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Posting ItThe Victorian Revolution in Letter Writing$
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Catherine J. Golden

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780813033792

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813033792.001.0001

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“Why Is a Raven … ?”

“Why Is a Raven … ?”

The Rise of Postal Products from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1865) and Vanity Fair (1848) to the Pages of the Great Exhibition Catalogue (1851)

(p.114) (p.115) Chapter 3 “Why Is a Raven … ?”
Posting It

Catherine J. Golden

University Press of Florida

This chapter looks at an arguably unexpected outcome of postal reform — the production and consumption of materials that accompanied the Victorian revolution in letter writing. Demand grew for writing desks to keep stationery, sealing wax, and a host of postal products. The chapter uses as a focal point the massive Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of all Nations, 1851. Official Descriptive and Illustrated Catalogue, which describes and illustrates postal ephemera among other symbols of progress featured at the Great Exhibition of 1851. Functioning as material memories of the age to which they belong, pictorial envelopes, letter-writing manuals, and, in particular, writing desks evoke a former way of life, conveying information about social class and status, gender, and aesthetics, as well as about Victorian preoccupations with etiquette, privacy, and personal values, such as love and duty.

Keywords:   Great Exhibition, postal reform, letter writing, stationery, postal products

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