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Author Topic: Victorian Humour! Help the British Library to make Victorian jokes funny again.  (Read 828 times)

United Kingdom United Kingdom

« on: February 06, 2016, 05:11:22 pm »

Greetings, fellow Steampunk enthusiasts!

I'm a historian of Victorian popular culture based at Edge Hill University. For the last two years I've been leading a project with the British Library that aims to find and revive Victorian jokes. In true steampunk style, we've been taking these old Victorian gags and experimenting with ways to 'remix' them using modern technology. We're aiming to create a free, online archive of 1 million Victorian jokes. While we build this, we've also started to share the jokes on social media and encourage artists, animators, and performers to start playing with them.  I can't promise that we've made them funny again - these are some seriously tortured puns and corny one-liners - but we have begun to shed light on a long-neglected aspect of Victorian culture.

So far, my favourite response has come from Rob Walker (the man behind the Victorian Cut Out Theatre). He used our jokes to make a parody of 1970s sitcoms - it's called 'My Mother In Law', and I think it's rather wonderful. You can view it here:

We've been sharing the jokes on twitter (@VictorianHumour) for a while, but now we've decided to expand to other social media platforms. The jokes have started to pop up on Facebook, Pinterest, Tumblr, and even Instagram. Nowhere is safe. If you like this sort of thing, you might like to follow:

All receive the same jokes, so just pick your favourite platform. There are hundreds on twitter already, but the other sites are still very new. A new joke should appear at lunchtime every day.

We'd love to hear from artists, animators, writers, comedians, or anybody in the steampunk community who would be interested in playing with our jokes. They're completely copyright free, so you can do whatever you like with them. We've got thousands of gags in our files and would be happy to send some your way. Do you reckon you could find a way to make them funny again? Get in touch with me on twitter (@DigiVictorian) or emaiil ( if you're up for the challenge.

If you'd like to know more about the project, this article has full details on our plans for the archive:

Cora Courcelle
Snr. Officer
England England

« Reply #1 on: February 06, 2016, 07:30:51 pm »

Dear Sir,


Cora Courcelle

You have to tread a fine line between avant-garde surrealism and getting yourself sectioned...
Crescat Scientia
Zeppelin Captain
United States United States

Fabricator and temporally confused.

« Reply #2 on: March 04, 2016, 03:17:14 am »

Aheh.  Aheheh.


Living on steam isn't easy.
-- Jessica Fortunato

Have you heard?  It's in the stars, next July we collide with Mars.
-- Cole Porter

That's not sinister at all.
-- Old family saying
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