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THE VICTORIAN MARKETPLACE | GRANDMA'S ATTIC BOOKSHOP
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In 2007, my husband and I moved to England for about 18 months. In exploring that country's marvelous used book stores, I developed a new addiction: Victorian magazines. Many a store offered tattered issues of such periodicals as The Strand, Girl's Own Paper, Chatterbox, Little Folks, and many others -- and since my budget was far from healthy, the more tattered, the better!
Tattered magazines, however, can be difficult to read. They have a bad habit of falling apart in your hands, or leaving bits of crumbling paper over everything. (One publication was so decrepit it was sold to me in a plastic bag to hold it together!) Some also leave one's hands smelling, not pleasantly of "musty books," but unpleasantly of mildew and mold. So I faced a challenge: How was I to read my treasures?
The answer lay in a bit of technology that Victorians would surely have marveled at: The scanner. By scanning my collection, I could read it at my leisure, either on screen or in print. And from there, it wasn't much of a jump to realize that by scanning my collection, I could make it available to others as well. Hence... Mostly-Victorian.com!
What You'll Find Here
Most of the magazines (and a few books that will appear on these pages) come from the Victorian period, but a few fall on one side or the other. Most, though not all, are British, and offer a distinctly British Victorian view of the world.
The majority of the articles on this site are drawn from The Strand and Girl's Own Paper; I hope eventually to be able to offer a complete collection of both publications from their Victorian period (i.e., through 1900). I also have several "one-off" publications such as Chatterbox, Little Folks, Windsor Magazine, Ladies Realm, and others that will be added to the site over time. The Strand, of course, is famous for introducing the world to Sherlock Holmes; it's also a treasure-trove of articles on Victorian life, Victorian London, and general history. Girl's Own Paper offers a glimpse into the world of the Victorian gentlewoman, with articles on fashion, arts and crafts, and household tips -- as well as lots of material on history, nature, science, folklore, and other topics considered important to the education of a "Victorian girl."
I've also collected a number of battered Victorian books, and hope to post some of those to the site over time, either in excerpts or in their entirety. So this site will be nothing if not "eclectic!"
The goals of this site are two-fold: To be entertaining, and to be educational. The second goal is perhaps more intuitive: This site will, I hope, be of value for anyone seeking primary source material on the Victorian age. It should prove particularly valuable for writers seeking to enhance their knowledge of the Victorian life. But "educational" need not be synonymous with "boring!" Many of these articles and stories are just as interesting and readable today as when they were first written; thus, my first goal is to provide material that the reader can actually enjoy! Since my space is limited, I am unable to post the entire contents of every volume in my collection. A Girl's Own Paper annual generally runs 800+ pages, while a six-month volume of The Strand runs over 600 pages. More importantly, not every article or story in these volumes falls into the category of either "entertaining" or "educational!" (Indeed, much Victorian fiction simply isn't that palatable to the modern reader!) So I am making the contents of these volumes available in three ways:
A Quick Word of Warning...
And now a brief disclaimer: Victorian magazines are not "politically correct!" In the Victorian world (or the world that editors supposed their readers belonged to), "the right sort" of people were white, upper class, educated, and English. (I won't even say "British," for to be Scots or Welsh could be a bit suspect...) I would have added "male," except that many writers of The Girl's Own Paper would have disputed that point. To be white and non-British was to be a "foreigner" (a stigma that would never leave one no matter how long one lived in Britain). Americans were viewed as slightly less suspect than European "foreigners," but were generally considered brash, imperfectly mannered, and a bit childish (and interested primarily in money). To many Victorians (and Victorian writers), to be non-white was to be scarcely human at all.
I make no apology for the Victorian viewpoint. To attempt to edit out its biases would be to present a false image of that world -- and would be doing the reader a grave disservice by attempting to paint a rosy and romantic view of a period that was, for many people, not very rosy at all. Every period of history has its positives and its negatives, including our own. The purpose of this site is not to whitewash the Victorian era, but to enable the reader to explore it, warts and all.
And now, as a Victorian writer might say, "Dear Reader, pray feel free to explore -- and enjoy!"
Links and advertising... If you would like me to add a link to your site, please send the information to Moira Allen. We hope to develop an extensive section of links to the rest of the "online Victorian world." We offer free links to non-commercial sites; if you offer a Victorian-related product or service, please consider ADVERTISING on Mostly-Victorian.com!
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