It’s all bout the Bass: a Steampunk Feminist Perspective of the Novelty Bustle

A novelty bustle made to commemorate Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee celebrations was fitted with a musical box that played ‘God Save the Queen’ each time the wearer sat down. Nov…

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Thematic Cast of Characters: A Steampunk Writer’s Perspective

I am currently working on a nonfiction piece … and I noticed that I am still using thematic writing.

Cogpunk Steamscribe

A Steampunk version of the character Death from the Endless by Neil Gaiman's Sandman universe. A Steampunk version of the character Death from the Endless, from Neil Gaiman’s Sandman universe.

Thematic casting is when you base your characters around a central theme. Take the Fanastic Four as a fairly simplistic example of thematic casting. Mr Fantastic represents ‘water, Sue is ‘air’, the Human Torch is ‘fire’ and the Thing is ‘earth’; all four of the basic elements as understood by alchemists. The Planeteers from Captain Planet follow the same theme, adding ‘heart’ to the mix. In the Avatar series, the Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra used the same for the various ‘benders’. Many children’s cartoons use thematic casting, but this doesn’t mean it can’t be used as a sophisticated writing tool.

The Victorian era version of the Fantastic Four.

When I think of sophisticated thematic casting, I think of Neil Gaiman’s Endless from his Sandman series. The Endless are seven siblings who rule the aspects…

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The Artist Emily Mary Osborn: a Steampunk Feminist Perspective

 

I write a lot bout the problems that women faced when trying to be professional scientists in the Victorian era, but female artists suffered from the same sorts of sexism and prejudice as their scientist sisters. The perfect example of this is the painting, Nameless and Friendless“The rich man’s wealth is his strong city, etc.” – Proverbs, x, 15, painted in 1857. It depicts the reception of a young artist presenting her paintings to a dealer.

The artist has certainly drawn on her own experiences when painting this scene. The look of resignation on the artist’s face, her brother’s expression halfway between hope and resentment, the dealer pretending to find fault with her work … and the two men on the left, gazing at her with interest tinged with hostility.

 

Nameless and Friendless. "The rich man's wealth is his strong city, etc." - Proverbs, x, 15 1857 by Emily Mary Osborn 1828-1925

Nameless and Friendless. “The rich man’s wealth is his strong city, etc.” – Proverbs, x, 15; painted in 1857 by Emily Mary Osborn (1828-1925 )

The title of the piece is also a hint, referring to the bible proverb: The rich man’s wealth is his strong city: the destruction of the poor is their poverty.

The young artist and her brother are poor, and trying to make a living in a world full of men that see her as a woman first, and an artist second.

Emily Mary Osborn wasn’t in quite the same straits as the young artist in this painting. She was favoured by several wealthy female patrons, and even Queen Victoria bought at least one of her paintings. I suspect she enjoyed the freedom her success gave to her, because she died unmarried at the age of 97. But it didn’t stop her from showing sympathy to Victorian era ‘damsels’, one of her favourite topics.

The Governess

The Governess

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A Mechanical Goddess

This is sheer poetry

Airship Flamel

48770, 1951.19.2a-b Photo credit: Yale University Art Gallery

We are living in times in which we are striving to make the digital look more and more perfectly mechanical, especially here in Silicon Valley.

So it is refreshing to see something that is purely and simply mechanical in its very being.  No pixels, no user interface, no MP3 files.  Just gears and springs and levers artfully crafted, and beautifully encased in hand-worked precious metals and gems, depicting the Diana, goddess of the hunt in her chariot.

From the always entertaining and educational blog Two Nerdy History Girls, the video shows the automaton/clock in action. I can imagine it being quite the site at early 17th century soirees  Even today, it is quite amazing!

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Monday Motivation —

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Victor Hugo, Devoted Grandfather — Windows into History

Snippets 90. John Swinton was a popular journalist, who was chief editor of the New York Times during the 1860s. In 1883 he launched John Swinton’s Paper, an influential publication campaigning for the rights of workers in America. His views may have been influenced in some measure by a visit to Britain three years earlier, […]

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IN DEFENSE OF A POLYAMOROUS READING LIFE written by Jane Losinger — Nerdy Book Club

I am here to publicly admit that I have embraced a polyamorous reading life. The term “polyamory” comes from the Greek for “many loves” and is usually defined as having more than one romantic relationship at any time. Before I go any further, no, this has nothing to do with Fifty Shades of Gray or […]

via IN DEFENSE OF A POLYAMOROUS READING LIFE written by Jane Losinger — Nerdy Book Club

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