A New Library Card and a Bunch of Old Books

Hi Guys!

I haven’t posted since my abstract, but consider that a tribute to how much I’ve gotten done since then.

I spent the latter half of May and a little bit of June doing research in England. My biggest trip was to the British Library in London. I got to use their “reading rooms” where you can access tons of older books. They’ll let you look at books hundreds of years old as long as you don’t take anything out of the reading room itself.

To get in though, you have to go through a short application process and get an ID. Here’s a photo of mine (I was unprepared):

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I got to look at great primary sources in the library like an 1865 pamphlet called “A Guide to Marriage” by Albert Sidebottom that gives tons of advice about picking a spouse, such that people should marry their physical opposite. Tall people should marry short, for example. I’m at a bit of a loss though since I’m exactly average height so if anyone has any recommendations let me know. The British Library was a very successful visit in terms of gathering background on what marriage, courtship, and sexuality were really like during the Victorian age.

Also on the list of things I accomplished before I left the UK were visits to Charlotte Bronte, Thomas Hardy, and Elizabeth Gaskell’s home. All three were in such different locations of England and were in various states of preservation. All were useful though in giving me a sense of each author’s daily life, which will help me explain the influence of their backgrounds on their takes on marriage.

Since coming back to the U.S., I spent a while going through all my UK research notes. Since then, I’ve been trying to put a dent in my secondary reading. Next post, I’ll update you guys on how that is been going.

Overall, I’m feeling pretty productive so far and already can see all the ways my original ideas for my thesis have been changing and growing. More on that next time.

Bonus pic of the Bronte Parsonage before I go, it’s always been a dream of mine to go there so I was pretty excited:

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