As a historian who’s always searching for the text or the image that makesus re-evaluate the past, I’ve become preoccupied with looking for photographsthat show our Victorian ancestors smiling (what better way to shatter the imageof 19th-century prudery?). I’ve found quite a few, and—since I started postingthem on Twitter—they have been causing quite a stir. People have been surprisedto see evidence that Victorians had fun and could, and did, laugh. They arenoting that the Victorians suddenly seem to become more human as thehundred-or-so years that separate us fade away through our common experience oflaughter.
Of course, I need to concede that my collection of ‘Smiling Victorians’makes up only a tiny percentage of the vast catalogue of photographicportraiture created between 1840 and 1900, the majority of which show sittersposing miserably and stiffly in front of painted backdrops, or staring absentlyinto the middle distance. How do we explain this trend?
During the 1840s and 1850s, in the early days of photography, exposuretimes were notoriously long: the daguerreotype photographic method (producing animage on a silvered copper plate) could take several minutes to complete,resulting in blurred images as sitters shifted position or adjusted their limbs.The thought of holding a fixed grin as the camera performed its magical dutieswas too much to contemplate, and so a non-committal blank stare became thenorm.
But exposure times were much quicker by the 1880s, and the introduction ofthe Box Brownie and other portable cameras meant that, though slow by today’sdigital standards, the exposure was almost instantaneous. Spontaneous smileswere relatively easy to capture by the 1890s, so we must look elsewhere for anexplanation of why Victorians still hesitated to smile.
One explanation might be the loss of dignity displayed through a cheesygrin. “Nature gave us lips to conceal our teeth,” ran one popular Victoriansaying, alluding to the fact that before the birth of proper dentistry, mouthswere often in a shocking state of hygiene. A flashing set of healthy and clean,regular ‘pearly whites’ was a rare sight in Victorian society, the preserve ofthe super-rich (and even then, dental hygiene was not guaranteed).
A toothy grin (especially when there were gaps or blackened teeth) lackedclass: drunks, tramps, and music hall performers might gurn and grin with asmile as wide as Lewis Carroll’s gum-exposing Cheshire Cat, but it was not abecoming look for properly bred persons. Even Mark Twain, a man who enjoyed ahearty laugh, said that when it came to photographic portraits there could be“nothing more damning than a silly, foolish smile fixed forever”.
31. According to Paragraph 1, the author’s posts on Twitter
A. changed people’s impression of the Victorians.
B. highlighted social media’s role in Victorian studies.
C. re-evaluated the Victorians’ notion of public image.
D. illustrated the development of Victorian photography.
【答案】A。根据题干posts on Twitter定位至第一段插入语部分since I started posting them onTwitter，后面的主句they have been causing quite astir提到，引起了人们的反应。下一句提到了人们惊讶地发现维多利亚人竟然会笑，故而是改变了人们对维多利亚人的印象，A选项为正确答案。
32. What does author say about the Victorian portraits he hascollected?
A. They are in popular use among historians.
B. They are rare among photographs of that age.
C. They mirror 19th-century social conventions.
D. They show effects of different exposure times.
【答案】B。根据题干中的collected定位到第二段第一句，对应词尾collection，根据only a tinypercentage，可推出作者的照片在维多利亚人的照片中占比非常低，也就是稀有，rare是对这两个词的同意替换，故而选B选项。
33. What might have kept the Victorians from smiling for pictures in the1890s?
A. Their inherent social sensitiveness.
B. Their tension before the camera.
C. Their distrust of new inventions.
D. Their unhealthy dental condition.
34. Mark Twain is quoted to show that the disapproval of smiles in pictureswas
A. a deep-root belief.
B. a misguided attitude.
C. a controversial view.
D. a thought-provoking idea.
35. Which of the following questions does the text answer?
A. Why did most Victorians look stern in photographs?
B. Why did the Victorians start to view photographs?
C. What made photography develop slowly in the Victorian period?
D. How did smiling in photographs become a post-Victorian norm?