Moving Pictures: Serial Revolutions in 1848’ (Tues, 25 May at 4.00pm (UK-time))

Professor Clare Pettitt (King’s College London) on ‘Moving Pictures: Serial Revolutions in 1848’ (Tues, 25 May at 5.00pm (4.00pm UK-time))

The technologies that made illustrations cheap and fast to produce were only just becoming readily available in 1848, so that the sweep of revolutions was among the first news to offer itself to the new visual media techniques. The result was a new visual praxis which this chapter argues was key to creating a sense of connectivity and identity across Europe.  Because of the sharing of ‘stereotypes’ or printing plates, identical illustrations of barricades, insurgent fighting, and newly constituted parliaments and assemblies appeared in illustrated journals in Britain, Germany and France, copying themselves across Europe to very different readerships. This chapter tracks newspaper illustrations of revolution through France and onwards into Italy, Germany, Austria, and Hungary.  It suggests that the mistaken nineteenth-century idea that the 1848 revolutions started in Paris and radiated out from the French capital survives in our history books partly because of the very strong press links between Paris and London so that the Paris revolution of February 1848 was rapidly and extensively reported in the Anglophone press, and then exported from London to other European cities.

Clare Pettitt has taught at the universities of Oxford, Leeds and Cambridge and is now Professor of Nineteenth-Century Literature and Culture at King’s College London.  She has written and published widely on periodical and print culture and media history, including articles on scrapbooks, annuals and miscellanies.  Her second monograph, ‘Dr Livingstone, I Presume?’  Missionaries, Journalists, Explorers and Empire (2007) focused on the media history of the famous meeting between Livingstone and Stanley, and from 2012-2016, she was a Research Director on an interdisciplinary AHRC Project, Scrambled Messages: The Telegraphic Imaginary 1857-1900. Last summer, she published Serial Forms: The Unfinished Project of Modernity, 1815-1848 with Oxford University Press. This is the first volume of a three-volume reassessment of the impact of the media on political and literary culture from 1815-1918. The second part, entitled Serial Revolutions 1848: Writing, Politics, Form is due out with Oxford later this year.  A third and final part will track the emergence of the digital and its effects on literary culture and imperial and racial identities.