Monograph Book Projects on The Diorama & The Stainforth Library

My monograph deriving from my dissertation, tentatively titled The Diorama on the Page, is a media archaeology project. It reorients current scholarship analyzing the impact of large-scale picturesque art on Romantic-era literary culture, but which tends to ignore the unique technologies of the diorama to privilege the panorama instead. By contrast, The Diorama on the Page demonstrates how the 1822 invention and popularity of the diorama—a large-scale, theatrical painting exhibition with realistic 3-D illusions and animation—inspired authors and artists to transfer such visual technologies into their texts to represent histories of the oppressed, like the Jacobites, as necessarily mediated and to intensify them anew so as to make stronger psychological impacts on audiences. It also signals the 1820s as a transition during which authors turned to the newest media to help them write more effectively about the past.

My second monograph project is inspired by the the digital archive project I direct called The Stainforth Library of Women’s Writing. This book is the first thorough scholarship on the largest private library of Anglophone women’s writing and its collector, Francis John Stainforth (1797-1866). Stainforth was a British Anglican curate and a collector’s collector of stamps, shells, and most of all, books. His library catalog lists nearly 8,000 unique editions (almost 9,000 volumes) authored and edited by 3,500 writers, nearly all of whom are women. To grasp the monumental size of this recovered library, consider that Stainforth’s collection is slightly larger than the 8,000 volume collection of books by women showcased in the Woman’s Building Library at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair. The titles and authors in Stainforth’s catalog contextualize and vastly expand our conception of the range of women writers and their poetry, plays, and prose on the transatlantic Victorian book market.


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