Listening Outward at NAVSA 2018

This year for the National Victorian Studies Association (NAVSA) Conference, I transcribed two songs which were printed in The Weekly Telegraph in 1894. My paper, “Printing Synesthesia: Sensory Epistemologies in the Nineteenth-Century Newspaper,” was part of a panel in which I, Kate Nexbit (U Iowa), Miranda Butler (UC Riverside), and Shannon Draucker (Boston U) explored the intersections of sound, embodiment, and knowledge. It was a fascinating panel, and I’m so delighted to call these brilliant women my colleagues and friends.

For my presentation, I converted these songs to midi files and shared them with my audience. Because of the publication context, I think it’s fairly safe to say that panel attendees were the first people to hear these songs for about 120 years. You can listen too, below. I’ll also be posting excerpts from our panel over on Victorian Scribblers.

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Unifying Structures in The Weekly Telegraph (1894)

As promised, this week we are going to take a look at the unifying structures in the later iterations of The Sheffield Daily Telegraph supplement (which is called The Sheffield Weekly Telegraph and then just The Weekly Telegraph). I took extra time to put together this post, because I needed to prepare some supplementary materials for your entertainment and edification. Thank you for waiting patiently.

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On Unifying Structures in The Sheffield Daily Telegraph (1879-1880)

In The Nineteenth-Century Press in the Digital Age, James Mussell argues that to fully appreciate and understand the material produced by the nineteenth-century press (and how that material interacted with and informed 19C culture), “we now need to cultivate two sets of skills…familiarity with the forms and genres of the periodical and newspaper press; and the ability to interrogate the resources that present them in digital form.” He goes on to argue that two of the most important characteristics of nineteenth-century periodicals and newspapers are miscellaneity and seriality or random/unique elements that appear once or twice and then disappear and serial elements that stay the same over time. Noting that the use-value of these print texts “imposed contradictory conditions of stability and fluidity upon periodical form: each ‘number is different, but it is the same periodical,'” Mussell argues that “both miscellaneity and seriality might be predicated on difference – this article is different to the others on the page; this issue is different to the last – but this difference is tempered in each case by various recurrent features.” And, he concludes, “it is these predominately formal aspects of the publication, running across and between issues, that permit it to assert its identity and establish its persistence over time…Repetition is a vital and overlooked component of periodical form. It operates both synchronically, within the issue, and diachronically, between them in order to posit unifying structures that can manage difference.” 

Today, as you may have guessed, we’ll be taking a look at these unifying structures as they exist in Saturday supplement of The Sheffield Daily Telegraph in 1879-1880.

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Tracking a Masthead Over Time

This week in the Print Culture blog series, we’re taking a brief look at newspaper mastheads and how they change over time.

To do so, we’ll look at Saturday supplements of The Sheffield Daily Telegraph from the early years of publication, and then take a look at what’s changed or stayed the same every five-ish years after that until around 1894. As I noted in my last post, this blog series is possible because of The British Newspaper Archive, which is an amazing resource for periodicals and print culture scholars.

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A Brief Introduction to The Sheffield Daily Telegraph (1855-1950) and The Sheffield Weekly Telegraph (1884-1920)


According to my research (via The British Newspaper archive), The Sheffield Daily Telegraph ran from 1855-1950 under varied ownership. It was originally published by “bookseller, printer and patent medicine dealer, Joseph Pearce” and “sold…to Frederick Clifford and William Leng” in 1864 (source). Pearce’s third credential is part of the reason for my interest in this particular newspaper, as my dissertation looks at the intersections of print culture and embodiment from a variety of perspectives (including medical humanities).

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