UW-System Fellow (2022-2023)
Associate Professor of English, English and Humanities, University of Wisconsin, Green Bay
The most successful author of Victorian penny “bloods” and “dreadfuls,” or cheap illustrated serial fiction was the obscure, reclusive James Malcolm Rymer, creator of the definitive “dreadful” villain, Sweeney Todd, homicidal barber of Fleet-street. A major, neglected influence upon Rymer was his birth family: a working-class London literary-artistic coterie of extraordinary creativity. Resident in the radical artisanal parish of Clerkenwell and active during the cultural feud over Leigh Hunt’s “Cockney School of Poetry,” the Rymer family included a published novelist and poet, a milliner, several artists, and an audacious serial forger who was transported to Van Diemen’s Land. This family’s experiences and works inform James Malcolm Rymer’s Victorian fiction, which, despite his “dreadful” image, he wrote for and often about the British urban working family, an institution he associates with ingenuity and love.
Rebecca Nesvet is an Associate Professor of English, University of Wisconsin, Green Bay. She has published in Victorian Studies, Nineteenth Century Studies, Cahiers victoriens et édouardiens, Victorian Popular Fictions Journal, Victorian Network, and Scholarly Editing and anthologies from Routledge, Macmillan, Bloomsbury, and the University of Wales Press. She is a Technical Editor and Pedagogy Consultant at the COVE Collective (covecollective.org) and Reviews Editor of Victorian Periodicals Review.
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