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Permanent link (DOI): https://doi.org/10.7939/R3XK84Z3S

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Undercover Reporting in the Victorian Newspaper Open Access

Descriptions

Other title
Subject/Keyword
Victorian Newspapers
Undercover Report
Print Culture
Popular Culture
New Journalism
Genre
Music Hall
Yellow-back
Serial Fiction
Type of item
Thesis
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Richardson, Jillian J
Supervisor and department
Hamilton, Susan (English and Film Studies)
Examining committee member and department
Sinnema, Peter (English and Film Studies)
Brazeau, Robert (English and Film Studies)
Gramit, David (Music)
Rubery, Matthew (English)
Department
Department of English and Film Studies
Specialization
English
Date accepted
2016-09-28T15:14:55Z
Graduation date
2016-06:Fall 2016
Degree
Doctor of Philosophy
Degree level
Doctoral
Abstract
This dissertation studies the rise of undercover journalism in the Victorian period. Beginning in the 1860s, British journalists donned disguises to investigate the urban poor, and published their reports in a variety of newspapers. Scholars have traditionally studied incognito investigations by journalists within the context of sociological inquiries, carried out by Royal Commissioners, government inspectors, and ethnographers in the period. Yet, this dissertation examines undercover reports not as social documents, but rather, as part of an emerging textual genre, shaped by the shifting conventions of the Victorian newspaper. Drawing on the approaches of print- culture scholarship, each chapter investigates how undercover reports by James Greenwood, Thomas Carlisle, and Margaret Harkness were published and circulated in the period. Newspapers like the Pall Mall Gazette, the Globe and Traveller, and the British Weekly variously positioned these reports alongside the works of prominent reform institutions, including the Poor Law Board, the Charity Organization Society, and the Salvation Army. Yet, amid the rise of mass literacy and popular print culture, newspapers equally positioned undercover reports within the context of music-hall performance, New Journalism, yellow-back publishing, and serial fiction. These case studies thus work to illustrate how undercover reporting in the newspaper engaged not only with the study of the urban poor, but also with the shifting landscape of Victorian print and popular culture. While historians remain preoccupied with the dynamics between middle-class investigators and working-class subjects in undercover reports, this dissertation explores the variety of ways in which publication and circulation reconfigured class, cultural, gender, and discursive relations through print. This study’s attention to an under-examined genre of Victorian journalism contributes to the expanding field of print-culture scholarship, while also raising questions about how print genres give shape to the narratives of social history.
Language
English
DOI
doi:10.7939/R3XK84Z3S
Rights
This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for the purpose of private, scholarly or scientific research. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
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