Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Adventures of a Mudlark # 2- Research

A Victorian-era street from Spitalfields Life
If a plot is, as someone said, `Just one thing after another,` research could be defined as following one lead that leads to the next that leads to the next...

Here's a list of a few of the books and websites I've been immersed in lately as I explore Victorian-era London. You can probably deduce from this list that it's working class and poor Londoners that interest me, rather than the high life of the wealthy and privileged - although of course, they do intersect from time to time.

The Victorian City Child By Pamela Horn (nonfiction)
The Victorian City Child by Pamela Horn (nonfiction)
Wildthorn by Jane Eagland (adult novel)
Folly by Marthe Jocelyn (YA novel)
Victorian London: The Life of a City 1840-1870 by Lisa Picard (nonfiction)
The Frightened Man (adult novel about Jack the Ripper)
London's Shadows: The dark side of the Victorian City by Drew Gray (nonfiction)
London in the Nineteenth Century: 'A Human Awful Wonder of God' by Jerry White (nonfiction)
The Timetraveller's Guide to Victorian London by Natasha Narayan
The Blackest Street: The Life and Death of a Victorian Slum by Sarah Wise
London: The biography by Peter Ackroyd
Coster Girls and Mudlarks, edited by Belinda Hollyer
London Labour and the London Poor by Henry Mayhew
The London Underworld in the Victorian Period: Authentic First-Person Accounts by Beggars, Thieves and Prostitutes by Henrey Mahew.

The advantage of using a well-researched book is that it`s likely to have a bibliography that will lead to even more.

Then there are all those seemingly `trivial`bits and pieces of information that rise to the surface as I read... that lead me in pursuit of other material.


Spitalfields Life - an absolutely amazing resource for photographs of this area of London, perhaps best known as the haunting grounds of Jack the Ripper. It is possible to create an entire fictional neighbourhood from these images alone.
Chris Snodgrass - an academic at the University of Florida who specializes in Victorian literature and art. Includes an interesting timeline which I might use to help determine specific events that connect with my story.
Jack the Ripper Casebook - whether or not my book is set in 1888, Jack the Ripper research materials are valuable in establishing some context for the period and setting.
Jack the Ripper - another website with a plethora of resources and research materials.
These are only two of many online resources re Jack the Ripper. More than enough info for me to be gong on with!
The Victorian Dictionary - website of Lee Jackson, author of a number of Victorian thrillers.
Lots of basic definitions, media excerpts etc. detailing Victorian life. Here I found a very useful article on Victorian coffeehouses, where Rowena Cole first meets her future patron Charles Dickens in THE ROUGH DRESS.
The Victorian Peeper - 'Nineteenth Century Britain Through the Looking Glass'

Not that I'm spending every minute immersed in research.

This week I've also enjoyed two very different books by Meg Rosoff' - Bride's Farewell and What I Was and my current bedtime reading is the beautifully evocative Shade by Irish playwright Neil Jordon.

And I've also been wrestling with edits on Paper House and a Citizenship and Immigration grant report.

Bring on the long weekend. Happy Canada Day to all.

1 comment:

Leanne Tremblay said...

Thanks so much for this series on research! Your list of resources are a goldmine. You never know what a little digging will turn up. Way cool!