since about Victorian times (roughly 1837 on)+ photographs
This essay is a reflective exploration of the inception and development of three novels Iwrote set in Victorian (and Regency) London, so as to try and understand why this periodstill has such a powerful grip on our collective imaginations. I question whether ourunderstanding of the nineteenth century is stereotypical or superficial, and to what extentwe can escape from our own intellectual preoccupations and biases into those of ourforebears. By reflecting Book Writers process, I ask whether, if we do manage to thus‘escape’, this amounts to ‘escapism’ – a fear of confronting our own uncertain present –and in what way writing about real people differs from writing about imaginary ones. Thisleads on to wider speculations regarding the extent to which the internet and an ever moreglobalized and interconnected world influence what we write, in particular biofunctions.Keywords: Bedlam trilogy, Bethel Royal Hospital, biofunction, Richard Dadd, WilliamGodwin, Benjamin Haydon, historical fiction, William Charles Hood, John Martin, J. M.W. Turner.
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