A circuit of haunting pictures : theorizing the space of readership in "Condition of England" literature and the periodical press, 1845-1889
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[ACCESS RESTRICTED TO THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI AT REQUEST OF AUTHOR.] This dissertation provides new access to reading as a practice through the multi-modal obstacles and exchanges still embedded within the periodical press -- namely the physical movements, sensory interplay, concentration breaks, and perspective shifts required of readers engaged in a dialogic space -- and uses them to reconstruct Victorians' intertextual modes of reading. I trace how "Condition of England" authors and periodical stakeholders alike used shifts in print culture, from urban sketches to layered illustrations and "Our Illustrations" columns to performance-based pictorial displays, to expose how readers' seemingly private reading experience was deeply intertwined, if not dependent, on Victorian information culture and vice versa. I demonstrate that, by excavating publications' efforts to anticipate readers' movements within and across periodical content, scholars can begin to assess more concretely the way in which Victorian readership actively shaped the structure and design of information culture. I focus specifically on how such figures as Charlotte Bronte, Charles Kingsley, Blanchard Jerrold, Gustave Dore, George Sims, W.T. Stead, William Booth and Margaret Harkness purposefully layered, re-circulated and networked the texts and illustrations within and around their work in order to draw attention to information culture as a multi-dimensional space through which readers moved as well as impacted through their movement.
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