This lecture, the first of our Lives and Letters strand, will explore how publishers became responsible for promoting authors through portraiture in the mid-Victorian period. In particular it will focus on Edward Moxon and his role in expanding the readership of both William Wordsworth and Alfred Tennyson. While portraits of Wordsworth were relatively scarce, Tennyson was surrounded by sculptors, painters and photographers, which led to a new and disturbing experience of literary celebrity that had a major impact on his career.
Jim Cheshire is Reader in Cultural History at the University of Lincoln. His research examines the literary and visual culture of the nineteenth century and thematically is centred on Victorian medievalism. He has recently been working on the relationship between the literary and material culture surrounding the career of Alfred Tennyson. Several related publications discuss the importance of the physical form and visual appearance of Tennyson’s poetry and how this might have influenced the way that his poetry was read. He recently published a monograph about Edward Moxon (Tennyson’s publisher) and his impact on Victorian poetry.