The Fin de Sii'Acle: A Reader in Cultural History, c. 1880-1900

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The fin-de-siècle period—roughly the years 1880 to 1900—was characterized by great cultural and political ambivalence, an anxiety for things lost, and a longing for the new. It also included an outpouring of intellectual responses to the conflicting times from such eminent writers as T. H. Huxley, Emma Goldman, William James, H. G. Wells, George Bernard Shaw, and Oscar Wilde. In this important anthology, Ledger and Luckhurst make available to students, scholars, and general readers a large body of non-literary texts which richly configure the variegated cultural history of the fin-de-siècle years. That history is here shown to inaugurate many enduring critical and cultural concerns, with sections on Degeneration, Outcast London, The Metropolis, The New Woman, Literary Debates, The New Imperialism, Socialism, Anarchism, Scientific Naturalism, Psychology, Psychical Research, Sexology, Anthropology, and Racial Science. Each section begins with an Introduction and closes with Editorial Notes that carefully situate individual texts within a wider cultural landscape.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"All the essays....are....informative and lucidly written."—English Literature in Translation 1880-1920
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780198742784
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 12/7/2000
  • Pages: 394
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Sally Ledger is Senior Lecturer in English, Birkbeck College, University of London

Roger Luckhurst is Lecturer in English, Birkbeck College, University of London

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Table of Contents

Introduction: Reading the Fin de Siècle, Sally Ledger and Roger Luckhurst
Editors' Note
One: Degeneration
1. Degeneration: A Chapter in Darwinism (1880), E. Ray Lankester
2. 'Zoological Retrogression' (1891), H. G. Wells
3. Degeneration (1895), Max Nordau
4. Regeneration: A Reply to Max Nordau (1895), [Egmont Hake]
5. William James
6. The Sanity of Art: An Exposure of the Current Nonsense about Artists being Degenerate (1895/1908), G. B. Shaw
Two: Outcast London
1. The Bitter Cry of Outcast London (1883), Andrew Mearns
2. The Maiden Tribute of Modern Babylon (1885), W. T. Stead
3. Charles Booth
4. In Darkest England - and the Way Out (1890), William Booth
Three: The Metropolis
1. Gustave Le Bon
2. Georg Simmel
3. Arthur Symons
4. Why We Attacked the Empire (1895), Mrs. Ormiston Chant
Four: The New Woman
1. Marriage (1888), Mona Caird
2. Character Note: The New Woman (1894)
3. Why Women are Ceasing to Marry (1899), Ella Hepworth Dixon
4. The New Aspect of the Woman Question (1894), Sarah Grand
5. Plain Words on the Woman Question (1889), Grant Allen
6. The New Woman in Fiction and Fact (1894), M. Eastwood
7. An Appeal Against Female Suffrage (1889), Mrs. Humphrey Ward et al
8. Female Suffrage: A Reply (1889), Millicent Garrett Fawcett
Five: Literary Debates
1. Realism and Romance (1886), Andrew Lang
2. The Decadent Movement in Literature (1893), Arthur Symons
3. Candour in English Fiction (1890), Walter Besant, Eliza Lynn Linton, Thomas Hardy
4. Tommyrotics (1895), Hugh Stutfield
5. Editorial Comment, Daily Telegraph (March 14, 1891)
6. Henrik Ibsen (1889), Arthur Symons
Six: The New Imperialism
The forward policy
1. The Expansion of England (1883), Robert Seeley
2. The True Conception of Empire (1897), Joseph Chamberlain
3. speech at Drill Hall, Cape Town (July 18, 1899), Cecil Rhodes
4. General Gordon, The Illustrated London News (Feb 14, 1885)
5. Ten Years Captivity in the Mahdi's Camp 1882-92 (1893), Major F. R. Wingate from the original manuscripts of Father Ohrwalder
6. The Battle of Omdurman, With Kitchener to Khartum (1898), G. W. Steevens
7. Relief of Mafeking and London's Roar of Jubilation, Daily Mail (May 19, 1900)
8. Affairs on the Upper Congo, The Times (May 14, 1897)
9. Bloody Niggers (1897), R. B. Cunningham Graham
10. An English South African's View of the Situation (1899), Olive Schreiner
11. Imperialism: A Study (1902), J. A. Hobson
12. The Story of the Congo Free State (1920), E. D. Morel
Seven: Socialism
1. How We Live and How We might Live (1887), William Morris
2. The Economic Basis of Socialism (1889), George Bernard Shaw
3. The Soul of Man Under Socialism (1891), Oscar Wilde
4. Women and Socialism (1907), Isabella O. Ford
Eight: Anarchism
1. Words of a Rebel (1885), Peter Kropotkin
2. Anarchy (1888), Johann Most
3. Letter to Commonweal (May 18, 1889), William Morris
4. Anarchist, Letter to Commonweal (June 22, 1889)
5. The Explosion in Greenwich Park and Bourdin's Antecedents, The Times (February 17, 1894)
6. Anarchism: What it Really Stands for (1911), Emma Goldman
Nine: Scientific Naturalism
1. On the Physical Basis of Life (1870), T. H. Huxley
2. On the Aims and Instruments of Scientific Thought (1872), W. K. Clifford
3. Belfast Address, British Association (1874), John Tyndall
4. A Grammar of Science (1892), Karl Pearson
5. Evolution and Ethics (1893), T. H. Huxley
Ten: Psychology
1. Hysteria, Dictionary of Psychological Medicine (1893), H. B. Donkin
2. On the Psychical Mechanism of hysterical phenomena (1893), Josef Breuer and Sigmund Freud
3. The Subliminal Consciousness (1891), F. W. H. Myers
4. The Stream of Thought, The Principles of Psychology (1890), William James
5. Nervous Diseases and Modern Life (1895), Clifford Allbutt
Eleven: Psychical Research
1. Objects of the Society (1882)
2. Address of the President at the First General Meeting (1882), Henry Sidgwick
3. Psychical Research, Pall Mall Gazette (Oct 21, 1882)
4. Thought-Reading (1882), William Barrett, Edmund Gurney and F.W.H. Myers
5. How We intend to Study Borderland (1893), W. T. Stead
6. My Experience of Automatic Writing (1893), W. T. Stead
7. Ghosts up to Date (1894), Andrew Lang
Twelve: Sexology
1. Nymphomania in Dictionary of Psychological Medicine (1893), Gustave Bouchereau
2. Psychopathia Sexualis (1886), Richard von Krafft-Ebing
3. The Intermediate Sex (1894/1906), Edward Carpenter
4. A Problem in Modern Ethics, being an inquiry into the phenomenon of Sexual Inversion, Addressed especially to medical psychologists and jurists (1896), John Addington Symonds
5. Case XVIII [John Addington Symonds], Havelock Ellis, Sexual Inversion (1897)
Thirteen: Anthropology and Racial Science
1. The Culture of Science, Primitive Culture (1871), Edward Tylor
2. The Primitive Man - Physical, The Primitive Man - Emotional, The Primitive Man - Intellectual, The Principles of Sociology (1876), Herbert Spencer
3. National Life from the Standpoint of Science (1900), Karl Pearson
4. Eugenics: its definition, scope and aims (1903), Francis Galton
5. The Clash of Cultures, West African Studies (1899), Mary Kingsley
6. Reports of the Cambridge Anthropological Expedition to Torres Straits (volume II): Preface by A. C. Haddon and Introduction by W. H. R. Rivers (1901)
Sources of Material
Secondary Reading

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