The Victorian Novel

Overview

"This survey challenges conventional ways of viewing the Victorian novel. The author explores the extremely varied and often experimental prose fiction of the period, paying attention to contemporary bestsellers as well as to major literary works. He reminds the reader that most Victorian novelists had their imaginations shaped not by high Victorianism, but by the ideals and sensibility of the Romantic period, and suggests that their work therefore embodies a tension between idealism and a new materialist objectivity." The volume is based on the
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Overview

"This survey challenges conventional ways of viewing the Victorian novel. The author explores the extremely varied and often experimental prose fiction of the period, paying attention to contemporary bestsellers as well as to major literary works. He reminds the reader that most Victorian novelists had their imaginations shaped not by high Victorianism, but by the ideals and sensibility of the Romantic period, and suggests that their work therefore embodies a tension between idealism and a new materialist objectivity." The volume is based on the premise that a broad understanding of the Victorian period assists our understanding of its prose fiction. For this reason, the author not only provides overviews of the historical and social contexts of the Victorian novel, but also considers its relationship to historical, religious and biographical writing. The literary achievements of major novelists receive individual entries, while a section on topics considers issues such as colonialism, scientific speculation, the psychic and the supernatural, and working-class reading.
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Product Details

Meet the Author

Louis James’s writing reflects his interests in Victorian and postcolonial literature, and his main publications include Fiction for the Working Man 1830-50 (1963), Print and the People (1976) and Caribbean Writing in English (1999). After a much-travelled academic life he now lives with his wife and two cats near the University of Kent at Canterbury, where he is an Emeritus Professor of English.

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations.

Acknowledgements.

How to Use This Book.

Chronology.

Introduction.

Context 1: Time Maps.

Prelude: 1830–1846.

Revolutions: 1847–1849.

Equipoise: 1850–1870.

Turning the Tide: 1871–1880.

The Last Decades: 1881–1901.

Context 2: Changing Perspectives.

'Things As They Are'.

History.

Biography.

Religion and Morals.

Evolution.

Detectives.

Context 3: Foundations.

The Truth of the Heart.

Affairs of the Heart(h).

Ways of Seeing.

The Modality of Melodrama.

The White Rabbit’s Watch.

Key Authors.

William Harrison Ainsworth (1805–82).

Walter Besant (1836–1910).

Mary Elizabeth Braddon (later Maxwell) (1835–1915).

Charlotte Brontë, 'Currer Bell' (1816–55), Emily [Jane] Brontë, ‘Ellis Bell’ (1818–48), Anne Brontë, 'Acton Bell' (1820–49).

Rhoda Broughton (1840–1920).

[William] Wilkie Collins (1824–89).

Marie [Isabel Marie] Corelli [née Mills, later Mackay] (1855–1924).

Charles [John Huffam] Dickens (1812–70).

Benjamin Disraeli (1804–81).

[Sir] Arthur Conan Doyle (1859–1930).

George Eliot (née Mary Anne/Marian Evans) (1819–80).

Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell (née Stevenson) 1810–65.

George [Robert] Gissing (1857–1903).

[Sir] H[enry] Rider Haggard (1856–1925).

Thomas Hardy (1840–1928).

G[eorge] P[ayne] R[aynesford] James (1801–60).

Henry James (1843–1916).

Douglas [William] Jerrold (1803–57).

Geraldine E[ndsor] Jewsbury (1812–80).

Charles Kingsley (1819–75).

[Joseph] Rudyard Kipling (1830–76).

[Joseph Thomas] Sheridan Le Fanu (1814–73).

Edward Bulwer-Lytton [until 1843, Edward George Earle Lytton] (1803–73).

George Macdonald (1824–1905).

Frederick Marryat (1792–1848).

Harriet Martineau (1802–76).

George Meredith (1828–1909).

George [Augustus] Moore (1852–1933).

Margaret Oliphant [née Wilson] (1828–97).

Ouida (Marie Louise de la Ramée, 1839–1908).

Charles Reade (1814–84).

G[eorge] W[illiam] M[acarthur] Reynolds (1814–79).

James Malcolm Rymer (1803?–84).

Robert Louis [Lewis Balfour] Stevenson (1850–94).

R[obert] S[mith] Surtees (1805–64).

William Makepeace Thackeray (1811–63).

Anthony Trollope (1815–82).

Mrs T[homas] Humphry Ward (née Mary Augusta Arnold) (1851–1920).

H[erbert] G[eorge] Wells (1866–1946).

[William Hale White] Mark Rutherford (1831–1913).

Ellen Wood [Mrs Henry Wood, née Ellen Price] (1814–87).

Charlotte Mary Yonge (1823–1901).

Key Texts.

Major Presences.

John Bunyan, The Pilgrim’s Progress from this World to the Next (Part 1, 1678; Part II, 1684).

Sir Walter Scott, Waverley; or, ’Tis Sixty years Since (1814).

Mary Shelley, Frankenstein; or, the Modern Prometheus (1818; revised 1831).

Pierce Egan, Sr, Life in London (1820–1).

Thomas Carlyle, Sartor Resartus (1833–4).

Main Texts.

Charles Dickens, Oliver Twist (1837–8).

G. W. M. Reynolds, The Mysteries of London (1844–6).

Geraldine Jewsbury, Zoe (1845).

Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre (1847).

Emily Brontë, Wuthering Heights (1847).

W. M. Thackeray, Vanity Fair (1847–8).

W. M. Thackeray, Pendennis (1848–50).

Charles Dickens, Bleak House (1852–3).

Charlotte Brontë, Villette (1853).

Elizabeth Gaskell, North and South (1854–5).

Anthony Trollope, Barchester Towers (1857).

George Eliot, Adam Bede (1859).

Wilkie Collins, The Woman in White (1860) 0.

Charles Dickens, Great Expectations (1860–1).

Mrs Henry [Ellen] Wood, East Lynne (1861).

Mary Elizabeth Braddon, Lady Audley’s Secret (1861–2).

Charles Kingsley, The Water-Babies (1863).

Lewis Carroll [Charles Lutwidge Dodgson], Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1865), Through the Looking Glass (1871).

Ouida [Marie Louise de la Ramée], Under Two Flags (1867).

R[ichard] D[oddridge] Blackmore, Lorna Doone (1869).

George Eliot, Middlemarch (1871–2).

Anthony Trollope, The Way We Live Now (1874–5).

George Meredith, The Egoist (1879).

Henry James, Portrait of a Lady (1881).

[Olive Schreiner] Ralph Iron, The Story of an African Farm (1883).

Robert Louis Stevenson, The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (1886).

Sir Henry Rider Haggard, She (1887).

George Gissing, New Grub Street (1891).

Thomas Hardy, Tess of the D’Urbervilles (1891).

George Moore, Esther Waters (1894).

Marie Corelli, The Sorrows of Satan (1895).

H. G. Wells, The Time Machine (1895).

Arthur Morrison, A Child of the Jago (1896).

Bram [Abraham] Stoker, Dracula (1897).

Samuel Butler, The Way of All Flesh (1902).

Topics.

Children’s Novels.

Colonial Novels.

Historical Novels.

Illustrated Novels.

Irish Novels.

‘New Woman’ Novels.

Publishing Formats.

Regional Novels.

Religious Novels.

Science, Utopias and Dystopias.

Sensation Novels.

Social Problem Novels.

The Supernatural.

Working-class Novels.

Further Reading.

Index.

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