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Literary Criticism, UK

Literary Criticism, UK Book List

Cover of 'Bleak Houses'

Bleak Houses
Marital Violence in Victorian Fiction
By Lisa Surridge

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

Cover of 'The Fin-de-Siècle Poem'

The Fin-de-Siècle Poem
English Literary Culture and the 1890s
Edited by Joseph Bristow

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.

Cover of 'Pictorial Victorians'

Pictorial Victorians
The Inscription of Values in Word and Image
By Julia Thomas

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

A 2005 Choice Outstanding Academic Title
Cover of 'Music Hall and Modernity'

Music Hall and Modernity
The Late-Victorian Discovery of Popular Culture
By Barry J. Faulk

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

Cover of 'Raising the Dust'

Raising the Dust
The Literary Housekeeping of Mary Ward, Sarah Grand, and Charlotte Perkins Gilman
By Beth Sutton-Ramspeck

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

Cover of 'Fortune’s Wheel'

Fortune’s Wheel
Dickens and the Iconography of Women’s Time
By Elizabeth A. Campbell

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

Cover of 'Women, Work, and Representation'

Women, Work, and Representation
Needlewomen in Victorian Art and Literature
By Lynn M. Alexander

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.

Cover of 'Signs of Their Times'

Signs of Their Times
History, Labor, and the Body in Cobbett, Carlyle, and Disraeli
By John M. Ulrich

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.

Cover of 'Dark Smiles'

Dark Smiles
Race and Desire in George Eliot
By Alicia Carroll

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

Cover of 'Christina Rossetti and Illustration'

Christina Rossetti and Illustration
A Publishing History
By Lorraine Janzen Kooistra

Readers do not always take into account how books that combine image and text make their meanings. But for the Pre-Raphaelite poet Christina Rossetti, such considerations were central.

Cover of 'Educating Women'

Educating Women
Cultural Conflict and Victorian Literature
By Laura Morgan Green

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.

Cover of 'Hidden Hands'

Hidden Hands
Working-Class Women and Victorian Social-Problem Fiction
By Patricia E. Johnson

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

Cover of 'Our Lady of Victorian Feminism'

Our Lady of Victorian Feminism
The Madonna in the Work of Anna Jameson, Margaret Fuller, and George Eliot
By Kimberly VanEsveld Adams

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.

Cover of 'The Voice of Toil'

The Voice of Toil
Nineteenth-Century British Writings about Work
Edited by David J. Bradshaw and Suzanne Ozment

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.

Cover of 'The Culture of Christina Rossetti'

The Culture of Christina Rossetti
Female Poetics and Victorian Contexts
Edited by Mary Arseneau, Antony H. Harrison, and Lorraine Janzen Kooistra

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

Cover of 'Detection and Its Designs'

Detection and Its Designs
Narrative and Power in Nineteenth-Century Detective Fiction
By Peter Thoms

Detective fiction is usually thought of as genre fiction, a vast group of works bound together by their use of a common formula. But, as Peter Thoms argues in his investigation of some of the most important texts in the development of detective fiction in the nineteenth century, the very works that establish the genre’s formulaic structure also subvert that structure.

Cover of 'Annotated Bibliography of Jane Austen Studies, 1984-94'

Annotated Bibliography of Jane Austen Studies, 1984-94
By Barry Roth

This, Professor Roth’s third annotated bibliography of studies on Jane Austen, covers the years 1984–1994. Like the critically acclaimed earlier volumes, it charts the steady growth and enrichment of literary criticism of Austen in the second half of the twentieth century. The first bibliography, which covered the period 1952–1972, contained 794 items; the second, which treated 1973–1983, included over 1,060 pieces; this third work has 1,327 entries.

Cover of 'Dickens and Thackeray'

Dickens and Thackeray
Punishment and Forgiveness
By John Robert Reed

Attitudes toward punishment and forgiveness in English society of the nineteenth century came, for the most part, out of Christianity. In actual experience the ideal was not often met, but in the literature of the time the model was important. For novelists attempting to tell exciting and dramatic stories, violent and criminal activities played an important role, and, according to convention, had to be corrected through poetic justice or human punishment.

Winner of the 1987 NEMLA-Ohio University Press Book Prize
Cover of 'Doris Lessing'

Doris Lessing
The Alchemy of Survival
Edited by Carey Kaplan and Ellen Cronan Rose

Long neglected by the academic world because of her rejection of belletristic values and resistance to convenient literary taxonomy, Doris Lessing has nonetheless built an international following of serious, dedicated readers.

Cover of 'The Elusive Self in the Poetry of Robert Browning'

The Elusive Self in the Poetry of Robert Browning
By Constance H. Hassett

The variety of Browning’s poetry has made it difficult to see his work as a canon rather than merely a collection. The Elusive Self takes issue with the opinion that Browning’s art is diffuse and argues instead for a unity born of his interest in man’s acts of introspection.The author observes in Browning’s idiosyncratic style and sense of time an adaptation of Romantic notions of spontaneity.

Cover of 'Elegant Nightmares'

Elegant Nightmares
The English Ghost Story from Le Fanu to Blackwood
By Jack Sullivan

Based on an enormous body of short fiction, Elegant Nightmares is a study of the ghost story in England from Sheridan Le Fanu to more recent figures such as Algernon Blackwood and L.P. Hartley.Although Elegant Nightmares is a serious exploration of ghost and horror stories as prototypes of modern absurdist fiction, it is written in an entertaining, often witty style.