Download A Concise Companion to the Victorian Novel by Francis O'Gorman PDF

By Francis O'Gorman

This quantity provides clean ways to vintage Victorian fiction from 1830 to 1900. together with a sequence of unique essays written through renowned experts within the box, it opens up the cultural international during which the Victorian novel was once written and skim. The 12 individuals offer new views on how Victorian fiction pertains to various vital modern contexts, together with type, sexuality, empire, psychology, legislation, visible tradition, biology and the stipulations of authorship. Their contributions pass conventional disciplinary limitations, allowing readers to appreciate the Victorian novel’s advanced engagements with diversified features of nineteenth-century society.

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On this view, the typical protagonists of early novels are best thought as autonomous agents driven chiefly by pecuniary desires, and their appearance in a new literary form tailored to representing their activities marks the advent of modern economic and social organization. As Watt writes of Robinson Crusoe himself: ‘his travels, like his freedom from social ties, are merely somewhat extreme cases of tendencies that are normal in modern society as a whole, since, by making the pursuit of gain a primary motive, economic individualism has much increased the mobility of the individual’ (p.

This brief passage encapsulates much that is telling about the place of the visual in Victorian fiction. It vividly depicts a precisely delineated scene, itself neatly framed. Yet it also is informed by a concern with the psychology of seeing, and the recognition that the perceptual element which makes the strongest impression on the mind may not be the most obvious one, but may, rather, be oblique, suggestive, evocative. To see, in other words, is to be aware of what is out there – what strikes the eye – but also, as Victorian novels continually demonstrate, it is a highly individualized and subjective activity.

On this view, the typical protagonists of early novels are best thought as autonomous agents driven chiefly by pecuniary desires, and their appearance in a new literary form tailored to representing their activities marks the advent of modern economic and social organization. As Watt writes of Robinson Crusoe himself: ‘his travels, like his freedom from social ties, are merely somewhat extreme cases of tendencies that are normal in modern society as a whole, since, by making the pursuit of gain a primary motive, economic individualism has much increased the mobility of the individual’ (p.

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