Read e-book online A Companion to the Victorian Novel PDF

By Kenneth Womack, William Baker

ISBN-10: 0313314071

ISBN-13: 9780313314070

Victorian novels stay greatly well known this day: a few remain made into motion pictures, whereas authors corresponding to Charles Dickens and George Eliot are firmly confirmed within the canon and taught in any respect degrees. those works have additionally attracted loads of serious awareness, with a lot present scholarship studying the radical when it comes to its ancient, political, and cultural contexts. This reference ebook is an introductory advisor to the Victorian novel, its historical past, and its legacy. each one bankruptcy is written by means of knowledgeable contributor and gives a clean account of prior, present, and new instructions in scholarship.

The quantity is split into numerous huge sections, with chapters in every one part treating extra really expert subject matters. the 1st part appears on the emergence of the Victorian novel and its literary precursors, with specific emphasis at the progress of serialization and the improvement of the radical of syndication. the second one explores major social and cultural points of nineteenth-century British literature, whereas the 3rd discusses the primary positive aspects of alternative genres, corresponding to ghost tales, the Gothic, detective fiction, the social challenge novel, and modern movie diversifications. person authors are tested within the fourth part, whereas the 5th overviews a number of severe techniques and their program to nineteenth-century fiction.

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For this reason, the denunciation offered in the closing lines implicates the poet also. He sees in the sliding cars the paradoxical impulses he finds in himself: a will-to-power but also an incapacitating desire for oblivion. This tension accounts for the ambiguous tone of the lines: they are at once full of ‘savage’ energy and continuous with the enervation they observe. To respond to such rhetoric as if it were simply authoritative public pronouncement would be to miss its hollow resonance, its weariness with its own idiom.

There is more credibility in Vereen M. 17 Behind all the gestures of selfaggrandizement and self-reproach, all the inflations and deflations of the poetic voice, lurks a sense of futility. ] (‘Two Walls’, History, LCP 566) Dying without death is living in a city. (‘Dissenting Academy’, History, LCP 567) Even when such explicit formulations are absent, the sentiment is often keenly felt; a yearning for non-existence repeatedly exerts its pull on Lowell’s poetry, straining against the incessant urge for selfassertion and self-validation that impels the verse.

27 In the process of speculating about Caligula’s motives, Lowell faces, as he puts it, his own ‘lowest depths of possibility’ (360): the poem is, at least in part, the record of a personal confrontation with the dangers of being lured by solipsistic and narcissistic impulses towards a deluded sense of personal importance and a callously dissociated relationship with the world beyond the self. It also connects in a more general way to other Lowell poems that consider these very dangers. Caligula might present an extreme case of the power-seeking individual but his guiding motives are not essentially different in kind from those of, for example, the President in ‘Waking Early Sunday Morning’: floating in his pool, he is, like Caligula in his bath, absorbed by both a physical sense of his own power (with hints of erotic gratification in his exhibitionistic nakedness) and feelings of inadequacy.

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A Companion to the Victorian Novel by Kenneth Womack, William Baker

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