Drawing on recent work in critical theory, feminism, and social history, this book explains the relationship between the novel and the emergent commodity culture of Victorian England, using the image of the "display window". Novels Behind Glass analyzes the work of Thackeray, Eliot, Dickens, Trollope, and Gaskell, to demonstrate that the Victorian novel provides us with graphic and enduring images of the power of commodities to affect our beliefs about gender, community, and individual identity. It will be of interest to students of Victorian literature and history as well as social and cultural theory.
Table of Contents
Acknowledgements; 1. Introduction; 2. Longing for sleeve buttons; 3. Spaces of exchange: interpreting the Great Exhibition of 1851; 4. The fragments and small opportunities of Cranford; 5. Rearranging the furniture of Our Mutual Friend; 6. Owning up: possessive individualism in Trollope's Autobiography and The Eustace Diamonds; 7. Middlemarch and the solicitude of material culture; Afterword; Notes; Bibliography.