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Playing Italian: Cross-cultural Dress and Investigative Journalism at the Fin de Siècle
Victorian Periodicals Review
  • Laura Vorachek, University of Dayton
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This examination of late Victorian journalism reveals that one type of clothing offered middle-class women protection from street harassment: cross-cultural dress. In appropriate ethnic attire, reporters and social investigators ventured into the immigrant communities that made up a part of England’s urban poor, exploring such trades as Jewish fur-puller or Italian organ-grinder. This incognito ethnic attire afforded women both the means and the authority to carry out their investigations into the Italian constituency of the Victorian working poor. This study also examines how costumes enabled female investigators to manipulate class- and gender-based assumptions about who had broad access to the streets of London in the late nineteenth century. It also considers the photographs and illustrations that accompanied female reporters’ articles.
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This article first appeared in Victorian Periodicals Review, Volume 45, Issue 4 (winter 2012), pages 406-435.

Permission documentation is on file.

Johns Hopkins University Press
Peer Reviewed
  • Victorian era,
  • journalism,
  • women,
  • harassment,
  • cultural attire
Citation Information
Laura Vorachek. "Playing Italian: Cross-cultural Dress and Investigative Journalism at the Fin de Siècle" Victorian Periodicals Review Vol. 45 Iss. 4 (2012)
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