How to Read the Victorian Novel
November 2007, ©2007, Wiley-Blackwell
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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.