Punch’s Pocket Book Archive

Punch’s Pocket Book – Presentation

Punch, or the London Charivari (1841-2002) is certainly one of Britain’s central cultural institutions. Launched in July 1841 in the satirical tradition of Figaro in London (1831-1834) and the Parisian Charivari (1832-1937), it quickly relinquished the unpolished humour of its predecessors to become a well-mannered observer of its times, whose political, scientific and cultural evolutions it went on to mock for 150 years.

Among the cluster of Punch related products circulated by the magazine’s publishers, Bradbury & Evans, to support the fledgling magazine in a highly competitive market, was a little annual called Punch’s Pocket Book (1843-1881). Designed to appeal to an urban, mobile and affluent readership, it was a small notebook bound in soft leather combining serious information with amusement. Its first part offered a condensed version of the information found in Punch’s Almanack: a calendar including a cash account section, a diary and memoranda section, and up-to-date business information. For many readers, the publication’s memorandum pages were also a repository of daily observations and a record of their public and private life.

The second part, devoted to light reading and entertainment, contained a selection of stories, songs, ballads and cartoons similar to those found in Punch, interspersed with thumbnail silhouettes, in the tradition of the comic press of the Regency. Many of the stories were written by Mark Lemon, Gilbert Abbott à Beckett, William Makepeace Thackeray, Percival Leigh, Horace Mayhew, Sterling Coyne, and others of the staff. Later on, Shirley Brooks came to be in charge of much of the writing. Its lavish use of images efficiently showcased the work of the senior Punch artists who received substantial end-of-year bonuses, in particular for the Pocket Book’s distinctive hand-coloured fold-out frontispieces.

Punch’s Pocket Book Archive – Project Overview:

In line with The Punch Historical Archive (1841–1992) launched in 2015 under the supervision of Clare Horrocks (Liverpool John Moores University) and Seth Cayley (Gale Cengage Publishers), Punch’s Pocket Book Archive is an international digital project the primary objective of which is to create a fully searchable open-access archive from a complete collection of Punch’s Pocket Book – some thirty-nine volumes representing approximately 5,000 pages. Initiated in 2022 by the unexpected gift of a fairly complete collection of the little annuals, the project began at Caen Normandy (ERIBIA UR 2610) and was soon extended to include its present international partners, The Long Nineteenth-Century Network at Manchester Metropolitan University and the Punch and the Nineteenth Century Periodical Press Project at Liverpool John Moores University.

The venture is supported by the Center for Research in the Humanities (MRSH) at Caen Normandy as part of the “ExcellencES sous toutes ses formes” call for projects (Investments for the Future Programme (PIA) – France 2030), and the Pôle Document Numérique has agreed to digitize the whole collection. The project has recently been awarded a grant as part of the International Partner Laboratories programme (2024-2026).

Punch’s Pocket Book Archive is scheduled to unfold over a period of five years, starting in September 2024 and ending in August 2029. Throughout this period, the collection of 39 pocket books (1843–1881) will be scanned, transcribed, annotated, edited and uploaded onto the proposed website in instalments of 3 to 9 volumes: 3 volumes in 2024–25, and 9 volumes every year from 2025–26 to 2028–29. These repeated phases being interdependent, all collaborators and subcontractors involved, be they technical, commercial or academic, will work in close consultation with one another. Related research events involving MA and PhD students as well as postdoctoral researchers will be organised regularly, and run throughout project’s five-year duration.

The first of these events, “‘We Are Amused’: Victorian Humour and the Digital” will be take place on 7-8 November 2024 at Caen Normandy. The call for papers is available here.

Applications are invited for a postdoctoral position from 1 September 2024 to develop the research project Punch’s Pocket Book Archive, funded by the University of Caen Normandy, France.

Please feel free to contact francoise.baillet@unicaen.fr for more details about this position.

Job type: Full-time Postdoctoral Fellowship

Contract type: Temporary (18 months)

Academic discipline: English Studies

Employer : Université Caen Normandie (https://www.unicaen.fr/)

Funding : Punch’s Pocket Book Archive projectis supported by Caen Normandy University as part of the “ExcellencES sous toutes ses formes” programme (PIA) – France 2030). It stems from an international research partnership between ERIBIA (UR 2610, Caen Normandy U.), the Long Nineteenth-Century Network (Manchester Metropolitan U.), and the Punch and the Nineteenth Century Periodical Press Project at the Special Collections and Archives (Liverpool John Moores U.).

Location : Maison de la Recherche en Sciences Humaines (MRSH) – Campus 1, Université Caen Normandie. A significant part of the post-doctoral researcher’s work will be undertaken online.

Required Qualifications: A PhD in English Studies.

Salary: €2,271 gross monthly, possibly revised upwards according to experience.

Starting Date: 1 September 2024

Closing date for applications: 30 April 2024.

Applicants may be based anywhere in the world. Candidates selected for interviews who do not reside in France may request online interviews. We anticipate that interviews will take place between June 3-20, 2024. The successful candidate will be affiliated to the ERIBIA (UR 2610) research centre and to the Pôle Document Numérique. They will be required to attend research events in France as well as in the United-Kingdom.

Website for additional details: https://eribia.unicaen.fr/rec…/punchs-pocket-book-archive/

Please submit

· A CV

· A cover letter stressing the ways in which the applicant could contribute to the Punch’s Pocket Book Archive (3 pages max.)

· A sample of academic research or publication (article, chapter, &c.)

· A proof of your PhD defence, or a document certifying that your defence is scheduled to take place before May 30, 2024.

· Two reference letters

All documents must be sent in one PDF to the following address francoise.baillet@unicaen.fr

Required Skills:

Doctoral qualification in anglophone literature or history; applications are particularly encouraged from those whose work involves the Victorian press and nineteenth-century British culture.

Written and spoken skills: English (excellent), French (good). The ability to conduct field research (online archives). Excellent analytical and writing skills. Experience in the digital processing of collected data, or willingness to train in this area.

Benefits: Employment in France guarantees full access to healthcare, social security and other social benefits (contribution to local transport costs).

The successful applicant will be expected to work in collaboration with the project coordinator on the following aspects of the project:

· collect, classify and analyse data from digitalized sources.

· contribute to and collaborate on the organization of research events (workshops, seminars, conferences…)

· single-author an article or paper/research report on the project,

· take an active part in conceiving and testing the ad hoc digital tools developed for the project, and in the development of the different prototypes of the digital edition project.

· coordinate an ad hoc research committee on the Victorian periodical press within ERIBIA

· take part in the logistical monitoring of the project, in relation with the Principal Investigator, the Co-Investigators and the Center for Research in the Humanities (MRSH) at Caen Normandy.

ERIBIAÉquipe de Recherche Interdisciplinaire sur la Grande-Bretagne, l’Irlande et l’Amérique du Nord –is an interdisciplinary laboratory dedicated to research on the English-speaking world. It brings together some sixty members (faculty, doctoral students and affiliated researchers) whose scientific range encompasses the literary, historical, political and cultural aspects of Anglophone studies. Much of this investigation is channelled through four research areas: Intermedial Studies, (Re)configurations and New Practices; New Worlds: Maps, Discourses and Representations; Diasporas: Definitions, Representations and Stakes; Frontiers, Territories and Ruptures, all delivering specialised as well as cross-sector projects. Over the period 2022-2026, the team will be addressing the theme of “Power: Images, Approaches and Echoes”.

One of the main multidisciplinary units in Digital Humanities in France, the Pôle Document Numérique (PDN) supports around sixty innovative projects in collaboration with METOPES, a national research infrastructure specialised in digital edition, and with the Biblissima EQUIPEX. The PDN designs, develops and implements digital tools and work methods for the programmes it supports in the field of Humanities and Human and Social Sciences. Its approach is data-centric: work environments in XML (EAD and TEI), style sheet transformation (XSLT), collaborative tools, browser engines, etc. These tools are then adapted to meet scientific needs and promote cultural heritage and awareness engagement. Finally, the PDN provides undergraduate and postgraduate training courses in Digital Humanities through the various Doctoral Agencies present on campus.