Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Matthew Sweet at the University of Leicester

I have just got back from hearing Matthew Sweet lecture at the University of Leicester.

His Centre for Victorian Studies Annual Lecture The Victorian World: Prison to Playground - complete with clips from Doctor Who and Penny Dreadful - looked at our changing view of the 19th century.

We are moving from the view exemplified in Viz's occasional strip Victorian Dad to something more nuanced and playful. But both views tell us more about ourselves than they do about the Victorians.

Afterwards I talked to Matthew about William Hartnell, forgotten child stars and Dirk Bogarde.

I also met Professor Keith Snell, who supervised my dissertation on Richard Jefferies many years ago, and (gulp) the granddaughter of one of the Conservative councillors I was on Harborough District with.

The most unexpected thing about the evening was that, during his lecture, Matthew mentioned one of this blog's other heroes: J.W. Logan MP.

As he wrote in the Guardian this summer:
In August 1895 the MP for Leicester launched a campaign against the "grossly demoralising and corrupting character" of the penny dreadful. By a sweet coincidence, his name was John Logan.
The coincidence is that the television series Penny Dreadful was created by another John Logan.

In fact my John Logan was MP for Harborough between 1891 and 1904 and between 1910 and 1916, but it must be him.

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