How to Read the Victorian Novel
November 2007, Wiley-Blackwell
Broad in its scope, the text surveys a wide variety of literary types and explores the cultural and historical developments of the novel form itself. The book also poses a series of “big questions” pertaining to money, capitalism, industry, race, gender, and, at the same time, to formal issues, such as plotting, perspective, and realist representation. In addition, it locates the qualities that give to the great variety of Victorian novels a “family resemblance,” the material conditions of their production, their tendency to multiply plots, their obsession with class and money, their problematic handling of gender questions, and their commitment to realist representation.
How to Read the Victorian Novel challenges our comfortable expectations of the genre in order to explore intensively a burgeoning and changing literary form which mirrors a burgeoning and changing society.
1. What’s Victorian about the Victorian Novel?.
2. The Beginnings and Pickwick.
3. Vanity Fair and Victorian Realism.
4. Jane, David, and the Bildungsroman.
5. The Sensation Novel and The Woman in White.
- Offers a unique introduction to Victorian classics such as The Pickwick Papers, David Copperfield, Jane Eyre, The Woman in White, and Middlemarch
- Examines the complexities and the contemporary relevance of the Victorian novel, breathing new life into the genre for contemporary students
- Uses sample readings and contextual analysis to illuminate the unique nature of the Victorian novel and its complexities
- Surveys the variety of the genre and explores the cultural and historical developments of the form itself
- Poses a series of “big questions” pertaining to form, and to race, class, money, and industry in Victorian novels
"A broad-ranging introduction to the genre using examples from the classics." (Times Higher Education Supplement)