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Blood Relations: James Malcolm Rymer, Penny Fiction, and the Family

April 10 @ 3:30 pm - 5:00 pm

This is a photo of Rebecca Nesvet, standing in an orchard in Wisconsin.
Photograph courtesy of R. Nesvet.

Rebecca Nesvet

UW-System Fellow (2022-2023)

Associate Professor of English, English and Humanities, University of Wisconsin, Green Bay


“Blood Relations: James Malcolm Rymer, Penny Fiction, and the Family” is the first monograph on James Malcolm Rymer (1814-1884), the most prolific and influential author of Victorian penny fiction (“bloods” and “dreadfuls”). While Victorian myth and modern criticism dismiss Rymer as an inscrutable “hack” and literary outsider, he in fact belonged to a working-class literary-artistic-political family, comprising writers, engravers, artists, a polemicist, and even a creative criminal. His hereditary and found relations’ influence and provocations shaped his literary output, enabling him to court working-class family audiences with representations of the working-class family as a space of creativity and radical love.


Rebecca Nesvet is an Associate Professor of English, University of Wisconsin, Green Bay. She has published in journals including Nineteenth Century Studies, Cahiers victoriens et édouardiens, Victorian Popular Fictions Journal, Victorian Network, Notes and Queries, Scholarly Editing: The Annual of the Association for Documentary Editing, and Women’s Writing. Nesvet edited James Malcolm Rymer’s penny dreadful A Mystery in Scarlet for COVE Editions and is co-editing Robert Southey’s unpublished Gothic novel Harold, or, the Castle of Morford (1791) for Routledge. Nesvet is also a Technical Editor and Pedagogy Consultant at the COVE Collective (covecollective.org).

*Events currently open only to 2022-23 fellows due to space concerns; please contact IRH at info@irh.wisc.edu to be added to a cancellation list for in-person events.*


April 10
3:30 pm - 5:00 pm
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University Club, Room 212
432 East Campus Mall
Madison, Wisconsin 53703 United States
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