Friday, March 22, 2013

The Rise of the Modern Art Market, 1850-1939

Edited by Pamela Fletcher and Anne Helmreich

Now available in paperback for the first time, this study of the modern London art market establishes the central importance of London for the development of the modern retail market in fine art. Leading experts track the emergence and development of the structures and practices that have come to characterize the commercial art system, including the commercial art gallery, the professional dealer, the exhibition cycle and its accompanying rhetoric of press coverage and publicity, and an international network for the circulation of goods.

This new commercial system involved a massive transformation of the experience of viewing art; of the relationships between artists, dealers, collectors, art objects and audiences; and of the very criteria of aesthetic value itself. Its history is thus a vital part of the history of modern art, and this anthology will be of interest to art historians as well as scholars of Victorian Studies, Museum Studies, and Social History.

Purchase from Manchester University Press

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Literary Theory and Criticism

By Steven J. Venturino

Alpha Books/Penguin USA, 2013 (distributed in the UK by DK)

While not exclusively related to Victorian studies, this book, written by a literary theorist who would be nowhere without George Eliot, provides an authoritative, humorous, and affordably priced introductory guide to literary theory and criticism, from Plato to the present. The book is organized into twenty-two chapters exploring fundamental questions of reading, notions of the text, and the importance of society in literature. Instructors and students alike will find accessible and conversational discussions of classical views of literature, formalist approaches, and critical perspectives ranging from Romanticism, Marxism, and Freudianism, to structuralism, deconstruction, and cultural criticism of various stripes.    

In his review, Haun Saussy, University Professor in the Department of Comparative Literature at the University of Chicago wryly asked, “Is this book serious? Or a parody? (A parody of literary theory, or a parody of Idiot's Guides?) Or just self-referential? Should we ask the author? Or is meaning in the eye of the beholder? Before getting past the cover, you're already in the world of literary theory and the questions it asks. Never more serious than when cracking a joke, Steven J. Venturino banishes dullness and gets to the point of literary theory, which has always been to spark the delight of understanding.” Narratologist Monika Fludernik of the University of Freiburg pronounced the book “A very readable and—would you believe it—extremely enjoyable introduction to literary theory. This book presents complex thoughts in easily graspable and quite memorable sentences. Guaranteed to appeal to anyone who loves to juggle with concepts and ideas.”

Purchase from Amazon (which offers a sneak peek) or an independent bookseller near you.

The Madwoman and the Blindman: Jane Eyre, Discourse, Disability

Edited by David Bolt, Julia Miele Rodas, and Elizabeth J. Donaldson

This breakthrough volume of critical essays on Jane Eyre from a disability perspective provides fresh insight into Charlotte Brontë’s classic novel from a vantage point that is of growing academic and cultural importance. Contributors include many of the preeminent disability scholars publishing today, including a foreword by Lennard J. Davis.

Though an indisputable classic and a landmark text for critical voices from feminism to Marxism to postcolonialism, until now, Jane Eyre has never yet been fully explored from a disability perspective. Customarily, impairment in the novel has been read unproblematically as loss, an undesired deviance from a condition of regularity vital to stable closure of the marriage plot. In fact, the most visible aspects of disability in the novel have traditionally been understood in rather rudimentary symbolic terms—the blindness of Rochester and the “madness” of Bertha apparently standing in for other aspects of identity. The Madwoman and the Blindman: Jane Eyre, Discourse, Disability resists this traditional reading of disability in the novel. Informed by a variety of perspectives—cultural studies, linguistics, and gender and film studies—the essays in this collection suggest surprising new interpretations, parsing the trope of the Blindman, investigating the embodiment of mental illness, and proposing an autistic identity for Jane Eyre. As the first volume of criticism dedicated to analyzing and theorizing the role of disability in a single literary text, The Madwoman and the Blindman is a model for how disability studies can open new conversation and critical thought within the literary canon.

“Literary academics who have been meaning to investigate disability studies but have not done so will discover, with pleasure, an approach that can open up well-known texts to fresh readings. Not only that: they will also experience some consciousness-raising. The Madwoman and the Blindman is a welcome addition both to Brontë scholarship and to disability studies.” —Beth Newman, associate professor of English and Director of Women’s and Gender Studies, Southern Methodist University

The Madwoman and the Blindman engages, interrogates, and carries out disability studies scholarship and critical approaches to a singular and major literary text, Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre. To my knowledge, it is the only volume of its kind and it will be a much-discussed contribution to disability studies.” —Brenda Jo Brueggemann, Professor of English, The Ohio State University

A Genius for Money: Business, Art and the Morrisons

By Caroline Dakers

This is the spectacular rags-to-riches story of James Morrison (1789-1857), who began life humbly but through hard work and entrepreneurial brilliance acquired a fortune unequalled in nineteenth-century England. Using the extensive Morrison archive, Caroline Dakers presents the first substantial biography of the richest commoner in England, recounting the details of Morrison's personal life while also placing him in the Victorian age of enterprise that made his success possible. An affectionate husband and father of ten, Morrison made his first fortune in textiles, then a second in international finance. He invested in North American railways, was involved in global trade from Canton to Valparaiso, created hundreds of jobs, and relished the challenges of 'the science of business'. His success enabled him to acquire land, houses, and works of art on a scale to rival the grandest of aristocrats.

Visit the Yale Books blog to read an extract.

Purchase from Yale University Press.

Darwin and the Memory of the Human: Evolution, Savages, and South America

By Cannon Schmitt

Cambridge University Press, 2009; paperback issued 2013

When the young Charles Darwin landed on the shores of Tierra del Fuego in 1832, he was overwhelmed: nothing had prepared him for the sight of what he called "an untamed savage." The shock he felt, repeatedly recalled in later years, definitively shaped his theory of evolution. In this study, Cannon Schmitt shows how Darwin and other Victorian naturalists transformed such encounters with South America and its indigenous peoples into influential accounts of biological and historical change. Redefining what it means to be human, they argue that the modern self must be understood in relation to a variety of pasts--personal, historical, and ancestral--conceived of as savage. Darwin and the Memory of the Human reshapes our understanding of Victorian imperialism, revisits the implications of Darwinian theory, and demonstrates the pertinence of nineteenth-century biological thought to current theorizations of memory.

“This is a brilliant, original, often difficult, but ultimately satisfying book. It is also very ambitious, for it sets out, by focusing on South America as an object of European travels and voyage narratives, to analyze and indeed reconstruct the construction, or ‘invention,’ as Schmitt puts it, of ‘the human as natural.’ . . . The payoff emerges from the strength of the argument, the ultimately moving engagement with the subject, the freshness of the material considered, and the unequivocally brilliant analyses of language that mark every chapter.”
— George Levine, NBOL-19

“Darwin and the Memory of the Human: Evolution, Savages, and South America is a beautifully written, elegantly conceived contribution to the study of nineteenth-century evolutionary theory’s cultural implications. . . . [The book is] radically different from any other scholarly work I know. It gives new meaning to the term ‘literary criticism’ by making its literariness part of its critical method. The incantatory beauty of Schmitt’s prose is not an incidental feature, a decorative belle-lettrism. Rather it is designed to re-represent the lost savage Victorians, to make them alive in us again, as we read Schmitt who . . . calls forth the ways of dwelling in the lost past that makes such continuing presence possible.”
— Kathy Alexis Psomiades, Criticism

Purchase from Amazon.

Roomscape: Women Writers in the British Museum from George Eliot to Virginia Woolf

By Susan David Bernstein

Roomscape examines the Reading Room of the British Museum as a space of imaginative and historically generative potential in relation to the emergence of modern women writers in Victorian and early twentieth-century London.

Drawing on archival materials around this national library reading room, Roomscape is the first study that integrates documentary, theoretical, historical, and literary sources to examine the significance of this public interior space for women writers and their treatment of reading and writing spaces in literary texts. This book challenges an assessment of the Reading Room of the British Museum as a bastion of class and gender privilege, an image firmly established by Virginia Woolf's 1929 A Room of One's Own and the legions of feminist scholarship that upholds this spatial conceit.

Susan David Bernstein argues not only that the British Museum Reading Room facilitated various practices of women's literary traditions, she also questions the overdetermined value of privacy and autonomy in constructions of female authorship, a principle generated from Woolf's feminist manifesto. Rather than viewing reading and writing as solitary, individual events, Roomscape considers the meaning of exteriority and the public and social and gendered dimensions of literary production.

“In a work of pioneering archival recovery and dazzling theoretical innovation, Susan David Bernstein discovers a space where British women writers from George Eliot to Virginia Woolf found solace, intimacies, and communities crucial to their professional identities and intellectual development. Bernstein’s groundbreaking feminist study produces startling new discoveries. No one will regard Virginia Woolf the same way. Roomscape is a tour de force of interdisciplinary cultural history of the highest order.”—Priya Joshi, Temple University

A Room of His Own: A Literary-Cultural Study of Victorian Clubland

By Barbara Black

In nineteenth-century London, a clubbable man was a fortunate man, indeed. The Reform, the Athenaeum, the Travellers, the Carlton, the United Service are just a few of the gentlemen’s clubs that formed the exclusive preserve known as “clubland” in Victorian London—the City of Clubs that arose during the Golden Age of Clubs. Why were these associations for men only such a powerful emergent institution in nineteenth-century London? Distinctly British, how did these single-sex clubs help fashion men, foster a culture of manliness, and assist in the project of nation building? What can elite male affiliative culture tell us about nineteenth-century Britishness?

A Room of His Own sheds light on the mysterious ways of male associational culture as it examines such topics as fraternity, sophistication, nostalgia, social capital, celebrity, gossip, and male professionalism. The story of clubland (and the literature it generated) begins with Britain’s military heroes home from the Napoleonic campaign and quickly turns to Dickens’s and Thackeray’s acrimonious Garrick Club Affair. It takes us to Richard Burton’s curious Cannibal Club and Winston Churchill’s The Other Club; it goes underground to consider Uranian desire and Oscar Wilde’s clubbing and resurfaces to examine the problematics of belonging in Trollope’s novels. The trespass of French socialist Flora Tristan, who cross-dressed her way into the clubs of Pall Mall, provides a brief interlude. London’s clubland—this all-important room of his own—comes to life as Barbara Black explores the literary representations of clubland and the important social and cultural work that this urban site enacts. Our present-day culture of connectivity owes much to nineteenth-century sociability and Victorian networks; clubland reveals to us our own enduring desire to belong, to construct imagined communities, and to affiliate with like-minded comrades.

“This splendid book boldly lifts the curtain and raises the sash of Victorian private gentlemen’s clubs, which often were more comfortable, intimate, and yet sociable than the prized domestic hearth. According to Professor Black, clubs functioned as heterotopic spaces that were simultaneously apart from and part of the social fabric that constituted them. This is a beautifully conceived, thoroughly researched, and deftly argued book that expands our awareness of the homosocial associations out of which personal and national identities were forged in the nineteenth century and persist, with modifications and adjustments, even today.”
Karen S. Chase Levenson — Linden Kent Memorial Professor of English, University of Virginia

“Barbara Black’s wonderfully informative discussion of nineteenth-century London club culture is something of a revelation. She makes us see how significant were men’s clubs in the social life of the expanding propertied classes of Britain; how ubiquitous, if critically overlooked, are their representations in the Victorian novel and the Victorian press; and how powerfully the sociability they fostered has shaped notions of English masculinity and national identity. That she does so in prose that is itself sociable—often witty and always appealing—is an added pleasure.”
Eileen Gillooly — Associate Director of the Heyman Center for the Humanities and Associate Faculty in English, Columbia University

Oceania and the Victorian Imagination: Where All Things Are Possible

Edited by Richard D. Fulton and Peter H. Hoffenberg

Oceania, or the South Pacific, loomed large in the Victorian popular imagination. It was a world that interested the Victorians for many reasons, all of which suggested to them that everything was possible there. This collection of essays focuses on Oceania’s impact on Victorian culture, most notably travel writing, photography, international exhibitions, literature, and the world of children. Each of these had significant impact. The literature discussed affected mainly the middle and upper classes, while exhibitions and photography reached down into the working classes, as did missionary presentations. The experience of children was central to the Pacific’s effects, as youthful encounters at exhibitions, chapel, home, or school formed lifelong impressions and experience.

It would be difficult to fully understand the Victorians as they understood themselves without considering their engagement with Oceania. While the contributions of India and Africa to the nineteenth-century imagination have been well-documented, examinations of the contributions of Oceania have remained on the periphery of Victorian studies. Oceania and the Victorian Imagination contributes significantly to our discussion of the non-peripheral place of Oceania in Victorian culture.

Purchase from Ashgate

Heart Beats: Everyday Life and the Memorized Poem

By Catherine Robson

Many people in Great Britain and the United States can recall elderly relatives who remembered long stretches of verse learned at school decades earlier, yet most of us were never required to recite in class. Heart Beats is the first book to examine how poetry recitation came to assume a central place in past curricular programs, and to investigate when and why the once-mandatory exercise declined. Telling the story of a lost pedagogical practice and its wide-ranging effects on two sides of the Atlantic, Catherine Robson explores how recitation altered the ordinary people who committed poems to heart, and changed the worlds in which they lived.

Heart Beats begins by investigating recitation's progress within British and American public educational systems over the course of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and weighs the factors that influenced which poems were most frequently assigned. Robson then scrutinizes the recitational fortunes of three short works that were once classroom classics: Felicia Hemans's "Casabianca," Thomas Gray's "Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard," and Charles Wolfe's "Burial of Sir John Moore after Corunna." To conclude, the book considers W. E. Henley's "Invictus" and Rudyard Kipling's "If--," asking why the idea of the memorized poem arouses such different responses in the United States and Great Britain today.

Focusing on vital connections between poems, individuals, and their communities, Heart Beats is an important study of the history and power of memorized poetry.

"Heart Beats is a work of passionate intelligence—sensitive to issues of class and to the place of recitation in the disciplining of minds and bodies, but at the same time open to the idea that verse memorization can liberate and shape social practices for the better." —John O. Jordan, University of California, Santa Cruz

"Robson's history of memorized poetry is impressive in every way: imaginatively conceived and massively researched, it holds important implications for the way we teach and read." —Leah Price, Harvard University

"This innovative book gives an institutional history of memorizing poetry in nineteenth- and early twentieth-century schools, and provides an account of the psychological effects of this practice in the lives of students who memorized. A key scholarly book in the field, this book is a winner." —Linda Peterson, Yale University

Purchase from Princeton

Mad Men, Mad World

Edited by Lauren M. E. Goodlad, Lilya Kaganovsky, and Robert A. Rushing

Since the show's debut in 2007, Mad Men has invited viewers to immerse themselves in the lush period settings, ruthless Madison Avenue advertising culture, and arresting characters at the center of its 1960s fictional world. Mad Men, Mad World is a comprehensive analysis of this groundbreaking TV series. Scholars from across the humanities—including Victorianists Lauren M.E. Goodlad and Caroline Levine—consider the AMC drama from a fascinating array of perspectives, including fashion, history, architecture, civil rights, feminism, consumerism, art, cinema, and the serial format, as well as through theoretical frames such as critical race theory, gender, queer theory, global studies, and psychoanalysis.

In the introduction, the editors explore the show's popularity; its controversial representations of race, class, and gender; its powerful influence on aesthetics and style; and its unique use of period historicism and advertising as a way of speaking to our neoliberal moment. Mad Men, Mad World also includes an interview with Phil Abraham, an award-winning Mad Men director and cinematographer. Taken together, the essays demonstrate that understanding Mad Men means engaging the show not only as a reflection of the 1960s but also as a commentary on the present day.

Contributors: Michael Bérubé, Alexander Doty, Lauren M. E. Goodlad, Jim Hansen, Dianne Harris, Lynne Joyrich, Lilya Kaganovsky, Clarence Lang, Caroline Levine, Kent Ono, Dana Polan, Leslie Reagan, Mabel Rosenheck, Robert A. Rushing, Irene Small, Michael Szalay, Jeremy Varon

Purchase from Duke.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Transatlantic Sensations

Edited by Jennifer Phegley, John Cyril Barton, and Kristin N. Huston.  Featuring a preface by David S. Reynolds. Ashgate Press, 2012.

Bringing together sensation writing and transatlantic studies, this collection makes a convincing case for the symbiotic relationship between literary works on both sides of the Atlantic. Transatlantic Sensations begins with the 'prehistories' of the genre, looking at the dialogue and debate generated by the publication of sentimental and gothic fiction by William Godwin, Susanna Rowson, and Charles Brockden Brown.Thus establishing a context for the treatment of works by Louisa May Alcott, Mary Elizabeth Braddon, Dion Boucicault, Wilkie Collins, Charles Dickens, George Lippard, Charles Reade, Harriet Beecher Stowe and George Thompson, the volume takes up a wide range of sensational topics including sexuality, slavery, criminal punishment, literary piracy, mesmerism, and the metaphors of foreign literary invasion and diseased reading. Concluding essays offer a reassessment of the realist and domestic fiction of George Eliot, Charlotte Yonge, and Thomas Hardy in the context of transatlantic sensationalism, emphasizing the evolution of the genre throughout the century and mapping a new transatlantic lineage for this immensely popular literary form. The book's final essay examines an international kidnapping case that was a journalistic sensation at the turn of the twentieth century.

Purchase from Ashgate

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Touching God: Hopkins and Love

By Duc Dau

Love is often called a leap of faith. But can faith be described as a leap of love? In Touching God: Hopkins and Love, Duc Dau argues that the conversion of Gerard Manley Hopkins to Roman Catholicism was one of his most romantic acts. Touching God is the first book devoted to love in the writings of Hopkins, illuminating our understanding of him as a romantic poet. Discussions of desire in Hopkins’ poetry have focused on his unrequited attraction to men. In contrast, Dau turns to Luce Irigaray's and Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s theories of mutual touch to uncover the desire Hopkins cultivated and celebrated: his love for Christ. This book demonstrates how descriptions of touching played a vital role in the poet’s vision of spiritual eroticism. Forging a new way of reading desire and the body in Hopkins’ writings, the work offers fresh interpretations of his poetry.

"Duc Dau has written an exciting and provocative book, […] a worthy and timely addition to the world of Hopkins scholarship, bringing a fresh, innovative, and at times deliberately challenging approach to the too-often-overlooked area of love in the writing of Hopkins. […] Far from denying the corporeal, this approach rightly draws attention to a frequently overlooked rich spiritual eroticism found nestling at the very heart of so much of Hopkins’s writing." — Review, The Hopkins Quarterly

"It is a rare book that can speak to a feminist or queer reader as well as a traditional Catholic; Touching God is one such book." — Frederick Roden, author of Same-Sex Desire in Victorian Religious Culture 

"This study will contribute to a new understanding not only for readers of Hopkins but also for those concerned with the subject of Christianity and sexuality. It is a first-rate contribution to the whole subject of the theology of the body." —James Finn Cotter, author of Inscape: The Christology and Poetry of Gerard Manley Hopkins

Purchase from Anthem Press

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Wilde’s Wiles: Studies of the Influences on Oscar Wilde and His Enduring Influences in the Twenty-First Century

Edited by Annette M. Magid

Wilde’s Wiles: Studies of the Influences on Oscar Wilde and His Enduring Influences in the Twenty-First Century is a collection of essays which celebrates the diversity of Oscar Wilde’s genius. This unique collection of scholarship explores not only his influence on a broad spectrum of subjects including: aesthetics, children’s literature, women’s issues, consumer economics, queer theory, politics, theater, film, poetry, Victorianism and other aspects of culture such as pedagogical approaches to Wilde’s literature, but it also examines the influence of his family and friends on him. Wilde’s Wiles: Studies of the Influences on Oscar Wilde and His Enduring Influences in the Twenty-First Century includes a wide range of approaches and concentrations written by international experts and has a broad spectrum of subjects which will appeal to a diversity of scholars seeking original and alternative approaches to understanding Oscar Wilde.

The multiplicity of interest in the topic of Oscar Wilde expands across genres, disciplines, cultures and time, this being the second century of Wilde scholarship since his untimely death in November 1900 preceding the fin-de siècle. The unique, multi-discipline approach of Wilde’s Wiles is organized in three sections: “Aesthetic Approaches,” “Friends and Family,” and “Performance and Pedagogy” and bridges philosophical, sociological, psychological, economic and literary disciplines.

Isbn13: 978-1-4438-4328-7
Isbn: 1-4438-4328-8

Purchase from Cambridge Scholars, or, for more information, visit the oscholars

Better Left Unsaid: Victorian Novels, Hays Code Films, and the Benefits of Censorship

By Nora Gilbert

Better Left Unsaid is in the unseemly position of defending censorship from the central liberal allegations that are traditionally leveled against it. Taking two genres generally presumed to have been stymied by the censor's knife—the Victorian novel and classical Hollywood film—this book reveals the varied ways in which censorship, for all its blustery self-righteousness, can actually be "good" for sex, politics, feminism, and art. 

As much as Victorianism is equated with such cultural impulses as repression and prudery, few scholars have explored the Victorian novel as a specifically censored commodity—thanks, in large part, to the indirectness and intangibility of England's literary censorship process. This indirection stands in sharp contrast to the explicit, detailed formality of Hollywood's infamous Production Code of 1930. In comparing these two versions of censorship, Nora Gilbert explores the paradoxical effects of prohibitive practices. Rather than being ruined by censorship, she argues, Victorian novels and Hays Code films were stirred and stimulated by the very forces meant to restrain them.

"Turning the tables on inherited notions of oppression and freedom, Nora Gilbert shows how writers and filmmakers worked within frames of control that in their collusion the market economy and public opinion had drawn around them. Through her meticulous comparisons of Victorian novels and Hays Code Hollywood, Gilbert studies visual and verbal slippage, inference, irony and, no less, the pleasure of perversion. Informative and a delight to read, Better Left Unsaid sparkles with wit and invention."—Tom Conley, Harvard University

"An engaging, consistently shrewd, and bracingly irreverent study of how the Victorian novel and classical Hollywood film devised ingenious and morally productive strategies to evade the constraints intended to control them."—Maria DiBattista, Princeton University

"Gilbert's book is a work of many charms and considerable significance, demonstrating a sure understanding of the productive side of censorship, and providing a persuasive demonstration that Victorian novels and Hollywood films belong in the same conversation."—Ned Schantz, McGill University

ISBN:  9780804784207

Purchase from Stanford or Amazon.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Religious Imaginaries: The Liturgical and Poetic Practices of Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Christina Rossetti, and Adelaide Procter

By Karen Dieleman 

Religious Imaginaries explores liturgical practice as formative for how three Victorian women poets imagined the world and their place in it and, consequently, for how they developed their creative and critical religious poetics. It rethinks ideas that Victorian women’s faith commitments tend to limit creativity; that the contours of church experiences matter little for understanding religious poetry; and that gender is more significant than liturgy in shaping women’s religious poetry.

Exploring the import of bodily experience for spiritual, emotional, and cognitive forms of knowing, the author explains and clarifies the deep orientations of different strands of nineteenth-century Christianity, such as Congregationalism’s high regard for verbal proclamation, Anglicanism and Anglo-Catholicism’s valuation of manifestation, and revivalist Roman Catholicism’s recuperation of an affective aesthetic. Looking specifically at Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Christina Rossetti, and Adelaide Procter as astute participants in their chosen strands of Christianity, Dieleman reveals the subtle textures of these women’s religious poetry: the different voices, genres, and aesthetics they create in response to their worship experiences.

ISBN:  9780821420171

Purchase at Ohio • Swallow or at Amazon.

Reforming Trollope: Race, Gender, and Englishness in the Novels of Anthony Trollope

By Deborah Denenholz Morse, College of William and Mary

Trollope the reformer and the reformation of Trollope scholarship in relation to gender, race, and genre are the intertwined subjects of eminent Trollopian Deborah Denenholz Morse’s radical rethinking of Anthony Trollope. Beginning with a history of Trollope’s critical reception, Morse traces the ways in which Trollope’s responses to the political and social upheavals of the 1860s and 1870s are reflected in his novels. She argues that as Trollope’s ideas about gender and race evolved over those two crucial decades, his politics became more liberal.

The first section of the book analyzes these changes in terms of genre. As Morse shows, the novelist subverts and modernizes the quintessential English genre of the pastoral in the wake of Darwin in the early 1860s novel The Small House at Allington. Following the Second Reform Act, he reimagines the marriage plot along new class lines in the early 1870s in Lady Anna. The second section focuses upon gender. In the wake of the Second Reform Bill and the agitations for women's rights in the 1860s and 1870s, Trollope reveals the tragedy of primogeniture and male privilege in Harry Hotspur of Humblethwaite and the viciousness of the marriage market in Ayala's Angel. The final section of Reforming Trollope centers upon race. Trollope's response to the Jamaica Rebellion and the ensuing Governor Eyre Controversy in England is revealed in the tragic marriage of a quintessential English gentleman to a dark beauty from the Empire's dominions. The American Civil War and its aftermath led to Trollope's insistence that English identity include the history of English complicity in the black Atlantic slave trade and American slavery, a history Trollope encodes in the creole discourses of the late novel Dr. Wortle's School. Reforming Trollope is a transformative examination of an author too long identified as the epitome of the complacent English gentleman.

“To say that this is the most important work we now have on Anthony Trollope understates its value. Deborah Morse, for some time our most influential Trollope scholar, here gives us a thunderous book, such a remarkable and bold set of readings that we must wonder at how timid we were. Morse's new Trollope, now our Trollope, is a reformer of gender, politics (in the largest sense), and—get this! —race. Morse writes this audacious book with such lucidity, grace, and good-heartedness that it works on us much as a Trollope novel does—working into our minds and beings, not just persuading us but making us new.”—James R. Kincaid, University of Southern California, USA

“If Anthony Trollope is the Victorian novelist for our neoliberal age, then Deborah Morse’s Reforming Trollope is the ideal accompaniment for the scholarly reader. Erudite and witty, timely and topical, Morse’s study will reward new Trollope enthusiasts and specialists alike. The attention to works that highlight Trollope’s complex engagement of genre, gender, and race will spark new conversations on this ever more fascinating Victorian writer.”—Lauren M. E. Goodlad, University of Illinois, Urbana, US, author of The Victorian Geopolitical Aesthetic: Realism, Sovereignty, and Transnational Experience

Purchase from Ashgate Press

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Dickens and the Despised Mother: A Critical Reading of Three Autobiographical Novels

By Shale Preston

This work offers an original interpretation of the mothers of the protagonists in Dickens’s autobiographical novels. Taking Julia Kristeva’s psychoanalytic concept of abjection and Mary Douglas’s anthropological analysis of pollution as its conceptual framework, the book argues that Dickens’s primary emotional response towards the mother who abandoned him to work in a blacking warehouse was disgust, and suggests that we can trace similar signs of disgust in the narrators of his fictional autobiographies, David Copperfield, Bleak House, and Great Expectations.

The author provides a close reading of Dickens’s autobiographical fragment and opens up the possibility that Dickens’s feelings towards his mother actually bore a significant influence on his fiction. The book closes with a provocative discussion of Dickens’s compulsive Sikes and Nancy public readings.

Shale Preston is an Honorary Research Fellow in the Department of English at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia. She has published articles and book chapters on Dickens and has presented papers on his work at international conferences in Europe, the United States, Asia and Australia.

ISBN 978-0-7864-7139-3
Ebook ISBN 978-0-7864-9331-9 2013

Purchase from McFarland Press

Modern Love and Poems of the English Roadside, with Poems and Ballads

George Meredith, Modern Love and Poems of the English Roadside, with Poems and Ballads
Anniversary edition edited by Rebecca N. Mitchell and Criscillia Benford

Modern Love and Poems of the English Roadside occupies a distinctive and somewhat notorious place within George Meredith’s already unique body of work. Modern Love is now best known for the emotionally intense sonnet cycle which Meredith’s own contemporaries dismissed as scandalously confessional and indiscreet. While individual sonnets from the work have been anthologized, the complete cycle is rarely included, and the original edition has not been reprinted since its first appearance in 1862. This edition restores the original publication and supplements it with a range of accompanying materials that will reintroduce Meredith’s astonishing collection of poetry to a new generation of readers.

“This complex, avant-garde Victorian poet comes into his own in this outstanding edition. Meredith's provocative experiments, prismatic ironies and shifting perspectives dazzle anew here, with the poems published alongside ‘Modern Love,’ plus contemporary reviews, cultural documents of poetics, sexuality and the sensoria.”—Isobel Armstrong, University of London

"One hundred fifty years have passed since George Meredith’s extraordinarily bold ‘Modern Love’ struck Richard Holt Hutton in the Spectator as nothing less than ‘Modern Lust.’ In this finely prepared edition, Rebecca N. Mitchell and Criscillia Benford draw detailed attention to one of Victorian Britain’s greatest poems on sexual desire. This outstanding edition enables us to see why Meredith, a unique writer whose formidable demands too often account for his unjustifiable neglect, deserves renewed critical attention.”—Joseph Bristow, University of California, Los Angeles

“Rebecca Mitchell and Criscillia Benford’s important edition opens new possibilities in scholarship and classrooms by allowing readers to access Meredith’s vibrant poetry in its cultural, publishing, and visual contexts.”—Linda K. Hughes, author of The Cambridge Introduction to Victorian Poetry

Purchase at Yale Press or on Amazon.
ISBN: 978-0300173178

Popular Fiction and Brain Science in the Late Nineteenth Century

By Anne Stiles

In the 1860s and 1870s, leading neurologists used animal experimentation to establish that discrete sections of the brain regulate specific mental and physical functions. These discoveries had immediate medical benefits: David Ferrier's detailed cortical maps, for example, saved lives by helping surgeons locate brain tumors and haemorrhages without first opening up the skull. These experiments both incited controversy and stimulated creative thought, because they challenged the possibility of an extra-corporeal soul. This book examines the cultural impact of neurological experiments on late-Victorian Gothic romances by Robert Louis Stevenson, Bram Stoker, H. G. Wells and others. Novels like Dracula and Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde expressed the deep-seated fears and visionary possibilities suggested by cerebral localization research, and offered a corrective to the linearity and objectivity of late Victorian neurology.

Purchase from Cambridge UP.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Thinking without Thinking in the Victorian Novel

By Vanessa L. Ryan

In Thinking without Thinking in the Victorian Novel, Vanessa L. Ryan demonstrates how both the form and the experience of reading novels played an important role in ongoing debates about the nature of consciousness during the Victorian era.

Revolutionary developments in science during the mid- and late nineteenth century—including the discoveries and writings of Herbert Spencer, William Carpenter, and George Henry Lewes—had a vital impact on fiction writers of the time. Wilkie Collins, George Eliot, George Meredith, and Henry James read contributions in what we now call cognitive science that asked, "what is the mind?" These Victorian fiction writers took a crucial step, asking how we experience our minds, how that experience relates to our behavior and questions of responsibility, how we can gain control over our mental reflexes, and finally how fiction plays a special role in understanding and training our minds.

Victorian fiction writers focus not only on the question of how the mind works but also on how it seems to work and how we ought to make it work. Ryan shows how the novelistic emphasis on dynamic processes and functions—on the activity of the mind, rather than its structure or essence—can also be seen in some of the most exciting and comprehensive scientific revisions of the understanding of "thinking" in the Victorian period. This book studies the way in which the mind in the nineteenth-century view is embedded not just in the body but also in behavior, in social structures, and finally in fiction.

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Science in Modern Poetry: New Directions

John Holmes, editor
Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2012

Over the last thirty years, more and more critics and scholars have come to recognize the importance of science to literature. Science in Modern Poetry: New Directions is the first collection of essays to focus specifically on what poets in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries have made of the scientific developments going on around them. In a collection of twelve essays, leading experts on modern poetry and on literature and science explore how poets have used scientific language in their poems, how poetry can offer new perspectives on science, and how the ‘Two Cultures’ can and have come together in the work of poets from Britain and Ireland, America and Australia.

What does the poetry of a leading immunologist and a Nobel-Prize-winning chemist tell us about how poetry can engage with science? Scientific experiments aim to yield knowledge, but what do the linguistic and formal experiments of contemporary American poets suggest about knowledge in their turn? How can universities help to bring these different experimental cultures and practices together? What questions do literary critics need to ask themselves when looking at poems that respond to science? How did developments in biology between the wars shape modernist poetry? What did William Empson make of science fiction, Ezra Pound of the fourth dimension, Thomas Hardy of anthropology? How did modern poets from W. B. Yeats to Elizabeth Bishop and Judith Wright respond to the legacy of Charles Darwin? This book aims to answer these questions and more, in the process setting out the state of the field and suggesting new directions and approaches for research by students and scholars working on the fertile relationship between science and poetry today.

This collection genuinely offers new directions for the study of science in modern poetry. It is coherently organised, full of matter, often fascinating, and always thought-provoking.’
Gillian Beer, University of Cambridge

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Giving Women: Alliance & Exchange in Victorian Culture

By Jill Rappoport

Altruism and self-assertiveness went hand in hand for Victorian women. Gift transactions allowed them to enter into economic negotiations of power as volatile and potentially profitable as those within the markets that so frequently excluded or exploited them. They made presents of holiday books and homemade jams, transformed inheritances into intimate and aggressive bequests, and, in both prose and practice, offered up their own bodies in sacrifice. Far more than selfless acts of charity or signs of their suitability for marriage, such gifts radically reconstructed women’s personal relationships and public activism in the nineteenth century. Giving Women examines the literary expression and cultural consequences of English women’s giving from the 1820s to the First World War. In fiction and poetry by Brontë, Barrett Browning, Gaskell, and Rossetti , periodicals, and political pamphlets, Rappoport demonstrates how female authors and fictional protagonists alike mobilized networks outside of marriage and the market. Through giving, women redefined the primary allegiances of their everyday lives, forged public coalitions, and advanced campaigns for abolition, slum reform, eugenics, and suffrage.

Oxford University Press, 2012

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