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Victorian Literature

David Amigoni

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How were the genres of literature changed by new methods of serialization and publishing? How did a widespread culture of performance emerge in the period to shape as well as to be shaped by the novel and poetry? David Amigoni draws on the most recent critical approaches to the novel, Victorian melodrama and poetry to answer these and other questions. The work of Charles Dickens, George Eliot, Oscar Wilde, Alfred Tennyson, Robert Browning, Christina Rossetti, Thomas Hardy, Thomas Carlyle and Mathew Arnold are explored in relation to ideas about fiction, journalism, drama, poetry, the New Woman, gothic, horror and the Victorian sage.

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Contents

Chronology
Introduction to Victorian literature: Perspectives, Relationships, Contexts

Generic Traffic in Strangely Modern Places: Locating the Victorians (again)
Observing 'Public Culture' in mid-Victorian Britain: an Ant colony, Ivy and Two Poets named 'Alfred'

'Civilization and its Discontents': Productivity, Power and Governance in Dickens's Hard Times
Concluding Summary
1: Novel Sensations in Early and Mid-Victorian Fiction: from 'Boz' to Middlemarch
Dickens the Novelist, Dickens the Journalist: Modes of Publication,
Sketches, and the Making of The Old Curiosity Shop
Moving Sensations: Performing The Old Curiosity Shop
The Novel at mid-Century: Forming a Victorian Canon
Variable Sensations of the Real: Middlemarch
Concluding Summary
2: Theatrical Exchanges: Gendered Subjectivity and Identity Trials in the Dramatic Imagination
Locating, Regulating and Expanding the Effects of 'Theatricality' in Victorian Culture
Melodrama and Public History: the Sexualized Conflicts of Empire in Boucicault's Jessie Brown

Masculinity, Melodrama and Mind: The Frozen Deep
Earnest Laughter, Queer Laughter: Fictive, Multiple identities in Farcical Dramas by Dickens and Wilde
Concluding Summary 3: Poetry: Dramatic Monologues and Critical Dialogues
Voicing Sensation in Tennyson and Browning: the Dramatic Monologue and Cultural Debate
Controversies of Faith: Doubt, Evolution and Love in a Modern Age
Making Women's Voices: Fairy Tales, Christian Tales, Old Wives' Tales
Concluding Summary 4: Victorians in Critical Time: Fin de Siècle and Sage-culture
Victorians at the end of Time: Thomas Hardy, New Women and Gothic
Horrors at the fin de siècle
Victorian Sages in Critical Time: Carlyle and Arnold
Concluding Summary
Conclusion: Neo-Victorianism, Postmodernism and Underground Cultures
Student Resources
Electronic sources and reference sources
Glossary
Guide to further reading
Index.

About the Author

David Amigoni is Professor of Victorian Literature at Keele University. He is the author of The English Novel and Prose Narrative (Edinburgh University Press, 2000) and Victorian Biography: Intellectuals and the Ordering of Discourse (Harvester Wheatsheaf, 1992). He is co-editor, with Jeff Wallace, of Charles Darwin's 'Origin of Species': New Interdisciplinary Essays (Manchester UP, 1995), and co-editor, with Paul Barlow and Colin Trodd, of Victorian Culture and the Idea of the Grotesque (Ashgate, 1999).

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