Secret Commissions reviewed in Victorian Periodicals Review

Stephen Donovan and Matthew Rubery’s unique anthology of Victorian investigative journalism, Secret Commissions, was recently reviewed by Ann M. Hale (University of St. Thomas) in the Spring 2013 issue of the Victorian Periodicals Review. Hale writes:

“A key strength of Secret Commissions is that the content resonates with a range of disciplines, from media studies to literature, from history to gender studies, and from documentary studies to creative-nonfiction. It introduces students to several seminal Victorian works, such as W.T. Stead’s “Maiden Tribute” (1885), James Greenwood’s “A Night in the Workhouse” (1866), and George Sims’s “How the Poor Live” (1883). Pieces by well-known figures, such as Stead, Dickens, Mayhew, Sims, and Greenwood, appear alongside some relatively unknown writers, such as “A. B.” and Herbert Cadett….Outside of the classroom, the primary value of Secret Commissions is that it offers a glimpse into the development of investigative journalism in the nineteenth century. While it will be of most use to those with little knowledge of the subject matter since it is comprised primarily of excerpts, the anthology does gather together previously uncollected material and draws attention to the need for further study. Secret Commissions has a stimulant effect akin to that mentioned by Stead in that it brings the subject of Victorian investigative journalism, which could have remained dormant, to the forefront and leaves one craving more.”

To read an excerpt from Donovan and Rubery’s anthology, take a look at our earlier post on Secret Commissions here.


Posted on May 7, 2013

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