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By Accident or DesignWriting the Victorian Metropolis$
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Paul Fyfe

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780198732334

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198732334.001.0001

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Accidents in the News

Accidents in the News

(p.31) 1 Accidents in the News
By Accident or Design

Paul Fyfe

Oxford University Press

The Victorian newspaper press capitalized on and contributed to what seemed to be an increase of accidents of all kinds. This chapter surveys the range of accidents preoccupying the Victorian press with its ubiquitous disaster reports, coroners’ inquests, ‘accidents and occurrences’ columns, and the faits divers of curious happenings. Critics have typically dismissed these contents as ‘miscellany’ or ‘filler’, but accident news plays a vital role in the newspaper’s rise to prominence, reshaping news formats, circulation, and the perceptions of readers into whose daily lives the newspaper would so thoroughly diffuse. Through accidents, newspapers become a periodical encounter with uncertainty, part of a broader cultural inquiry into causality.

Keywords:   Victorian, newspapers, periodicals, accidents, news, coroners’ inquests, miscellany, disasters, metropolitan

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