Foreign Correspondence: Victorian War and Opinion Culture


ACLS Fellowship Program




This project explores how Victorians in a liberal state learned to understand war itself, and, in particular, how the Crimean war contributed to the formation of “realistic” standards in the middle decades of the nineteenth century, particularly in relation to newspaper commentary, illustrated journalism, and realist literature. The proliferation of visual and print reports from the Crimean front is best understood in terms of the nature of the opinion culture that emerges alongside the liberal state. The technologies of reportage utilized during the Crimean War produced functional conceptions of realism that have less to do with empirical standards of objectivity and much more to do with “the genuine”—a Victorian term complexly indexing sincerity, authenticity, intimacy, and immediacy.