapers’ excavates a portion of “the largely hidden history of how Victorian data gets to now” by filling in some of the gaps between then and now.  This fascinating essay, which draws on the methods of book history and media archaeology, as well as practicing a form of “investigative scholarly journalism,” explores the occluded material histories of one large-scale digitization project: the British Library’s massive collection of nineteenth-century newspapers.  He establishes its complex relations to a range of mid-twentieth-century agents, technologies, and institutions, from the preservation efforts undertaken in the aftermath of the second world war to the emergence of (and continuing role played by) microfilm in the collaboration between libraries, micropublishers, and the forerunners of the CIA. Victorian media became digital, Fyfe argues, both by subordinating the provinces to the metropole and by having the techno-labor of its production outsourced to India and Cambodia. In a timely investigation of what now constitute “the enabling conditions of our scholarship,” the essay charts a path forward for thinking about—and critically reflecting on—the digital tools we all use.


CFP: Special issue of Victorian Periodicals Review: The Strand Magazine

CFP: Special issue of Victorian Periodicals Review: The Strand Magazine

Described by Reginald Pound as a ‘national institution’, the Strand Magazine (1891–1950) was the foremost British New Journalistic fiction paper of the 1890s. This heavily illustrated monthly promised its readers ‘cheap, healthful literature’, including short and serial fiction, factual articles, human-interest features and celebrity items, by some of the best-known authors of the time. Yet, in spite of its popularity, the Strand has attracted limited scholarly attention and is often dismissed as a prime example of the Victorian middlebrow. This special issue of Victorian Periodicals Review seeks to elicit original essays assessing the nature, role and significance of the Strand in the period 1891–1918. Possible contributions might address, but are not limited to, topics such as:


  • The Strand and the short story
  • The Strand and genre fiction
  • The topical Strand
  • The Strand and popular science
  • The Strand and celebrity culture
  • The Strand and the New Journalism
  • The Strand’s editorial policies
  • The Strand and periodical design
  • The Strand and illustration
  • The Strand and its readers
  • The Strand and the middlebrow
  • The Strand and British identity
  • The Strand abroad
  • The Strand and the ‘Victorian’
  • The Strand and the modern
  • The Strand in the digital age


Please send a 300-word abstract and a one-page CV to our guest editors Emma Liggins ( and Minna Vuohelainen ( by 1 December, 2017. Final essays of 5000-9000 words (including notes and bibliography) will be due by 1 May, 2018 and should be prepared in MS Word according to the Chicago Manual of Style. The special issue will be published in summer 2019.