Insect Culture During The Victorian Age

The Victorian Era during the nineteenth century made plenty of room for various types of insects that Europeans at the time found absolutely fascinating for a variety of reasons. The influence of insects can be seen in the clothing fashion that ruled the time period, as well as many works of literature and art.

The Victorian Era marked a time when insects of all sorts became objects of fascination due to their inherent mystery, their beauty, and their ability to transform into an entirely different looking creature. Science was also becoming a more accepted practice, which allowed for the objective study of insects, and the science of insects fascinated the public.

The most affluent women living in Victorian England chose to adorn themselves in dresses, and other forms of apparel that drew inspiration from insects, a phenomenon now known as “biomimicry. For example, a model of a beetle’s exoskeleton was worn as a bustle, and similar insect inspired clothing was prominently featured in various fashion catalogues.

Many prominent authors of the day also incorporated the fad of insects into their literature. Lewis Carrol’s popular sequel to Alice in Wonderland briefly describes Alice as cataloguing the various insects that she finds with the help of an enormous gnat. The classic novel The War of The Worlds also features spider-like alien ships that feature multiple long legs to move around among the populous as though humans had become the insects. If only the Victorians had also shown enthusiasm for eating bugs then maybe many food crises around the world could have been prevented.

Which past civilizations or cultures idolized certain types of insects?