Reading between the lines: "Town Jottings" from the Savage Club in the Brighton Guardian, 1877

Catherine Layton

Research output: Book chapter/Published conference paperChapter


Gentlemen’s clubs, like the press, had their “golden age” in the Victorian era, with the archetypally bohemian Savage Club in a unique position vis-à-vis revealing and concealing scandals. Victorian bohemianism reflected a market for cultural goods that were not the exclusive domain of any class, and this club provided a heterogeneous social space in which producers and consumers mingled. This chapter provides details of a half-column, “Town Jottings,” which was addressed from the Savage Club to the Brighton Guardian, a local weekly, in 1877. After consideration of the nature of scandal and its relation to status, jottings over 51 weeks are summarized. Economic transgressions that drew a great deal of attention included fraud and gambling; cultural transgressions included ritualism in the Anglican Church and appointments to senior positions based on nepotism. The focus, though, is coverage of symbolic transgressions, that is, those related to people’s positions or personal qualities, most particularly, but not exclusively, the Queen and the Prince of Wales. Examples illustrating these scandals are examined, revealing different approaches, different levels of titillation according to status, and the self-interest fueling the ways in which they were reported. Wilde saw scandal as gossip made tedious by morality; it was also desire made titillating by hypocrisy.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Routledge handbook of Victorian scandals in literature and culture
EditorsBrenda Ayres, Sarah E. Maier
Place of PublicationNew York
PublisherTaylor & Francis
Number of pages23
ISBN (Electronic)9781000782578, 9781003286011
ISBN (Print)9781032259963
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 01 Dec 2022


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