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Neglected Queen Victoria

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boswellbaxter
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Neglected Queen Victoria

Postby boswellbaxter » Wed December 16th, 2009, 2:19 am

A piece in Salon.com about the lack of HF about Victoria:

http://www.salon.com/books/laura_miller/2009/12/15/victoria/
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SonjaMarie
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Postby SonjaMarie » Wed December 16th, 2009, 2:27 am

Except there's a lot of HF on Victoria, at least from the past, here's the list I posted in July:
http://www.historicalfictiononline.com/forums/showpost.php?p=34878&postcount=10

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Divia
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Postby Divia » Wed December 16th, 2009, 2:31 am

and the Victorian era remains one of historical fiction's best-loved periods.


Really? I must have missed that memo. Since when? Cause since I started getting serious about HF (with the TOBG) I havent seen a whole lot of Victorian stuff. And the stuff I have seen is mystery.
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Ariadne
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Postby Ariadne » Wed December 16th, 2009, 2:53 am

Huh, a couple noticeable spelling errors in that piece. Victoria's life wasn't exactly full of romantic scandal; nor was she a glamorous figure. She was a prolific letter writer, and her day-to-day life and reign are both very well documented. It's pretty easy to understand why there have been comparatively few historical novels about her.

annis
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Postby annis » Wed December 16th, 2009, 7:00 pm

That's right. Victoria's über-respectable, family-friendly image was deliberately played up as a contrast to the various Georges who din't give monarchy a good name, and whose reigns led to a rise in republican sentiment, regarded with particular alarm in light of the French Revolution and its consequences.

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MLE (Emily Cotton)
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Postby MLE (Emily Cotton) » Wed December 16th, 2009, 8:09 pm

I don't see why a monarch has to be sexually profligrate, a gambler, an alcoholic, tragically handled, or really misrule in order to be a good subject for a novel. Victoria had emotions like the rest of us, and she went through a lot in her years. The movie Mrs. Brown did a good take on her widowhood; she loved her children passionately, there is plenty of good material there. But more to the point, Victoria ruled as a constitutional monarch during the time of the world's greatest global empire. All kinds of dramatic things happened on her watch. Don't tell me there isn't some writer who can't write a gripping story about how she stayed on top of some of the world's most pressing issues.

Maybe Victoria really was the 'Mary Sue' heroine--but if it's well documented, and it's true, why not write it up?

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Helen_Davis
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Postby Helen_Davis » Wed December 16th, 2009, 8:57 pm

Well IMO she pushed women's rights back about 100 years, which is why she shouldn't be celebrated. :mad:
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Divia
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Postby Divia » Wed December 16th, 2009, 9:21 pm

"Andromeda_Organa" wrote:Well IMO she pushed women's rights back about 100 years, which is why she shouldn't be celebrated. :mad:


To be fair there were a great deal many Victorian women who wanted nothing to do with voting or women's rights.
Last edited by Divia on Sat January 30th, 2010, 3:45 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Chatterbox
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Postby Chatterbox » Sat January 30th, 2010, 3:39 am

I'm with Divia on this one -- talk to any historian who looks at women's support for women's rights, and you'll get an eyeful. It was actually men who provided financial support for Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, for instance; even wealthy women gave a lot to colleges that wouldn't admit other women for degree programs, rather than support the earliest feminists.

But I remember a lot of HF about Victoria when I started reading HF in the 1970s. There were the Plaidy books, of course, and I have at least two other major ones buried away somewhere, plus the Elizabeth Byrd book. There was also a series of HF plays, which I've got somewhere (first editions, found in Hay on Wye). I think she's just out of fashion now, in the same way that the Tudors are all too in fashion... Also, there are a lot of books set in the Victorian era, from God is an Englishman to something like the Rose of Sebastopol. This was an era from which a lot of records survive, from all walks of life, and where 'ordinary' individuals could lead fascinating and mobile lives (the stuff of which fiction is made) that readers today will find interesting. Whereas, the Queen's life itself, aside from some of the political manoeuvering around Lord Melbourne and later, Disraeli and Gladstone, was really rather dull. (Edward VII is a much more interesting character -- no HF about him, really, although there are some mysteries.) The people that were shaping history in this era weren't those sitting on thrones, they were the middle class and the nobility.

If I ever wrote HF about Victoria, I'd actually choose to write it about a family member -- maybe a daughter or granddaughter, and her relationship with Victoria. That would be the only way to get beyond the relative banality and relentless domesticity of her life.

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Divia
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Postby Divia » Sat January 30th, 2010, 3:50 am

That would be a cool story...and one I would read.

I think it should also be noted that there was a division among women who sought the right to vote. There were some white women who wanted nothing to do with black women for fear it would jeopardize their chances.

But many poor women did not care about voting or rights. All they cared about was trying to feed their kids and keep a roof over their head. As Chatter said it was the rich / uppermiddle class women with a lot of time on their hands and an itching to make social change that took on these causes. And even then not all of them supported such such radical ideas.
Last edited by Divia on Sat January 30th, 2010, 3:53 am, edited 1 time in total.
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