The Victorian Novel: A Guide to Criticism / Edition 1

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"This guide looks at how the Victorian novel has been read over the past hundred years. Unlike other critical guides, it not only provides students with examples of significant strands of criticism, but also helps them to make sense of these articles and extracts by means of a narrative and critical framework. The novelists referred to are the acknowledged great names of Victorian fiction, including the Bronte sisters, Charles Dickens, George Eliot, Elizabeth Gaskell. Thomas Hardy, Henry James, William Makepeace Thackeray, and Anthony Trollope." A short opening section describing and representing early critical responses is complemented by a longer second section looking at current themes in criticism, such as genre, gender, politics, science, language, the canon, and modes of production. The volume as a whole enhances students critical repertoire, encourages them to recognize the situatedness of all criticism, and helps them to engage with critical debates about the Victorian novel.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"O'Gorman functions as more author than editor in this second volume in the "Blackwell Guides to Criticism" series, providing a lucid, readable narrative accessible to the non-specialist.[...] In its definition and summary of current critical theories, the book will prove useful to all students of literature, not just those interested in the Victorian period. Highly recommended for all collections." Choice

"this will be a useful companion to any English or History course whatever the level of study and will provide a concise and clear critique that can be applied to any Victorian novel." Reference Reviews

"It is the kind of book you come back to, repeatedly consult, and would find absorbing whether or not you were an academic teacher. It is likely to serve for a long time as a fruitful reminder of how the practice of literary criticism has permanently changed the way we enjoy the old-fashioned narrative pleasures of the Victorian novel." The Brown Book

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780631227038
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 10/7/2002
  • Series: Blackwell Guides to Criticism Series
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 368
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Francis O'Gorman is Lecturer in Victorian Literature in the School of English at the University of Leeds. He has written widely on the Victorian period, including the books John Ruskin (1999) and Late Ruskin: New Contexts (2001), and co-edited collections on Margaret Oliphant (1999), Ruskin and Gender (2002), and The Victorians and the Eighteenth Century: Reassessing the Tradition (2003). He has also written articles and book chapters on Ruskin, Tyndall, Robert Browning, Tennyson, Michael Field, and Victorian masculinities. He is currently working on an annotated anthology of Victorian poetry (Blackwell, forthcoming), and writing more on Ruskin.

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Table of Contents

Textual Note
Introduction 1
1 Early Criticism of the Victorian Novel from James Oliphant to David Cecil 17
The Survey: George Saintsbury (1845-1933) 21
Extract from George Saintsbury, The English Novel (1913) 23
Edwin Morgan Forster's Aspects of the Novel (1927) 29
Lord David Cecil and Early Victorian Novelists (1934) 31
Extract from Lord David Cecil, Early Victorian Novelists (1934) 33
2 F. R. Leavis and The Great Tradition 46
Extract from F. R. Leavis, The Great Tradition (1948) 51
3 Feminism and the Victorian Novel in the 1970s 66
Extract from Elaine Showalter, A Literature of their Own (1977) 71
Extract from Sandra M. Gilbert and Susan Gubar, The Madwoman in the Attic (1979) 85
4 Realism 94
Histories of Realism 95
Epistemology of Realism 98
Extract from George Levine, The Realistic Imagination (1981) 99
Extract from Catherine Belsey, Critical Practice (1980) 121
Extract from Penny Boumehla, 'Realism and the Ends of Feminism' (1988) 135
5 Social-problem Fiction: Historicism and Feminism 149
Historicism and the Social-problem Novel 151
Extract from Raymond Williams, The English Novel (1970) 153
Extract from Mary Poovey, Making a Social Body (1995) 165
Extract from Josephine Guy, The Victorian Social-problem Novel (1996) 179
Feminism and the Social-problem Novel 186
6 Language and Form 196
Language and the Victorian Novel 196
Extract from Patricia Ingham, The Language of Gender and Class (1996) 202
Form and the Victorian Novel 213
Extract from Dorothy Van Ghent, The English Novel (1953) 215
Extract from Peter Garrett, The Victorian Multiplot Novel (1980) 220
7 Science and the Victorian Novel 230
Extract from Gillian Beer, Darwin's Plots (1983) 235
Extract from George Levine, Darwin and the Novelists (1988) 246
8 The History of the Book 261
Extract from John Sutherland, Victorian Novelists and Publishers (1976) 266
Extract from Catherine A. Judd, 'Male Pseudonyms and Female Authority in Victorian England' (1995) 289
9 Postcolonial Readings 306
Extract from Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, 'Three Women's Texts and a Critique of Imperialism' (1985) 310
Extract from Firdous Azim, The Colonial Rise of the Novel (1993) 321
Extract from Susan Meyer, Imperialism at Home (1996) 325
Index 335
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