This post starts a new series here at Midlist Writer. Every Monday I'll be bringing you a website that's useful for writers. I won't be looking at the usual how-to or market websites; there are plenty of lists for those. Instead, I'll be looking at websites that can inspire and inform. Inspiration and reliable sources for research are just as important for writers as articles on the mechanics and practicalities of writing.
And what better website to start this series with than Mostly-Victorian.com, hosted by Moira Allen, famous for her website Writing World?
Moira is an unabashed Anglophile, and she shares her enthusiasm on this website, which reproduces the contents of Victorian-era magazines. So far she has scanned and uploaded more than five hundred articles and plans to add another hundred every month. Most come from The Strand and The Girl's Own Paper but there are samples from other periodicals as well.
There's a wealth of material here, from how girls are presented at court to a three-part essay on how to wash clothes. I hereby thank whomever invented the washing machine! There's also a small folklore section that I sincerely hope gets bigger, and an odd article on devices smugglers used. Pretty much every aspect of Victorian life you can think of is covered here, except for sex. These are Victorian magazines, after all!
One nice aspect is that these articles are scanned, preserving the original font and artwork. This really gives a feel for the period.
So if you're writing a book set in the Victorian era, Mostly-Victorian.com will be an excellent resource. If you're hankering to write a period novel and can't quite decide what era to set it in, you'll get plenty of inspiration from this website.