How does the literature and culture of early Victorian Britain look different if viewed from below? Exploring the interplay between canonical social problem novels and the journalism and fiction appearing in the periodical press associated with working-class protest movements, Gregory Vargo challenges long-held assumptions about the cultural separation between the 'two nations' of rich and poor in the Victorian era. The flourishing radical press was home to daring literary experiments that embraced themes including empire and economic inequality, helping to shape mainstream literature. Reconstructing social and institutional networks that connected middle-class writers to the world of working-class politics, this book reveals for the first time acknowledged and unacknowledged debts to the radical canon in the work of such authors as Charles Dickens, Thomas Carlyle, Harriet Martineau and Elizabeth Gaskell. What emerges is a new vision of Victorian social life, in which fierce debates and surprising exchanges spanned the class divide.
|Publisher:||Cambridge University Press|
|Series:||Cambridge Studies in Nineteenth-Century Literature and Culture , #110|
|Product dimensions:||6.18(w) x 9.25(h) x 0.71(d)|
About the Author
Gregory Vargo is assistant professor at New York University. His published essays have appeared inVictorian Studies and Victorian Literature and Culture. He has held fellowships from the Fulbright program, the American Council of Learned Societies, and the Mrs. Giles Whiting Foundation. With Rob Breton, he is the creator of Chartist Fiction, a bibliographic database of over 1000 reviews and stories that appeared in over 25 Chartist periodicals.
Table of Contents
Introduction: can a social problem speak?; 1. Social inheritance in the New Poor Law debate: William Cobbett, Harriet Martineau, and the Royal Commission of Inquiry; 2. Books of (social) murder: melodrama and the slow violence of the market in anti-New Poor Law satire, fiction, and journalism; 3. A life in fragments: Thomas Cooper's Chartist Bildungsroman; 4. Questions from workers who read: education and self-formation in Chartist print culture and Elizabeth Gaskell's Mary Barton; 5. Revenge in the age of insurance: villainy in theatrical melodrama and Ernest Jones's fiction; 6. “Outworks of the citadel of corruption”: the Chartist Press reports the empire; 7. Two nations revisited: the refugee question in the People's Paper, Household Words and Charles Dickens's A Tale of Two Cities