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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.
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.
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.
Slavery fascinated Thackeray. For him, the essence of slavery consisted of treating people like things. Thomas examines relationships in Thackeray’s fiction in which people have been reduced to objects and power is an end. These relationships include not only actual slaves and blacks, but also servants, dependents of all races, upper-class women sold into marriage, and children struggling to escape parental domination.Thomas also clarifies Thackeray’s view of black slavery.
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.
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.
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.