A History of Victorian Literature (Blackwell History of by James Eli Adams

By James Eli Adams

Incorporating a huge diversity of latest scholarship, A background of Victorian Literature provides an summary of the literature produced in nice Britain among 1830 and 1900, with clean attention of either significant figures and a few of the era's much less typical authors. a part of the Blackwell Histories of Literature sequence, the booklet describes the improvement of the Victorian literary stream and areas it inside its cultural, social and political context.A wide-ranging narrative assessment of literature in nice Britain among 1830 and 1900, taking pictures the intense number of literary output produced in this eraAnalyzes the improvement of all literary types in this interval - the radical, poetry, drama, autobiography and demanding prose - along side significant advancements in social and highbrow historyConsiders the ways that writers engaged with new different types of social accountability of their paintings, as Britain reworked into the world's first commercial economyOffers a clean standpoint at the paintings of either significant figures and a few of the era?s much less accepted authors

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The book began as an attack on the dandy, the icon of an enervated aristocracy oblivious to the suffering around it. But Carlyle also saw in the trope of clothing and fashion a figure for the force of history, in particular, the incessant transformation of human beliefs and institutions. Humankind is always struggling to find adequate vesture, in Carlyle’s terms, for its beliefs – vesture which culminates in their conception of divinity. ” (Carlyle 1908: 49). The trope has a long literary history – witness King Lear – but it took on added topicality through the revolutionary sans-culottes in France, a precedent still haunting England in 1832.

Of course, that very designation reflected a skeptical cast of mind. New myths, it seemed, could no longer be found in sacred texts and revelations. They would be derived from secular writings and experience – something that came to be called “literature” in our modern sense of the term. ” The most resonant versions of this story were honed through an unlikely literary exchange. indd 27 12/29/2008 3:15:55 PM 28 Literature in the Age of Machinery, 1830–1850 in the London Examiner by John Stuart Mill (1806–73).

In effect, he had come to Carlyle’s conclusion that Logic is always saying No. His emergence from the depression, Mill recalls, gave him a new appreciation for what he calls Carlyle’s “anti-self-consciousness theory”: “Ask yourself whether you are happy, and you cease to be so. 145–7). Mill drew from this ordeal a new appreciation for “the internal culture of the individual,” which Bentham had failed to recognize. indd 32 12/29/2008 3:15:55 PM Literature in the Age of Machinery, 1830–1850 33 incorporate his new attention to emotional life in a revisionist view of Benthamism, which he most fully developed in pendant essays on Bentham and Coleridge.

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