"The Transatlantic Moonstone: Part IV"
In the January 25th, 1868 edition of Harpers Weekly and All the Year Round, chapters eight and nine of the Moonstone, by Wilkie Collins, was presented in both periodicals. Both publications, though having the same story, altered their reader’s perception of the text due to the accompanying information surrounding the story. Mark Mossman believes that the ideas of abnormalcy and disability are quite prevalent in the Moonstone. Harper’s Weekly and All the Year Round also seem to re-enforce the notion of abnormacly and disability, but in a different way. In Mossman’s article “Representations of the Abnormal Body” he argues that “the representations of abnormalcy in The Moonstone become the location of a disabled perspective on the workings of Victorian cultural practice. Collins's writing of physical difference in this 1868 narrative, his consistent placement of images of the abnormal body against images of the normal body, constitutes an early comment on and a potentially transformative critique of those modern practices which excludes the body that is physically and cognitively different” (Mossman 486-7). Mossman seems to fail to represent the true scope of disability and abnormacly due to his focus on the physical body (i.e. actual physical disabilities). The inherent truth about disability is that a person who is disabled is different from the norm. The person is not able to achieve normal societal standards of life due to an inability to act normal (whether it be because of a mental or physical impairment). Harper’s Weekly and All the Year Round by no means infer that people from foreign cultures are mentally or physically disabled just because they are from another culture. What the publications do infer by gazing on these foreign cultural practices is the idea which I call “Cultural Disability”. Cultural Disability is the inability to achieve what is considered a normal culture or standard because of the abnormalcy of their cultural practices, or, an inability to achieve the norm because they are different from the person judging their culture. Because these cultures are not able to achieve societal standards of life that are presented as normal by the two publications, they are seen as abnormal, making them Culturally Disabled.
Both Harper’s Weekly and All the Year Round sensationalize foreign cultures by highlighting the abnormalcy of their practices and policies. Harpers Weekly, a politically driven publication, sensationalized the abnormal and otherness of foreign cultural practices in a negative context by presenting articles that pointed out the flaws and fearful practices in foreign cultural systems that were different from their own. All the Year Round was a literary publication that was more analytically driven. The publication, in this edition, looked inquisitively upon other cultures. They attempted to maneuver their audience into reading analytically and intellectually.
Though both publications reinforce a normal societal standard, they are able to influence the reader's perception of the moonstone with the accompanying information that was produced alongside the moonstone in the publications. All the Year Round seemed to attempt a greater understanding of the cultural practices of other’s from a western viewpoint rather than propagate a certain ideological bias upon its readership by viewing others negatively, such as Harper’s Weekly attempted.
Mossman, Mark. "Representations of the Abnormal Body in the Moonstone." Victorian Literature and Culture. Vol 37, No. 2, 2009. 483-500. Print.