What is style, and why does it matter? This book answers these questions by recovering the concept of 'stylistic virtue,' once foundational to rhetoric and aesthetics but largely forgotten today. Stylistic virtues like 'ease' and 'grace' are distinguishing properties that help realize a text's essential character. First described by Aristotle, they were integral to the development of formalist methods and modern literary criticism. The first half of the book excavates the theory of stylistic virtue during its period of greatest ascendance, in the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, when belletristic rhetoric shaped how the art of literary style and 'the aesthetic' were understood. The second half offers new readings of Thackeray, Trollope, and Meredith to show how stylistic virtue changes our understanding of style in the novel and challenges conventional approaches to interpreting the ethics of art.
The publisher Edward Lloyd (1815-1890) helped shape Victorian popular culture in ways that have left a legacy that lasts right up to today. He was a major pioneer of both popular fiction and journalism but has never received extended scholarly investigation until now. Lloyd shaped the modern popular press: Lloyd's Weekly Newspaper became the first paper to sell over a million copies. Along with publishing songs and broadsides, Lloyd dominated the fiction market in the early Victorian period issuing Gothic stories such as Varney the Vampire (1845-7) and other 'penny dreadfuls', which became bestsellers. Lloyd's publications introduced the enduring figure of Sweeney Todd whilst his authors penned plagiarisms of Dickens's novels, such as Oliver Twiss (1838-9). Many readers in the early Victorian period may have been as likely to have encountered the author of Pickwick in a Lloyd-published plagiarism as in the pages of the original author. This book makes us rethink the early reception of Dickens. In this interdisciplinary collection, leading scholars explore the world of Edward Lloyd and his stable of writers, such as Thomas Peckett Prest and James Malcolm Rymer. The Lloyd brand shaped popular taste in the age of Dickens and the Chartists. Edward Lloyd and his World fills a major gap in the histories of popular fiction and journalism, whilst developing links with Victorian politics, theatre and music.
This study explores the ‘ecology of knowledge’ of urban Britain in the Victorian period and seeks to examine the way in which Victorians comprehended the nature of their urban society, through an exploration of the history of Victorian Manchester, and two specific case studies on the fiction of Elizabeth Gaskell and the campaigns for educational extension which emerged out of the city. It argues that crucial to the Victorians’ approaches was the ‘visiting mode’ as a particular discursive formation, including its institutional foundations, its characteristic modes and assumptions, and the texts which exemplify it. Recognition of the importance of the visiting mode, it is argued, offers a fundamental challenge to established Foucauldian interpretations of nineteenthcentury society and culture and provides an important corrective to recent scholarship of nineteenth-century technologies of knowing.
The Routledge Companion to Victorian Literature offers 45 chapters by leading international scholars working with the most dynamic and influential political, cultural, and theoretical issues addressing Victorian literature today. Scholars and students will find this collection both useful and inspiring. Rigorously engaged with current scholarship that is both historically sensitive and theoretically informed, the Routledge Companion places the genres of the novel, poetry, and drama and issues of gender, social class, and race in conversation with subjects like ecology, colonialism, the Gothic, digital humanities, sexualities, disability, material culture, and animal studies. This guide is aimed at scholars who want to know the most significant critical approaches in Victorian studies, often written by the very scholars who helped found those fields. It addresses major theoretical movements such as narrative theory, formalism, historicism, and economic theory, as well as Victorian models of subjects such as anthropology, cognitive science, and religion. With its lists of key works, rich cross-referencing, extensive bibliographies, and explications of scholarly trajectories, the book is a crucial resource for graduate students and advanced undergraduates, while offering invaluable support to more seasoned scholars.
What we can learn about caregiving and community from the Victorian novel In Communities of Care, Talia Schaffer explores Victorian fictional representations of care communities, small voluntary groups that coalesce around someone in need. Drawing lessons from Victorian sociality, Schaffer proposes a theory of communal care and a mode of critical reading centered on an ethics of care. In the Victorian era, medical science offered little hope for cure of illness or disability, and chronic invalidism and lengthy convalescences were common. Small communities might gather around afflicted individuals to minister to their needs and palliate their suffering. Communities of Care examines these groups in the novels of Jane Austen, Charlotte Brontë, Charles Dickens, George Eliot, Henry James, and Charlotte Yonge, and studies the relationships that they exemplify. How do carers become part of the community? How do they negotiate status? How do caring emotions develop? And what does it mean to think of care as an activity rather than a feeling? Contrasting the Victorian emphasis on community and social structure with modern individualism and interiority, Schaffer’s sympathetic readings draw us closer to the worldview from which these novels emerged. Schaffer also considers the ways in which these models of carework could inform and improve practice in criticism, in teaching, and in our daily lives. Through the lens of care, Schaffer discovers a vital form of communal relationship in the Victorian novel. Communities of Care also demonstrates that literary criticism done well is the best care that scholars can give to texts.
Popular romance fiction constitutes the largest segment of the global book market. Bringing together an international group of scholars, The Routledge Research Companion to Popular Romance Fiction offers a ground-breaking exploration of this global genre and its remarkable readership. In recognition of the diversity of the form, the Companion provides a history of the genre, an overview of disciplinary approaches to studying romance fiction, and critical analyses of important subgenres, themes, and topics. It also highlights new and understudied avenues of inquiry for future research in this vibrant and still-emerging field. The first systematic, comprehensive resource on romance fiction, this Companion will be invaluable to students and scholars, and accessible to romance readers.
Pondering the town he had invented in his novels, Anthony Trollope had 'so realised the place, and the people, and the facts' of Barset that 'the pavement of the city ways are familiar to my footsteps'. After his novels end, William Thackeray wonders where his characters now live, and misses their conversation. How can we understand the novel as a form of artificial reality? Timothy Gao proposes a history of virtual realities, stemming from the imaginary worlds created by novelists like Trollope, Thackeray, Charlotte Bronte, and Charles Dickens. Departing from established historical or didactic understandings of Victorian fiction, Virtual Play and the Victorian Novel recovers the period's fascination with imagined places, people, and facts. This text provides a short history of virtual experiences in literature, four studies of major novelists, and an innovative approach for scholars and students to interpret realist fictions and fictional realities from before the digital age. This title is also available as Open Access on Cambridge Core.