Michael Wolff's Homepage

I am using this homepage mostly to record matters Victorian. Iíve spent pretty well my whole professional life (since 1952) studying and teaching and otherwise encouraging scholarly work on Britain in the nineteenth century. I have now retired though I continue to be active in the field. There are four topics to which I invite your attention and I hope your participation.
My email is mwolff@english.umass.edu
(I am putting this whole homepage up even though only the Library page is operational. I will gradually build the others as I have time and data.)

As of September 1998, I have been actively working on  "Locating the Victorians", a conference scheduled for London, 12-15 July 2001.  It is being hosted by the Science, Victoria & Albert, and Natural History Museums,  and a preliminary description of the conference can be found at www.nmsi.ac.uk/researchers/victorians.  I should be glad to field inquires at my e-mail address.

1) I am trying to construct (and to persuade others to help me construct) a sort of archive/history of Victorian studies as a ďdisciplineĒ distinct from Victorian literature, economics, science, politics, etc.

2) I am putting together a personal record of activities in the field. Even here, people might have contributions to make, especially those who were in at the beginning of groups I helped to start. There will a good deal of overlap with #1.

3) Because there is no listserv or bulletin board for George Eliot, Iím going to put up a probably idiosyncratic GE page, a sort of specialized notes and queries, which I hope GE scholars and enthusiasts will consult, use, and supplement.

4) I am keeping the listing of my Victorian library which for the most part I will not be using any more and am therefore offering for sale to other scholars who might find Victorian books and periodicals available here more cheaply than through booksellers (if they are available at all). I might later on add photographs and caricatures of Victorians and perhaps even some Victorian objects (e.g., Jubilee material and housewares) I no longer use or display.

Archive/history of Victorian studies

I think the time is appropriate for some record to be built of what has happened in Victorian studies since the beginning of the journal in 1957. Iím not claiming that that is when Victorian studies ďbeganĒ, only that itís a good marker. What Iíd very much like to record in addition to the facts about Victorian groups and key publications are individual experiences of how and why and when someone found interdisciplinary study an important addition to or substitute for traditional departmental work.

My brilliant career

This will be a conventional resume, but because I have been around so many Victorian events it will cross-refer to much thatís happened in the field since the late 50s. I should confess ďupfrontĒ (as they say) that there is an element of self-praise in this, partly I think because interdisciplinary work is still not (certainly wasnít in my generation) recognized as readily as standard work and partly because collaborative work such as editing and organizing (and Victorian studies is nothing if not collaborative) is not as highly regarded as the quantity of articles, etc., a scholar could produce. If you sense a little bitterness here, youíre right. The academic world is, as Iíve often complained, culturally representative in its emphasis on individual rather than collective achievement.

George Eliot

I have been hoping that some more technically proficient scholar with a little time on her/his hands might start a George Eliot list. I frequently find myself coming up with minute matters in her texts that are both too trivial for VICTORIA and which Iíd like to have permanently registered somewhere for others to know about and to comment on. Sometimes what I want to record is interpretive but not yet ready for publication; sometimes itís informational. In any event, I hope to get people in the George Eliot Fellowship and readers of William Bakerís GE/GHL Newsletter to think of this as a resource.

Victorian Library

This list has been a source of real pleasure to me (as well as real dollars!) because it has put me temporarily in touch with scholars and booklovers all over the world. However, a) I have neglected it now for almost half a year, and b) for all the books Iíve sold, many remain, and I really do need to get them out of the house and out of my life. Pricing has always been the problem because I donít have any easy way of quantifying the value of these volumes. So I hope people will think of making me offers--that is, of sharing with me the trouble of Ruskinís difficulty of moving from value to price. Click here to see my Victorian Library page.