Into the Nothingness of Scorn and Noise






Victorian era fanatic, Romantic poetry (and poets) maniac, will commit murder to get my hands on a cravat and top hat. Living in the world of Charlotte Bronte.
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Ruth Etting sings Shine on Harvest Moon. I first heard this song (sung off key) on ‘Allo ‘Allo.

ruth etting shine on harvest moon allo allo

Love Undetectable: Andrew Sullivan on Why Friendship Is a Greater Gift Than Romantic Love

This is so true, I can honestly say I mourned far longer and more painfully for my broken friendships than my heartbreaks,

1 day ago
paxvictoriana:


VICTORIAN HISTORY MEME: events [8/9] 
The Decennial and Religious CENSUSES of March 30, 1851
[images: Queen Victoria’s 1851 census return; Punch on the census, June 10, 1871 (L) and April 20, 1861 (R).]

Though the title of ‘first modern census’ goes most often to its 1841 antecedent, the Decennial Census of 1851 for England and Wales, in addition to the separate counterparts for Scotland and for Ireland, revealed a great deal about the burgeoning population of Britain at the time of the Great Exhibition. Since data was already being collected of residents and visitors on the night of March 30, 1851 (a Sunday), theGeneral Register Office of England undertook to account for the number of worshippers of each denomination across the United Kingdom at the same time. Thus, two censuses — one General and one Ecclesiastical — were conducted in 1851, a project not undertaken ever again.

Some amusing ‘curiosities’ on the 1851 report included:


an Anglesey householder including all his animals on his census paper; a rural householder near Belfast writing under the column ‘Deaf and Dumb’, ‘Husband, not deaf, wish he was’; while a householder in Great Bowden in Derbyshire wrote ‘married, and sorry for it!’ in the column on marital status. [x]


According to Ancestry.com (one of the few sources of full records for the 1851 returns), general census forms were distributed to the populace several days in advance of ‘Census Sunday’, with the instruction that any person in the household ‘who abode in the house, on the Night of the 30th March, 1851’ — whether a visitor, lodger, or permanent family member or resident —  should be recorded; forms were then collected the following day [x].  As seen above, the 1851 population census cards included boxes for the following information: 

Parish or Township / Ecclesiastical District / City or Borough / Town / [or] Village of;
House number and street;
Name and Surname (families were grouped under the same house, though each individual was listed in a separate row);
Relation to, or ‘Head’ of, Family;
Exact age;
'Condition' (i.e., Married, Widowed, Unmarried);
Profession — including rank or specific occupation;
Place of Birth;
'Whether Blind, or Deaf-and-Dumb'

These criteria greatly expanded on the much simpler 1841 census, including asking for the marital status of those listed, as well as surveying the precise ages, professions, and places of birth (rather than the previous ‘Y/N’ entry for whether the current location was also the respondent’s birthplace).


[‘The Census (Arithmetical Progression.)’, Punch, 1871]

Simultaneously, the Census of Religious Worship sought to determine the number of attendees at various churches and religious services on the Sunday of March 30th. Barrister Horace Mann, an important 19th-century civil servant, felt that demanding actual declarations of faith from the populace was both intrusive and liable to discover only professions of empty adherence. Instead — according to historian Edward Higgs — Mann directed ’the enumerators for the population census in England and Wales [to] inform the local civil registrars of the names and addresses of ministers in their enumeration districts, or of the responsible nominee of the denomination. The registrar supplied such ministers and nominees with the relevant schedules, which they completed and returned to the enumerators on 31 March 1851. In Scotland the role of the registrar was taken by the superintendent of the parish’ [x]. Instrumental in the work of the General Register Office (GRO) was its Registrar General Major George Graham (1801-1888), who led a campaign to clean the inefficient and indeed corrupt GRO in the 1840s, including implementing pre-printed registry and census forms to cut down on waste and delays; and statistician and civil servant William Farr (1807-1883), who spent his career organizing and applying the GRO’s massive influx of data.

Most notable in the immediate conclusions drawn from the 1851 census was the catastrophic toll on the Irish population wreaked by the potato famine of 1845-1850. From the Preliminary Papers, the decennial census reported an Irish population of 6.6 million, down 1.7 million since 1841 (when roughly 8.2 million people had been counted). 

The Ecclesiastical Census found 34,467 places of worship in England and Wales, whether in ‘separate’ or ‘not separate buildings’; more than 13,000 of these were built ‘Before 1801’, while the next largest category (the decade 1841-1851) included 5,594 sites. In total, the Religious Census saw ‘10,212,563 sittings' (i.e. seats, though not necessarily filled) in these locations on the date of inquiry [pp. 106-7]. As Higgs points out, however, ‘[t]he extra work involved in the administration and analysis of these multiple investigations plainly overtaxed the limited resources of the GRO, leading to delays[…]. This, and the controversy aroused by the surveys, may explain why neither the Religious Census, or that on education, were ever repeated’ [Higgs].


[‘Filling Up the Census Paper’]

Nearly 1.5 million people described themselves as agricultural laborers (in a sector making up 22% of the population, down from 28% in 1841) at least 1 million as ‘domestic servants’, 18,000 as ‘police’, almost 30,000 as unspecified ‘shopkeepers’ (part of the booming sector of jobs in ‘trade’, up to 46% from 42% in 1841), and roughly 350,000 in military and governmental posts at home and abroad, for a grand total of just under 19 million people in Great Britain [pp. 56-57]. The census report went so far as to classify the numerous occupations given into no fewer than 17 classes, providing data to the GRO for future statistics on industry and domestic politics. The decennial census of 1851 included, as seen above, the returns for Queen Victoria, who — though listed first, and under her full title and with the occupation ‘The Queen’ — is nevertheless not listed as the ‘head’ of her household, in deference to Prince Albert. Charlotte Bronte also appears (though, following the 1849 deaths of her siblings, she is the only Bronte child), on the record for Haworth, Bradford, listing her occupation as ‘none’ [high-res]. 

MORE: e-book of Horace Mann’s 1854 report on the Ecclesiastical Census; National Archives, including ‘Census Detective' and high-res scan on Queen Victoria; Ancestry.com (including records, paid), and high-res scan on Charlotte Bronte; Curiosities of the Census; Victorian Web: occupations of the 1851 returns; Edward Higgs, ‘The religious worship census of 1851’; my page, ‘Census’, on media (esp. cartoons) related to several 19th-century returns.

paxvictoriana:

VICTORIAN HISTORY MEME: events [8/9]

The Decennial and Religious CENSUSES of March 30, 1851

[images: Queen Victoria’s 1851 census return; Punch on the census, June 10, 1871 (L) and April 20, 1861 (R).]

Though the title of ‘first modern census’ goes most often to its 1841 antecedent, the Decennial Census of 1851 for England and Wales, in addition to the separate counterparts for Scotland and for Ireland, revealed a great deal about the burgeoning population of Britain at the time of the Great Exhibition. Since data was already being collected of residents and visitors on the night of March 30, 1851 (a Sunday), theGeneral Register Office of England undertook to account for the number of worshippers of each denomination across the United Kingdom at the same time. Thus, two censuses — one General and one Ecclesiastical — were conducted in 1851, a project not undertaken ever again.
Some amusing ‘curiosities’ on the 1851 report included:
an Anglesey householder including all his animals on his census paper; a rural householder near Belfast writing under the column ‘Deaf and Dumb’, ‘Husband, not deaf, wish he was’; while a householder in Great Bowden in Derbyshire wrote ‘married, and sorry for it!’ in the column on marital status. [x]
According to Ancestry.com (one of the few sources of full records for the 1851 returns), general census forms were distributed to the populace several days in advance of ‘Census Sunday’, with the instruction that any person in the household ‘who abode in the house, on the Night of the 30th March, 1851’ — whether a visitor, lodger, or permanent family member or resident —  should be recorded; forms were then collected the following day [x].  As seen above, the 1851 population census cards included boxes for the following information: 
  • Parish or Township / Ecclesiastical District / City or Borough / Town / [or] Village of;
  • House number and street;
  • Name and Surname (families were grouped under the same house, though each individual was listed in a separate row);
  • Relation to, or ‘Head’ of, Family;
  • Exact age;
  • 'Condition' (i.e., Married, Widowed, Unmarried);
  • Profession — including rank or specific occupation;
  • Place of Birth;
  • 'Whether Blind, or Deaf-and-Dumb'
These criteria greatly expanded on the much simpler 1841 census, including asking for the marital status of those listed, as well as surveying the precise ages, professions, and places of birth (rather than the previous ‘Y/N’ entry for whether the current location was also the respondent’s birthplace).
Simultaneously, the Census of Religious Worship sought to determine the number of attendees at various churches and religious services on the Sunday of March 30th. Barrister Horace Mann, an important 19th-century civil servant, felt that demanding actual declarations of faith from the populace was both intrusive and liable to discover only professions of empty adherence. Instead — according to historian Edward Higgs — Mann directed ’the enumerators for the population census in England and Wales [to] inform the local civil registrars of the names and addresses of ministers in their enumeration districts, or of the responsible nominee of the denomination. The registrar supplied such ministers and nominees with the relevant schedules, which they completed and returned to the enumerators on 31 March 1851. In Scotland the role of the registrar was taken by the superintendent of the parish’ [x]. Instrumental in the work of the General Register Office (GRO) was its Registrar General Major George Graham (1801-1888), who led a campaign to clean the inefficient and indeed corrupt GRO in the 1840s, including implementing pre-printed registry and census forms to cut down on waste and delays; and statistician and civil servant William Farr (1807-1883), who spent his career organizing and applying the GRO’s massive influx of data.
Most notable in the immediate conclusions drawn from the 1851 census was the catastrophic toll on the Irish population wreaked by the potato famine of 1845-1850. From the Preliminary Papers, the decennial census reported an Irish population of 6.6 million, down 1.7 million since 1841 (when roughly 8.2 million people had been counted). 
The Ecclesiastical Census found 34,467 places of worship in England and Wales, whether in ‘separate’ or ‘not separate buildings’; more than 13,000 of these were built ‘Before 1801’, while the next largest category (the decade 1841-1851) included 5,594 sites. In total, the Religious Census saw ‘10,212,563 sittings' (i.e. seats, though not necessarily filled) in these locations on the date of inquiry [pp. 106-7]. As Higgs points out, however, ‘[t]he extra work involved in the administration and analysis of these multiple investigations plainly overtaxed the limited resources of the GRO, leading to delays[…]. This, and the controversy aroused by the surveys, may explain why neither the Religious Census, or that on education, were ever repeated’ [Higgs].
Nearly 1.5 million people described themselves as agricultural laborers (in a sector making up 22% of the population, down from 28% in 1841) at least 1 million as ‘domestic servants’, 18,000 as ‘police’, almost 30,000 as unspecified ‘shopkeepers’ (part of the booming sector of jobs in ‘trade’, up to 46% from 42% in 1841), and roughly 350,000 in military and governmental posts at home and abroad, for a grand total of just under 19 million people in Great Britain [pp. 56-57]. The census report went so far as to classify the numerous occupations given into no fewer than 17 classes, providing data to the GRO for future statistics on industry and domestic politics. The decennial census of 1851 included, as seen above, the returns for Queen Victoria, who — though listed first, and under her full title and with the occupation ‘The Queen’ — is nevertheless not listed as the ‘head’ of her household, in deference to Prince Albert. Charlotte Bronte also appears (though, following the 1849 deaths of her siblings, she is the only Bronte child), on the record for Haworth, Bradford, listing her occupation as ‘none’ [high-res]. 
MOREe-book of Horace Mann’s 1854 report on the Ecclesiastical CensusNational Archives, including ‘Census Detective' and high-res scan on Queen Victoria; Ancestry.com (including records, paid), and high-res scan on Charlotte Bronte; Curiosities of the Census; Victorian Web: occupations of the 1851 returns; Edward Higgs, ‘The religious worship census of 1851’; my page, ‘Census’, on media (esp. cartoons) related to several 19th-century returns.

Victorian Prudes and their Bizarre Beachside Bathing Machines

Funny

4 days ago
the-library-and-step-on-it:

Mort by Terry Pratchett.Book Review by the-library-and-step-on-it.

At last, my very first Discworld novel! After years and years of tiptoeing around Terry Pratchett I have finally decided to take the plunge and unsurprisingly, he did not disappoint.
My theory is that if you were to put Neil Gaiman and Douglas Adams into a blender, the Discworld series would come pouring out (…that sounded a lot better in my head, my apologies). As my followers may have noticed, this book is insanely quotable. There is a joke in every other line to the point where you’re just silently smiling and chuckling to yourself throughout the whole thing. On top of that, Pratchett takes every unwritten rule of fiction, crumples it up, and tosses it over his shoulder whilest cheerfully cracking a Dumbo joke. As a result, you never know where the story is going to go and every once in a while something so absurd happens that it gives you narrative whiplash.
But my favourite thing about this book is how inventive it is in its setting: the locations, the religions, the sheer logic of the Discworld, it’s just incredible. It baffles me that Pratchett has managed to keep this series going for so long and I’m curious to see if the books are all as imaginative as this one. The only reason this volume didn’t get five stars was the rushed and frankly not at all statisfying ending. Such a shame.
Still, consider me hooked. After all, a writer who manages to get me a little emotional over the fact that Death stops speaking in all-caps and starts flipping burgers in a back-alley diner must be doing something right.
Find more reviews here.

the-library-and-step-on-it:

Mort by Terry Pratchett.
Book Review by the-library-and-step-on-it.

At last, my very first Discworld novel! After years and years of tiptoeing around Terry Pratchett I have finally decided to take the plunge and unsurprisingly, he did not disappoint.

My theory is that if you were to put Neil Gaiman and Douglas Adams into a blender, the Discworld series would come pouring out (…that sounded a lot better in my head, my apologies). As my followers may have noticed, this book is insanely quotable. There is a joke in every other line to the point where you’re just silently smiling and chuckling to yourself throughout the whole thing. On top of that, Pratchett takes every unwritten rule of fiction, crumples it up, and tosses it over his shoulder whilest cheerfully cracking a Dumbo joke. As a result, you never know where the story is going to go and every once in a while something so absurd happens that it gives you narrative whiplash.

But my favourite thing about this book is how inventive it is in its setting: the locations, the religions, the sheer logic of the Discworld, it’s just incredible. It baffles me that Pratchett has managed to keep this series going for so long and I’m curious to see if the books are all as imaginative as this one. The only reason this volume didn’t get five stars was the rushed and frankly not at all statisfying ending. Such a shame.

Still, consider me hooked. After all, a writer who manages to get me a little emotional over the fact that Death stops speaking in all-caps and starts flipping burgers in a back-alley diner must be doing something right.

Find more reviews here.

The truth is, everyone likes to look down on someone. If your favorites are all avant-garde writers who throw in Sanskrit and German, you can look down on everyone. If your favorites are all Oprah Book Club books, you can at least look down on mystery readers. Mystery readers have sci-fi readers. Sci-fi can look down on fantasy. And yes, fantasy readers have their own snobbishness. I’ll bet this, though: in a hundred years, people will be writing a lot more dissertations on Harry Potter than on John Updike. Look, Charles Dickens wrote popular fiction. Shakespeare wrote popular fiction - until he wrote his sonnets, desperate to show the literati of his day that he was real artist. Edgar Allan Poe tied himself in knots because no one realized he was a genius. The core of the problem is how we want to define “literature”. The Latin root simply means “letters”. Those letters are either delivered - they connect with an audience - or they don’t. For some, that audience is a few thousand college professors and some critics. For others, its twenty million women desperate for romance in their lives. Those connections happen because the books successfully communicate something real about the human experience. Sure, there are trashy books that do really well, but that’s because there are trashy facets of humanity. What people value in their books - and thus what they count as literature - really tells you more about them than it does about the book.

Brent Weeks (via victoriousvocabulary)

(via the-library-and-step-on-it)

I had a weird dream about William Hazlitt buying a pair of grey jeans for 4 PENCE (which he did with a cheque) and being a general Bohemian. And of Charlotte Bronte complaining she can’t find a husband. Then somehow both of them got together and got engaged. When asked what she thought of Hazlitt, she replied that he was annoying, irresponsible (and a whole lot of negative epithets) but you could see she was in love with him.

Weird. I think I’ve been thinking of too much about the Romantics.

william hazlitt charlotte bronte romantics romanticism

Anonymous asked: Top 5 least favorite lit characters

the-library-and-step-on-it:

Note: These are characters I really actively despise, they’re not necessarily villains who are meant to be unlikeable.

1. Bella Swan (Twilight, Stephenie Meyer. You can go ahead and count Fifty Shades of Grey's Anastasia Steele too, since we all know they're the same “person.”)

You all know why. I could talk all day about why Bella is the absolute worst, but I’m done wasting my time and energy on this series. Just take it from me that I could fill up this list with Twilight characters because they’re all terrible, even the ones who started out alright (I’m looking at you, Charlie “my daughter broke her hand hitting you because you kissed her without her consent but I’m going to congratulate you anyway for some reason” Swan).

2. Amelia Sedley (Vanity Fair, William Makepeace Thackeray)

Amelia Sedley makes me so angry. She starts out as a meek and naieve foil to Becky Sherp, but towards the end, she becomes more and more unlikeable to the point where she’s just a horrible person. She strings poor Dobbin along for years, she knows how he feels about her, keeps turning him down, and yet lets him do everything for her because she’s lonely and miserable. When Dobbin finally finds the courage to leave her, she finds out from Becky that her late husband was an ass and she immediately reels Dobbin back in. That’s not love, that is emotional manipulation at its absolute worst. You suck, Amelia. You used that poor man’s feelings for you so you would be more comfortable. Don’t you try the innocent widow act on me, I’ve got my eye on you.

3. Falstaff (Henry IV part 1 and 2, William Shakespeare)

Okay, Falstaff is meant to be unlikeable, but a lot of people do like the character despite their better judgment whereas I really only feel disgust. My nose actually crinkles when I read his scenes, it’s that bad. Every five minutes spent with Falstaff is five minutes too many, and when Hal finally pushes him away, my heart soars because Jesus Hal what took you so long.

Here’s my incredibly insightful Goodreads review of Henry IV (Part 1):

I could write something very eloquent about this play and its views on warfare, but since I’m feeling a bit lazy, I’ll just sum up my thoughts on Falstaff for you: Fuck’s sake. What a cock.
(I swear I have a degree in this.)

4. John Thorpe (Northanger Abbey, Jane Austen)

The word “rapey” comes to mind.

5. Uriah Heep (David Copperfield, Charles Dickens)

I actually had a nightmare about Uriah Heep as a child. He’s so slimey and sneaky and oily and oh God get away from me.

BOOK REVIEW / Nobs versus mobs: 'The Intellectuals and the Masses' - John Carey: Faber, 14.99

Who says good literature can’t be entertaining and engaging? The Victorians were profound and yet readable, which is why they were the greatest novelists of all time.

1 week ago

I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I haven’t watched my favourite web series for a month, and don’t feel like watching it. I try to read my favourite books but nothing goes in. I just don’t feel interested in anything. Now if I were depressed this would be understandable but the thing is that I am not depressed. I am upset, but that is because I am not inspired or interested. Before then, I just felt … nothing. No delight, but no pain either. I am thoroughly brain-dead. Nothing makes an impression on me. Doing something original is out of the question. I have not had an original train of thought for over two months since starting lab. I tried to write, but nothing came out - not even disorganised but brilliant fragments. My dad scolded me for choosing a Research Masters since I say I’m not a lab person. I said my great-uncle told me so, and I was further scolded for blaming my uncle. I was not blaming my uncle. I was merely stating facts. I didn’t know what to do at the time (still don’t know) and he merely gave what he thought was good advice. I’m not even painfully unhappy now, though I was last year when I didn’t know what to do. Perhaps that is a good thing. I am just sick of this numbness. I miss being clever, original and determined. I miss telling jokes to people who understood my sense of humour. I don’t even feel sympathetic to anyone anymore. I don’t even feel horrified, but think I ought to.