Oscar Wilde, Charles Dickens and Frankenstein in Wolfson Gallery's Outrageously Modern show

By Ben Miller | 10 February 2012
An image of a frontispiece black and white drawn illustration for a magazine
Exhibition: Outrageously Modern, Wolfson Gallery, Durham, until May 20 2012

Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray got a scandalous first airing, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein was accused of “horrible and disgusting absurdity” and 1890s mag The Yellow Book – whose self-description the title of this show comes from – portrayed “all that was bizarre and queer in art and life.”

An image of a blue and yellow illustrated frontispiece for a magazine called The Savoy
Long before celeb gossip and tabloid tittle-tattle, the magazines of the 19th century had much salaciousness to impart to a public eager for intrigue.

And this display of them, which includes the first publication of TS Eliot’s poem The Waste Land and serialized novels by Charles Dickens, shows that the avant-garde was as much a concern of your average hipster’s granddad as it is for their ancestors today.

Part of the ongoing Treasures of Durham University show at the gallery inside Palace Green Library, it also allows visitors to see the continuing development of the library as a new attraction in Durham.

  • Open 10am-4.45pm (closed Monday, 12pm-4.45pm Saturday and Sunday). Admission £3/£2 (free for under-5s).
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