A History of Victorian Literature
April 2009, Wiley-Blackwell
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"This elegant and far-reaching book offers a surprising source of optimism to those working in the humanities in Higher Education." (Dickens Quarterly, 2010)
"Throughout his prose is clear and unpretentious--in short, entirely appropriate for his intended audience. Though specialists may quibble over what Adams chooses to omit from this concise account, this book is a remarkable achievement." (CHOICE, October 2009)
"...its breadth of coverage is staggering. It includes all the major figures and genres of the age, hosts of relatively minor authors and works, and all the important subgenres. Also, by placing the individual works in their ever-shifting literary and cultural milieus, it provides a depth of insight lacking in more narrowly conceived studies.... Also, it may well stimulate an exploration of the work of such important but neglected authors as Ainsworth, Disraeli and Bulwer-Lytton, not to mention such utterly forgotten authors as Catherine Gore. Adams, in fact, seems to have read so much of the relatively minor and currently neglected literature of the entire period, and writes about it with such gusto and infectious enthusiasm that he extends the breadth and depth of the entire field of Victorian studies and will doubtless inspire specialists as well as less advanced students of the period to read works they might otherwise have viewed as expendable. The book is indeed so replete with valuable insights into so many works and authors that the reader who has taken in its chronological sweep by reading from the introduction through the epilogue will undoubtedly return over and over again via the index to review the readings of particular works" (New Books Online, September 2009)"A signal work of literary historiography: broad and sound in its fabric, detail richly textured in its detail.... The sheer quantity of this comprehensive history is matched by the genial quality of the historian who comprehends it, and whose infectiously self-renewing enthusiasm makes great learning look like great fun. It has been many decades, and several major reorientations in critical scholarship, since we last saw a literary-historical synopsis on this scale."
–Herbert F. Tucker, University of Virginia