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 Victorian had fun and could and did, laugh. They are notingthat the Victorians suddenly seem to become more human as the hundred-or-soyears that separate us fade away through our common experience of laughter.
Of course, I need to concede that my collections 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 explains 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 a smileas wide as Lewis Carroll’s gum-exposing Cheshire Cat, but it was not a becominglook for properly bred persons. Even Mark Twain, a man who enjoyed a heartylaugh, said that when it came to photographic portraits there could be “nothingmore damning than a silly, foolish smile fixed forever”.
31. According to Paragraph1, 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.
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.
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 picturewas
A. a deep-root belief.
B. a misguided attitude.
C. a controversial view.
D. a thought-provoking idea.
35. Which of the following question 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?
[正确答案] 31. A 32. B 33. D 34. A 35. A
31. 通过题干定位词，可以定位至首段的首句，首句中 “show that…” 从句中表明作者的观点，于是关键词应为 Victorianancestors smiling, 而接下来紧接着论述people have been surprised that…该句证明人们对于Victorians 的印象在看到作者的照片之前是不一样的，因此才会感到吃惊。而干扰选项，B，social media,
文中并未提到，C选项中 说的是Victorian’s notion,属于混淆选项，文中提到的是人们的印象。D选项，文中只是提到作者的照片，而并不是该选项中的Victorian摄影的发展。
32. 通过题干定位词，…he has collected, 可定位至第二段首句， “my collection”,于是该句中，作者认为自己收集的Victorians,…a tiny percentage of …是1840到1900年中间photographs当中的极少的一部分。于是正确选项B中 “rare”即是同义替换。而A，C，D都属于干扰选项，A中的popular在第5段提到，说的是谚语而非是照片使用。D选项中exposure times 文中三四段都有提到，而并没有提到照片的效果。
33. 通过题干中定位词1890s, 可以定位至第四段的末尾句，Victorians hesitated tosmile…于是，第五段首句继续分析原因，先是讲到笑会暴露牙齿，而后紧接着出现 “shocking state of hygiene”牙齿卫生情况。所以概括得来，该题正确选项，而无须排除其它选项。
34. 通过Mark Twain, 可定位至末尾段的末尾句。该句中的“damning, foolish,silly，forever”等关键词准确的表明了Mark Twain 也是对于smiles in pictures是不赞同的态度,而且此态度由来已久。所以由此可以得知该题的正确选项是A。而作者本身并没有表明自己的态度，所以B, C, D都是干扰选项。
35. 35题则是考察文章的主旨，通过整篇文章，第一段以照片引出话题, Victorians’ smiling,是非常少见的，而后紧接着在第二段，第三段都继续提到人们的fixed smile僵硬的笑容，最后第四段，第五段进一步分析Victorians不愿意微笑的原因可能是什么，不赞同拍照时笑的观点也是由来已久。综合概括，可得知正确选项是A，为什么绝大多数的Victorians在照片中都看起来非常严肃。