Maybe it’s the hubbub surrounding Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee. Maybe it’s Maggie Gyllenhaal’s “climactic” performance in the recent movie Hysteria (set during the medical vibrator craze of the 1880s). But these days, we’re totally obsessed with Victorian life.
Here, three new ways to immerse yourself in the era.
Queen Victoria’s journals If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to actually be a monarch, check out the newly digitized journals of England’s most beloved queen. Entries range from semi-steamy (on Prince Albert: “We kissed each other again and again!”) to appropriately political. Particularly impressive are Victoria’s accomplished sketches of her children and companions.
Mrs. Robinson’s Disgrace Isabella Robinson was considered a respectable Victorian lady. That is, until her husband read her diary, learned of her adulterous affair and petitioned for a divorce. Such is the subject of Kate Summerscale’s compulsively readable new book, which chronicles the era’s most salacious and misunderstood court case.
The Pleasures of Men Esteemed English historian Kate Williams has finally taken a crack at fiction, and her debut effort--about a Jack the Ripper–like serial killer in 1890s London--does not disappoint. Preorder the rich-with-period-details book now (it’s on sale in August) and add it to your late-summer reading list.