In truth, we don’t know how many Victorian gags have been preserved in the British Library’s digital collections. Type the word ‘jokes’ into the British Newspaper Archive or the JISC Historical Texts collection and you’ll find a handful of them fairly quickly. But this is just the tip of the iceberg. There are many more jests hidden deeper in these archives. Unfortunately, they aren’t easy to uncover. Some appear under peculiar titles, others are scattered around as unmarked column fillers, and many have aged so poorly that they no longer look like jokes at all. Figuring out an effective way to find and isolate these scattered fragments of Victorian humour is one of the main aims of our project. Here’s how we’re approaching it.
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