Asking the Right Questions: Researching Victorian Greece in Digital Humanities – REVICTO Webinar

Asking the Right Questions: Researching Victorian Greece in Digital Humanities – REVICTO Webinar 1656 2560 REVICTO

21 Nov. 2020
11.00-13.00

Organized by REVICTO: “Representations of Modern Greece in Victorian Popular Culture,” supported by the Hellenic Foundation for Research and Innovation (H.F.R.I.) under the “First Call for H.F.R.I. Research Projects to support Faculty members and Researchers and the procurement of high-cost research equipment grant.

Programme

Konstantina Georganta

Fustanella on a Moth: Visual and Textual Tactics in Popular Victorian Political Satire’

Chryssa Marinou

Greek Modernity and its Reception in the Great Exhibition of 1851: Looking at Research in Progress’

Mathilde Pyrli

Textual and Visual Representations of Modern Greece in Victorian Popular Print Media, 1850-1900′

Tatiana Kontou 

‘”The Three Graces of the Pre-Raphaelites”: Spartali, Zambaco and Coronio’

Anna Despotopoulou

In Search of War Heroines: 1821 Narratives in Victorian Periodicals’

Webinar convener: Efterpi Mitsi

Each presentation will be 10-15′ min followed by 5′ min questions. Discussion at the end.

The webinar will be available via the Webex platform of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens (uoa.webex.com). If you wish to participate, please contact the convener Efterpi Mitsi (emitsi@enl.uoa.gr) for further details.

 

Abstracts

Fustanella on a Moth: Visual and Textual Tactics in Popular Victorian Political Satire’

Konstantina Georganta

Even though it may be dangerous to analyse the complexities of a whole era through the lens of just one journal, it is safe to say that Punch’s cartoons reflected many of the ideas, attitudes and prejudices of its middle-class readership: ‘The Spectator rightly considered Punch to be the “mirror of the popular mind” and argued that “it teaches us both the strengths and the limitations of popular ridicule” (August 24, 1878, 1061)’. Exploring the references to Crete in this popular Victorian magazine – since Crete was an area of contention in that period that attracted attention to Greece as part of the diplomatic discussions held around the Eastern question – is allowing for a storyline to surface narrating British interest in modern Greece throughout the Victorian period whilst unearthing various narrative strands used when referring to Greece. So it is that we move from Punch being critical of the 1850 blockade of Piraeus using the ‘intellectual civilisation’ argument to a 1875 piece in which Punch admits that Greece, like all other insurgent provinces previously under Ottoman rule, would be ideally imagined by England as a colony by the year 1879 and on to a March 1897 illustration of ‘Dame Europe’ delivering ‘little Crete’ to a ‘nice, kind Turkish policeman’.
 
The presentation will include two parts: first, the participants will be made privy to a selection of Punch illustrations on Crete/Greece from the year 1897 so as to be prompted to build a list of questions that would have helped them develop their hypothetical research on political satire, and then they will be presented with part of the research already done on this particular subject/field so as to see to what extent some at least of their questions were answered or completed. 

 

Greek Modernity and its Reception in the Great Exhibition of 1851: Looking at Research in Progress’

Chryssa Marinou

My presentation will briefly discuss my research about how the Victorian press presented the participation of Greece in the 1851 Exhibition. I read these texts as instances that offer a glimpse into Greek modernity and into its reception in the Victorian press. Greece as a newly nascent state took part in the “Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All Nations” with a display that attested to both modern economic interests and a knowledge of the commercial value of its past: the thirty one exhibits included products for export like tobacco, raisins, figs and several types of marble which were shown side by side with national Greek costumes, woodcarvings, marble bas-reliefs and reproductions of ancient monuments. Given that the floor plan of the Great Exhibition conveys “implicit ideological assumptions,” according to Debbie Challis, the marginal position of the Greek display designated modern Greece as “part of the Levant or ‘Oriental’ world rather than Europe” (173). Greece thus seemed to be located in an imaginary “grey area,” between the European West and the Levantine East. The eight excerpts I will be presenting come from eleven newspapers, since occasionally the same article was printed elsewhere, and all articles are published between March and December 1851. My aim is to read these references to the Greek participation in the exhibition as reinforcing the Victorian impulse to negotiate the old with the new and as a reflection of the cultural hybridity that characterised Modern Greece. I argue that the Greek display can be viewed as a register of the cultural relation between Victorian culture and (Modern) Greece, a country which resists taxonomy and assimilation within the dominant modernity project.

 

Textual and Visual Representations of Modern Greece in Victorian Popular Print Media, 1850-1900′

Mathilde Pyrli

This presentation relates to a PhD project which explores a number of Victorian popular magazines and newspapers, as well as ephemera, for representations of modern Greece in word and image. The presentation offers a brief overview of the ways in which digital humanities and, in particular, online research platforms and tools, facilitate the examination of the digitized primary sources. Challenges, both in terms of online research and cataloguing of finds in a database designed for the purpose, are briefly discussed.

 

‘”The Three Graces of the Pre-Raphaelites”: Spartali, Zambaco and Coronio’

Tatiana Kontou

Taking as its starting point G. F. Watts’ 1840 portrait of ‘The Family of Constantine Alexander Ionides’ this paper traces the connections between the wealthy Anglo-Greek community and the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood and considers the work of Aglaia Coronio, Marie Spartali Stillman and Maria Zambaco as artists and models of the PRB.

 

In Search of War Heroines: 1821 Narratives in Victorian Periodicals’

Anna Despotopoulou

My presentation will focus on Victorian popular representations of Greek women who distinguished themselves for their heroism during the war ofindependence. These women became legendary not only in Greece but also in Britain, where their stories were told and recreated in the periodical press. Through examples of short fiction inspired by cases such as the famous Laskarina Bouboulina, Manto Mavrogenous, and the Suliote women, I will consider the ways in which Victorian periodicals often offered correctives to the dominant historical discourse, inserting the marginal, ‘minor’, stories of heroic Greek women, into the ‘major’ narrative of the revolution which was explored in history books. These popular narratives, on the one hand, served to sensitize British readers to Greek women’s strong devotion to patriotic acts of liberty. On the other, they reflected British ideological, political, literary, and even moral positions.