The Victorian period was the age of the novel and critics at the time clearly saw the importance of prose fiction. First published in 1993, this anthology contains over fifty original extracts from contemporary critics on the early and mid-Victorian novel. Arranged thematically, the volume covers such topics as literary form, the social responsibility of literature, issues of politics and gender, the influence of criticism, realism, plot and characterisation, imagination and creativity, and the office and social standing of the novelist. The introductions and notes draw together the large number of voices and guide the reader through the Victorian literary critical debate. This accessible and invaluable guide will be of interest to those studying Victorian literature.
This book produces an original argument about the emergence of ‘trauma’ in the nineteenth-century through new readings of Dickens, Emily and Charlotte Bronte, Collins, Gaskell and Elliot. Madeleine Wood argues that the mid-Victorian novels present their protagonists in a state of damage, provoked and defined by the conditions of the mid-century family: the cross-generational relationship is presented as formative and traumatising. By presenting family relationships as decisive for our psychological state as well as our social identity, the Victorian authors pushed beyond the contemporary scientific models available to them. Madeleine Wood analyses the literary and historical conditions of the mid-century period that led to this new literary emphasis, and which paved the way for the emergence of psychoanalysis in Vienna at the fin de siècle. Analysing a series of theoretical texts, Madeleine Wood shows that psychoanalysis shares the mid-Victorian concern with the unequal relationship between adult and child, focusing her reading through Freud’s early writings and Jean Laplanche’s ‘general theory of seduction’.
With the character of the doctor as her subject, Tabitha Sparks follows the decline of the marriage plot in the Victorian novel. As Victorians came to terms with the scientific revolution in medicine of the mid-to-late nineteenth century, the novel's progressive distance from the conventions of the marriage plot can be indexed through a rising identification of the doctor with scientific empiricism. A narrative's stance towards scientific reason, Sparks argues, is revealed by the fictional doctor's relationship to the marriage plot. Thus, novels that feature romantic doctors almost invariably deny the authority of empiricism, as is the case in George MacDonald's Adela Cathcart. In contrast, works such as Wilkie Collins's Heart and Science, which highlight clinically minded or even sinister doctors, uphold the determining logic of science and, in turn, threaten the novel's romantic plot. By focusing on the figure of the doctor rather than on a scientific theme or medical field, Sparks emulates the Victorian novel's personalization of tropes and belief systems, using the realism associated with the doctor to chart the sustainability of the Victorian novel's central imaginative structure, the marriage plot. As the doctors Sparks examines increasingly stand in for the encroachment of empirical knowledge on a morally formulated artistic genre, their alienation from the marriage plot and its interrelated decline succinctly herald the end of the Victorian era and the beginning of Modernism.
Key Concepts in Victorian Literature is a lively, clear and accessible resource for anyone interested in Victorian literature. It contains major facts, ideas and contemporary literary theories, is packed with close and detailed readings and offers an overview of the historical and cultural context in which this literature was produced.
In The Cambridge Companion to the Victorian Novel, first published in 2000, a series of specially-commissioned essays examine the work of Charles Dickens, the Brontës, George Eliot and other canonical writers, as well as that of such writers as Olive Schreiner, Wilkie Collins and H. Rider Haggard, whose work has recently attracted new attention from scholars and students. The collection combines the literary study of the novel as a form with analysis of the material aspects of its readership and production, and a series of thematic and contextual perspectives that examine Victorian fiction in the light of social and cultural concerns relevant both to the period itself and to the direction of current literary and cultural studies. Contributors engage with topics such as industrial culture, religion and science and the broader issues of the politics of gender, sexuality and race. The Companion includes a chronology and a comprehensive guide to further reading.
Addressing the Victorian obsession with the sordid materiality of modern life, this book studies dirt in nineteenth-century English literature and the Victorian cultural imagination. Dirt litters Victorian writing – industrial novels, literature about the city, slum fiction, bluebooks, and the reports of sanitary reformers. It seems to be "matter out of place," challenging traditional concepts of art and disregarding the concern with hygiene, deodorization, and purification at the center of the "civilizing process." Drawing upon Material Cultural Studies for an analysis of the complex relationships between dirt and textuality, the study adds a new perspective to scholarship on both the Victorian sanitation movement and Victorian fiction. The chapters focus on Victorian commodity culture as a backdrop to narratives about refuse and rubbish; on the impact of waste and ordure on life stories; on the production and circulation of affective responses to filth in realist novels and slum travelogues; and on the function of dirt for both colonial discourse and its deconstruction in postcolonial writing. They address questions as to how texts about dirt create the effect of materiality, how dirt constructs or deconstructs meaning, and how the project of writing dirt attempts to contain its excessive materiality. Schülting discusses representations of dirt in a variety of texts by Charles Dickens, E. M. Forster, Elizabeth Gaskell, George Gissing, James Greenwood, Henry James, Charles Kingsley, Henry Mayhew, George Moore, Arthur Morrison, and others. In addition, she offers a sustained analysis of the impact of dirt on writing strategies and genre conventions, and pays particular attention to those moments when dirt is recycled and becomes the source of literary creation.
The Companion to the Victorian Novel provides contextual and critical information about the entire range of British fiction published between 1837 and 1901. Provides contextual and critical information about the entire range of British fiction published during the Victorian period. Explains issues such as Victorian religions, class structure, and Darwinism to those who are unfamiliar with them. Comprises original, accessible chapters written by renowned and emerging scholars in the field of Victorian studies. Ideal for students and researchers seeking up-to-the-minute coverage of contexts and trends, or as a starting point for a survey course.
The work of Charles Dickens, George Eliot, Oscar Wilde, Alfred Tennyson, Robert Browning, Thomas Hardy, Thomas Carlyle and Mathew Arnold are explored in relation to ideas about fiction, journalism, drama, poetry, new women, gothic, horror and the Victoria