Book and Periodical Studies
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Literary Criticism | Modern | 19th Century
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In nineteenth-century London, a clubbable man was a fortunate man, indeed. The Reform, the Athenaeum, the Travellers, the Carlton, the United Service are just a few of the gentlemen’s clubs that formed the exclusive preserve known as “clubland” in Victorian London—the City of Clubs that arose during the Golden Age of Clubs. Why were these associations for men only such a powerful emergent institution in nineteenth-century London?
Charity and Condescension explores how condescension, a traditional English virtue, went sour in the nineteenth century, and considers the ways in which the failure of condescension influenced Victorian efforts to reform philanthropy and to construct new narrative models of social conciliation.
If nineteenth-century Britain witnessed the rise of medical professionalism, it also witnessed rampant quackery. It is tempting to categorize historical practices as either orthodox or quack, but what did these terms really signify in medical and public circles at the time? How did they develop and evolve? What do they tell us about actual medical practices?Doctoring
Across the nineteenth century, meter mattered—in more ways and to more people than we might well appreciate today. For the period’s poets, metrical matters were a source of inspiration and often vehement debate. And the many readers, teachers, and pupils encountered meter and related topics in both institutional and popular forms.
Indian Angles is a new historical approach to Indian English literature. It shows that poetry, not fiction, was the dominant literary genre of Indian writing in English until 1860 and recreates the historical webs of affiliation and resistance that writers in colonial India—writers of British, Indian, and mixed ethnicities—experienced.
In Poetry, Pictures, and Popular Publishing eminent Rossetti scholar LorraineJanzen Kooistra demonstrates the cultural centrality of a neglected artifact: the Victorian illustrated gift book. Turning a critical lens on “drawing-room books” as both material objects and historical events, Kooistra reveals how the gift book’s visual/verbal form mediated “high” and popular art as well as book and periodical publication.A
Amy Levy has risen to prominence in recent years as one of the most innovative and perplexing writers of her generation. Embraced by feminist scholars for her radical experimentation with queer poetic voice and her witty journalistic pieces on female independence, she remains controversial for her representations of London Jewry that draw unmistakably on contemporary antisemitic discourse.Amy
Dancing out of Line transports readers back to the 1840s, when the craze for social and stage dancing forced Victorians into a complex relationship with the moving body in its most voluble, volatile form.By
Oscar Wilde and Modern Culture: The Making of a Legend explores the meteoric rise, sudden fall, and legendary resurgence of an immensely influential writer’s reputation from his hectic 1881 American lecture tour to recent Hollywood adaptations of his dramas. Always renowned—if not notorious—for his fashionable persona, Wilde courted celebrity at an early age. Later, he came to prominence as one of the most talented essayists and fiction writers of his time.In
Heretical Hellenism examines sources such as theater history and popular journals to uncover the ways women acquired knowledge of Greek literature, history, and philosophy and challenged traditional humanist assumptions about the uniformity of classical knowledge and about women’s place in literary history.
Cleansing the City: Sanitary Geographies in Victorian Londonexplores not only the challenges faced by reformers as they strove toclean up an increasingly filthy city but the resistance to their efforts.Beginning in the 1830s, reform-minded citizens, under the banner of sanitaryimprovement, plunged into London’s dark and dirty spaces and returned withthe material they needed to promote public health legislation and magnificentprojects of sanitary engineering.
When Margaret Thatcher called in 1979 for a return to Victorian values such as hard work, self-reliance, thrift, and national pride, Labour Party leader Neil Kinnock responded that “Victorian values” also included “cruelty, misery, drudgery, squalor, and ignorance.”The Victorians in the Rearview Mirror is an in-depth look at the ways that the twentieth century reacted to and reimagined its predecessor.
The English middle class in the late nineteenth century enjoyed an increase in the availability and variety of material goods. With that, the visual markers of class membership and manly behavior underwent a radical change.
Soldier, hero, and politician, the Duke of Wellington is one of the best-known figures of nineteenth-century England. From his victory at Waterloo over Napoleon in 1815, he rose to become prime minister of his country. But Peter Sinnema finds equal fascination in Victorian England’s response to the Duke’s death.The
The Offenses Against the Person Act of 1828 opened magistrates’ courts to abused working-class wives. Newspapers in turn reported on these proceedings, and in this way the Victorian scrutiny of domestic conduct began. But how did popular fiction treat “private” family violence? Bleak Houses: Marital Violence in Victorian Fiction traces novelists’ engagement with the wife-assault debates in the public press between 1828 and the turn of the century.Lisa
Featuring innovative research by emergent and established scholars, The Fin-de-Siècle Poem throws new light on the remarkable diversity of poetry produced at the close of the nineteenth century in England. Opening with a detailed preface that explains why literary historians have frequently underrated fin-de-siècle poetry, the collection shows how a strikingly rich body of lyrical and narrative poems anticipated many of the developments traditionally attributed to Modernism.
The Victorians were image obsessed. The middle decades of the nineteenth century saw an unprecedented growth in the picture industry. Technological advances enabled the Victorians to adorn with images the pages of their books and the walls of their homes. But this was not a wholly visual culture. Pictorial Victorians focuses on two of the most popular mid-nineteenth-century genres—illustration and narrative painting—that blurred the line between the visual and textual.Illustration
The late-Victorian discovery of the music hall by English intellectuals marks a crucial moment in the history of popular culture. Music Hall and Modernity demonstrates how such pioneering cultural critics as Arthur Symons and Elizabeth Robins Pennell used the music hall to secure and promote their professional identity as guardians of taste and national welfare. These social arbiters were, at the same time, devotees of the spontaneous culture of “the people.”In
Raising the Dust identifies a heretofore-overlooked literary phenomenon that author Beth Sutton-Ramspeck calls “literary housekeeping.” The three writers she examines rejected turn-of-the-century aestheticism and modernism in favor of a literature that is practical, even ostensibly mundane, designed to “set the human household in order.”To
In the first half of the nineteenth century, England became quite literally a world on wheels. The sweeping technological changes wrought by the railways, steam-powered factory engines, and progressively more sophisticated wheeled conveyances of all types produced a corresponding revolution in Victorian iconography: the image of the wheel emerged as a dominant trope for power, modernity, and progress.In
In Victorian England, virtually all women were taught to sew; needlework was allied with images of domestic economy and with traditional female roles of wife and mother- with home rather than factory. The professional seamstress, however, labored long hours for very small wages creating gowns for the upper and middle classes.
From the 1820s through the 1840s, debate raged over what Thomas Carlyle famously termed “the Condition of England Question.” While much of the debate focused on how to remedy the material sufferings of the rural and urban working classes, for three writers in particular—William Cobbett, Thomas Carlyle, and Benjamin Disraeli–the times were marked by an even more pervasive crisis that threatened not only the material lives of workers, but also the very stability of meaning itself.
Although George Eliot has long been described as “the novelist of the Midlands,” she often brought the outer reaches of the empire home in her work. Dark Smiles: Race and Desire in George Eliot studies Eliot’s problematic, career-long interest in representing racial and ethnic Otherness.Placing
In 1837, when Queen Victoria came to the throne, no institution of higher education in Britain was open to women. By the end of the century, a quiet revolution had occurred: women had penetrated even the venerable walls of Oxford and Cambridge and could earn degrees at the many new universities founded during Victoria’s reign. During the same period, novelists increasingly put intellectually ambitious heroines students, teachers, and frustrated scholars—at the center of their books.
Tracing the Victorian crisis over the representation of working-class women to the 1842 Parliamentary bluebook on mines, with its controversial images of women at work, Hidden Hands argues that the female industrial worker became even more dangerous to represent than the prostitute or the male radical because she exposed crucial contradictions between the class and gender ideologies of the period and its economic realities.Drawing
Our Lady of Victorian Feminism is about three nineteenth-century women (Jameson, Margaret Fuller, and George Eliot), Protestants by background and feminists by conviction, who are curiously and crucially linked by their extensive use of the Madonna in arguments designed to empower women.
The Voice of Toil collects poems, stories, essays, and a play that reflect ways in which work, one of the most recurrent and controversial subjects of nineteenth–century discourse, was addressed. The resulting anthology offers a provocative text for students of nineteenth-century British literature and history.
The Culture of Christina Rossetti explores a “new” Christina Rossetti as she emerges from the scrutiny of the particular historical and cultural context in which she lived and wrote. The essays in this collection demonstrate how the recluse, saint, and renunciatory spinster of former studies was in fact an active participant in her society’s attempt to grapple with new developments in aesthetics, theology, science, economics, and politics.The