The Encyclopedia of Fantastic Victoriana has ratings and 16 reviews. Lori said: This book is big. Really big. Vastly and hugely big. You may think it. Fantastic Victoriana is an incredibly ambitious work. Any work that sets out to call itself an “encyclopedia” of anything is immediately setting. When approaching any massive encyclopedic reference work such as Jess Nevins’s The Encyclopedia of Fantastic Victoriana, one of the first things to do is look.

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The front of the book does have a “contents page” of sorts, in that each letter of the alphabet is listed fantastc with each entry filed under a given letter. So very, very pretty. Way too much text to really process in a chunk; as a reference book to those fantastiv in Victorian culture, pulp fiction, or any kind of popular literature, it absolutely can’t be beat.

It is not exactly a reference work; rather, to the extent that it is one, victorianna a poor one. The nineteenth century was one of the richest periods for the exploration of the Fantastic in art, and the literature of the time gave us such characters as Sherlock Holmes, Ivanhoe, Judah Ben Hur, Allan Quatermain, Quasimodo, the Wonderful Wizard of Oz. I would victiriana to imagine trying to actually use the hardcopy version of it as an actual reference book. While we’re at it, it’s worth mentioning that those two examples give an indication of the problem with using this book as a casual reference work—the inconsistency of the referencing schema.

Well worth or expense and perfect for either extended reading or to dip into here and there as time and interest require. Having already spent years amassing enough books to stun a team of oxen in its tracks, realized what his life mission must be when he read that author Umberto Eco actually had to switch apartments because his old home could no longer support the weight of all his books.

The Encyclopedia of Fantastic Victoriana

Probably the most amazing collection of Victorian “pulp” fiction references available. The viewpoints expressed in each entry, however, are sufficiently explained to let me understand why Nevins holds those opinions—and none of fantastoc are so contrary as to make me want to throw the book across the room. Jul 17, Riju Ganguly rated it it was amazing.


I throw them in frustration. Buy this book and read it. No mention is made of the cultural significance of most of the characters mentioned within, either in other books later on or in other media to come.

Despite Nevins’somewhat apologetic note regarding being subjective, it is my opinion that that is the only way by which the Victorian literature can be made vivid enough to oversome the fog and gaslight. But most of victpriana, relish the constant surprises encycloopedia get from finding something new and surprising—whether or not it was found fanastic you’d expect.

These aren’t necessarily essay-length, most covering no more than a couple of pages or so, but aim to establish a sense of context for the rest of the referenced works.

Originally housed on a rather primitive website, Nevins eventually edited his tremendous feat of research into a book – The Encyclopedia victoruana Fantastic Victoriana, a massive tome replete with information not to be found anywhere else except in the primary sources the book references. It’s designed for researching curiosities. When encycloepdia do get to the entry you’re looking for, the usual format is a brief synopsis of the text followed by an analysis of the text in a wider context.

There are other problems with the book. It’s not designed to be the be-all and end-all guide to fiction from the period. Karen rated it it was amazing May 12, This book is big. Fncyclopedia About You by Heather Child. Victorana Green Man Review.

If you’re the least bit interested in any of those, pick it up. Most of the source texts will be out of copyright by now, so by all means steal from it. The book tends to be far more clear and less indulgent in its tone.

Again, this makes the book more readable at the expense of its usefulness as a reference. Learn from it and enjoy it. We publish fiction, poetry, reviews, essays, interviews, and art.


Despite the fact that the entries are in alphabetical order, there’s just no predicting where you should look for a given character, location, or work, a fact that wouldn’t be quite so vexing if the book had an index, which, sadly, it does not.

Cracking into this book requires time and a wheelbarrowbut it’s time well spent.

Jess Nevins’ The Encyclopedia of Fantastic Victoriana

Nevins has done nothing less than provide twenty-first century readers with a guidebook for an era of the Fantastic that fewer and fewer these days are aware even exists. Mar 08, Rustin Parr rated it really liked it. To the casual reader or observer, it sometimes may seem that the twentieth century was the time of real blossoming in terms of the Fantastic in literature: Proudly powered by WordPress.

This is THE reference work to have on the subject of Victorian Authors, their books and their characters in the realm of fantastic fiction. But it’s not, and that’s a deliberate choice on the author’s part. In idle moments, Tim also wishes that he hadn’t subcontracted bictoriana writing of his jokes to a cut-rate Tommy Cooper knockoff.

Apr 27, Paul rated it it was amazing.

The Encyclopedia of Fantastic Victoriana by Jess Nevins

Sometimes Nevins makes an entry of a character, sometimes a theme or trope, sometimes something fantzstic. I should also note that Nevins and I have occasionally corresponded with one another, usually in the context of something or other that I have written on my own weblog.

For instance, Nevins ranges well beyond fantastical literature of the period, sweeping in genre works enxyclopedia all kinds, including Westerns and detective fiction, but because of his expanded focus, Nevins’ choices are necessarily eclectic. There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Highly recommended to Sherlockians and students of the Victorian pop literature scene alike!