From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Neo-Victorian is an aesthetic movement which amalgamates Victorian and Edwardian aesthetic sensibilities with modern principles and technologies. A large number of magazines and websites are devoted to Neo-Victorian ideas in dress, family life, interior decoration, morals, and other topics.

In September 2007, Exeter University explored the phenomenon in a major international conference titled Neo-Victorianism: The Politics and Aesthetics of Appropriation.[1] Academic studies include Neo-Victorianism: The Victorians in the Twenty-First Century, 1999–2009.[2]

In arts and crafts[edit]

Examples of crafts made in this style would include push-button cordless telephones made to look like antique wall-mounted phones, CD players resembling old time radios, Victorianesque furniture, and Victorian era-style clothing.

In neo-romantic and fantasy art one can often see the elements of Victorian aesthetic values. There is also a strongly emerging genre of steampunk art. McDermott & McGough are a couple of contemporary artists whose work is all about a recreation of life in the nineteenth century: they only use the ultimate technology available, and since they are supposed to live anachronistically, this means the use of earlier photographic processes, and maintaining the illusion of a life stuck in the ways of a forgotten era.[3]

In dress and behaviour[edit]

Many who have adopted Neo-Victorian style have also adopted Victorian behavioural affectations, seeking to imitate standards of Victorian conduct, pronunciation, interpersonal interaction. Some even go so far as to embrace certain Victorian habits such as shaving with straight razors, riding penny farthings, exchanging calling cards, and using fountain pens to write letters in florid prose sealed by wax. Gothic fashion sometimes incorporates Neo-Victorian style.

Neo-Victorianism is embraced in, but also quite distinguished from, the Lolita, Aristocrat and Madam fashions popular in Japan, and which are becoming more noticeable in Europe.

Social conservatives[edit]

Neo-Victorian aesthetics are also popular in the United States and United Kingdom among cultural conservatives and social conservatives.[4] Books such as The Benevolence of Manners: Recapturing the Lost Art of Gracious Victorian Living call for a return to Victorian morality.[5] The term Neo-Victorian is also commonly used in a derogatory way towards social conservatives.

It should be noted, however, that the cultural social attitudes and conventions that many associate with the Victorian era are inaccurate.[6] In fact, many of the things that seem commonplace in modern life began in the Victorian era, such as sponsorship, sensational journalism and popular merchandise.[7]

In popular culture and literature[edit]

Neo-Victorianism can also be seen in the growing steampunk genre of speculative fiction. Neo-Victorianism is also popular with, and in many ways prefigured by, those who are interested in Victoriana and historical reenactment.

Neo-Victorian details appear in The Diamond Age by Neal Stephenson,[8] in which Neo-Victorians are one of the main groups of protagonists.

Carnival Diablo is a Neo-Victorian circus sideshow that has been touring North America for 20 years.

See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^ Heilmann, Ann; Llewellyn, Mark (2010). Neo-Victorianism : the Victorians in the twenty-first century, 1999-2009. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 978-0-230-24113-8. 
  3. ^ McDermott, David; McGough (1998). & :A History of Photography (1st ed. ed.). Santa Fe: Arena Editions. ISBN 978-0965728027. 
  4. ^ "Is This a "Victorian" Site?". Retrieved 2013-04-03. 
  5. ^ Lichter, Linda S. (1999). The Benevolence of Manners: Recapturing the Lost Art of Gracious Victorian Living (1st ReganBooks/Harper Perennial ed. ed.). New York: ReganBooks. ISBN 978-0060987459. 
  6. ^ Nicky Rossiter (2003-03-08). "Martin Sweet: Inventing the Victorians". Retrieved 2013-04-03. 
  7. ^ Sweet, Matthew (2001). Inventing the Victorians (1st U.S. ed. ed.). New York: St. Martin's Press. ISBN 978-0312283261. 
  8. ^ Stephenson, Neal (2003). The Diamond Age: Or, a Young Lady's Illustrated Primer (Bantam trade pbk. reissue. ed.). New York: Bamtam Books. ISBN 978-0553380965. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Chrisman, Sarah Waisted Curves: My Transformation Into A Victorian Lady 2010. Aegis & Owl Press