Faculty Research at Morehead State University

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Articles about and references to London Zoo--some written by Dickens and others written by the magazine's regular contributors--abound in Household Words, especially in the early 1850s when popular interest in the institution peaked and the Great Exhibition opened in Hyde Park. This essay argues that a good many of the articles deliberately celebrate British imperial power and scientific advancements although the attitudes toward social class remain considerably more nuanced. Viewed as a whole, many of these articles from Household Words express a relatively uniform position on London Zoo that is packaged for a middle-class audience and expresses concerns about the changing function of the Zoo in Victorian culture. In particular, these articles articulate a general anxiety that a popular and sentimental view of animals threatens to eclipse the scientific achievements of the Zoo and the cultural authorities who support it.



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