Why Victorian Literature Still Matters
Wiley-Blackwell Manifestos, Band 25 1. Aufl.
Why Victorian Literature Still Matters is a passionate defense of Victorian literature’s enduring impact and importance for readers interested in the relationship between literature and life, reading and thinking. Explores the prominence of Victorian literature for contemporary readers and academics, through the author’s unique insight into why it is still important today Provides new frames of interpretation for key Victorian works of literature and close readings of important texts Argues for a new engagement with Victorian literature, from general readers and scholars alike Seeks to remove Victorian literature from an entrenched set of values, traditions and perspectives - demonstrating how vital and resonant it is for modern literary and cultural analysis
Introduction: The Victorian Bump and Where to Find It 1 1 Victorian Hard Wiring 9 2 Isaiah and Ezekiel – But What About Charley? 35 3 Not So Straightforward: Realist Prose and What It Hides Within Itself 54 4 A Literature In Time 81 5 Individual Agents 112 6 A Few of My Favorite Things: A Glove, a Sandal, and Plaited Hair 138 Notes 161 Index 168
"Philip Davis's Blackwell manifesto offers a spirited, polemical defence of Victorian literature in general, and Victorian realism in particular, against its modernist and postmodernist detractors." (Oxford Journals, 1 June 2011) "In Why Victorian Literature Still Matters, Davis writes as a reader. Readers, as he defines them, are different from scholars and critics. Who distance themselves from the worlds before them by turning to history or theory instead. Readers, by contrast, do not distance themselves at all, but rather seek ever more closeness." (Victorian Studies, Winter 2010)"Philip Davis's [book] ... Was fascinating about Victorian writing, and one of the best books written about how novels can work." (The Guardian, November 2008)
Philip Davis is Professor of English Literature in the School of English, University of Liverpool, UK. He is the author of The Victorians and, most recently, Bernard Malamud: A Writer's Life. His other books include The Experience of Reading; Real Voices: On Reading, and Memory and Writing: from Wordsworth to Lawrence, as well as works on Shakespeare and Samuel Johnson. He is also editor of The Reader, a non-academic literary magazine aimed at the serious reader.
Why Victorian Literature Still Matters is a passionate defense of the enduring impact of Victorian realism today. With a nod to the popularity of phrenology within that era, noted literary scholar Philip Davis points to a corner of the human mind where all Victorian literature resides. This "Victorian bump," he argues, is an area concerned with human purpose, morality, secularization and belief, human stories, and living in time. Rather than emphasizing Victorian literature as an historical and reassuring body of knowledge, Davis explains its centrality for contemporary readers as an important mode of thinking and feeling, and provides a gateway of analysis into the popular prose and poetry of the Victorian Age. Why Victorian Literature Still Matters is a positive manifesto, inviting readers to discover what they really like about a book. The author offers an insightful window for readers to formulate a sense of what Victorian literature means for them and how it relates to our wider human existence.
“This book argues fearlessly and passionately for the relevance of Victorian literature to contemporary society, addressing a question too rarely asked in literary study: why should we care?” –Marion Thain, University of Birmingham
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