BIROn - Birkbeck Institutional Research Online

    Amusing, interesting, and curious: the paper peepshow in England, 1825-1851

    Yu, Shijia (2020) Amusing, interesting, and curious: the paper peepshow in England, 1825-1851. PhD thesis, Birkbeck, University of London.

    Shijia Yu PhD Thesis Amusing, Interesting, and Curious The Paper Peepshow in England, 1825-1851.pdf - Full Version

    Download (24MB) | Preview


    This thesis investigates the origin and evolution of the paper peepshow in nineteenth-century England. It focuses on the second quarter of the nineteenth century, from 1825, when the first known English paper peepshow was published, to 1851, when the popularity of this medium started to dwindle. Challenging the existing scholarship that considers the paper peepshow either as a predecessor of children’s pop-up books or an unimportant element in the teleology leading to the invention of the cinema, this thesis argues that the paper peepshow is a medium in its own right. As an optical toy, but also an example of print culture, it had connections with various media that were also part of the visual culture in England in this period. This rich intermedial relationship constitutes one of the major aspects of investigation both in the first chapter that traces the genealogy of the paper peepshow and in the subsequent case studies that focus on its representation of specific subject matters. Through discussing the depiction of a diverse range of topics, this thesis highlights that the origin of the paper peepshow was heavily influenced by other forms of nineteenth-century visual representation or entertainment. At the same time, in the course of the development of the paper peepshow, publishers also often designed their products in response to or even by refashioning other media, in order to keep their products popular on the competitive market. Another focus is the consumption of the paper peepshow. While the visual is an essential part of the experience of using this medium, other sensory elements, especially the touch, played a crucial role too. Through analysing these sensations in combination with different subject matters depicted in paper peepshows, this thesis investigates issues such as the embodied spectatorship, affordances, and the material and materiality of a medium.


    Item Type: Thesis
    Copyright Holders: The copyright of this thesis rests with the author, who asserts his/her right to be known as such according to the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988. No dealing with the thesis contrary to the copyright or moral rights of the author is permitted.
    Depositing User: Acquisitions And Metadata
    Date Deposited: 20 Sep 2021 10:48
    Last Modified: 01 Nov 2023 14:46


    Activity Overview
    6 month trend
    6 month trend

    Additional statistics are available via IRStats2.

    Archive Staff Only (login required)

    Edit/View Item Edit/View Item