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Victorian Literature and Culture Series

This series seeks to publish the best contemporary scholarship and criticism on the Victorian period, including work undertaken from a range of disciplinary—and interdisciplinary—perspectives.

Series Editors: Herbert F. Tucker 
Associate Editors: William McKelvy, Jill Rappoport, and Andrew Stauffer
UVP Editor: Eric Brandt


Willful Submission

Amanda Paxton

Victorian England: a Jesuit priest writes of wrestling with God at night, limbs entangled; an Anglican sister begs Jesus, her divine lover, to end her aching anticipation of their union; a clergyman exhorts nuns to study the example of medieval women who suffered on the rack in order to become "... More


Pirating Fictions

Monica F. Cohen

Two distinctly different meanings of piracy are ingeniously intertwined in Monica Cohen's lively new book, which shows how popular depictions of the pirate held sway on the page and the stage even as their creators were preoccupied with the ravages of literary appropriation. The golden age of... More


Mathilde Blind

James Diedrick

With Mathilde Blind: Late-Victorian Culture and the Woman of Letters, James Diedrick offers a groundbreaking critical biography of the German-born British poet Mathilde Blind (1841–1896), a freethinking radical feminist. Born to politically radical parents, Blind had, by the time she was thirty,... More


Ruskin's Culture Wars

Judith Stoddart

"When I consider the quantity of wise talking which has passed in at one long ear of the world, and out at the other, without making the smallest impression upon its mind, I am tempted for the rest of my life to try and do what seems to me rational, silently; and to speak no more."--Ruskin in Fors... More


Poetry and the Thought of Song in Nineteenth-Century Britain

Elizabeth K. Helsinger

In arguing for the crucial importance of song for poets in the long nineteenth century, Elizabeth Helsinger focuses on both the effects of song on lyric forms and the mythopoetics through which poets explored the affinities of poetry with song. Looking in particular at individual poets and poems,... More


The Language of Flowers

Beverly Seaton

The author traces the phenomenon of ascribing sentimental meaning to floral imagery from its beginnings in Napoleonic France through its later transformations in England and America. At the heart of the book is a depiction of what the three most important flower books from each of the countries... More


Capital Offenses

Simon Joyce

As London became the first major city of the nineteenth century, new models of representation emerged in the journalism, poetry, fiction, and social commentary of the period. Simon Joyce argues that such writing reflected a persistent worry about the problem of crime but was never able to contain... More


Victorian Connections

Jerome J. Mcgann, ed.

In Victorian Connections, each contributor was asked to write about anything in the Victorian period, with only one proviso: that the essay seek to draw connections with other disciplines, fields, periods, methodologies or authors. The compliment the essays pay to each other - the way they... More


The Vulgarization of Art

Linda Dowling

In this major reinterpretation of the Victorian Aesthetic Movement, Linda Dowling argues that such classic works of Victorian art writing such as Ruskin's Stones of Venice of Morris's Lectures on Art or Wilde's Critic as Artist become wholly intelligible only within the larger ideological context... More


Victorian Publishing and Mrs. Gaskell's Work

Linda K. Hughes and Michael Lund

For much of her own century, Elizabeth Gaskell was recognized as a voice of Victorian convention&emdash;-the loyal wife, good mother, and respected writer&emdash;-a reputation that led to her steady decline in the view of twentieth-century literary critics. Recent scholars, however, have... More


The Child, the State and the Victorian Novel

Laura C. Berry

The Child, the State, and the Victorian Novel traces the the story of victimized childhood to its origins in nineteenth-century Britain. Almost as soon as "childhood" became a distinct category, Laura C. Berry contends, stories of children in danger were circulated as part of larger debates about... More


The Feminine Political Novel in Victorian England

Barbara Leah Harman

In this groundbreaking book, Barbara Leah Harman convincingly establishes a new category in Victorian fiction: the feminine political novel. By studying Victorian female protagonists who participate in the public universe conventionally occupied by men, she is able to reassess the public realm as... More


The Antagonist Principle

Lawrence Poston

The Antagonist Principle is a critical examination of the works and sometimes controversial public career of John Henry Newman (1801–1890), first as an Anglican and then as Victorian England’s most famous convert to Roman Catholicism at a time when such a conversion was not only a minority choice... More


Second Person Singular

Emily Harrington

Emily Harrington offers a new history of women’s poetry at the turn of the century that breaks from conventional ideas of nineteenth-century lyric, which focus on individual subjectivity. She argues that women poets conceived of lyric as an intersubjective genre, one that seeks to establish... More


Personal Business

Aeron Hunt

In recent years the analysis of the intersection of literature and economics has generated a vibrant conversation in literary and cultural studies of the Victorian period. But Aeron Hunt argues that an emphasis on abstraction and impersonality as the crucial features of the Victorian economic... More


The Ghost behind the Masks

W. David Shaw

In The Ghost behind the Masks, W. David Shaw traces Shakespeare’s influence on nine Victorian poets: Alfred Lord Tennyson, Robert Browning, Christina Rossetti, Thomas Hardy, Matthew Arnold, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Algernon Swinburne, Arthur Hugh Clough, and George Meredith. Often, he writes, the... More


Supposing Bleak House

John O. Jordan

Supposing "Bleak House" is an extended meditation on what many consider to be Dickens’s and nineteenth-century England’s greatest work of narrative fiction. Focusing on the novel’s retrospective narrator, whom he identifies as Esther Woodcourt in order to distinguish her from her younger,... More


Liberal Epic

Edward Adams

In Liberal Epic, Edward Adams examines the liberal imagination’s centuries-long dependence on contradictory, and mutually constitutive, attitudes toward violent domination. Adams centers his ambitious analysis on a series of major epic poems, histories, and historical novels, including Dryden’s... More


The Science of Religion in Britain, 1860–1915

Marjorie Wheeler-Barclay

Marjorie Wheeler-Barclay argues that, although the existence and significance of the science of religion has been barely visible to modern scholars of the Victorian period, it was a subject of lively and extensive debate among nineteenth-century readers and audiences. She shows how an... More


Victorian Poets and the Changing Bible

Charles LaPorte

Victorian Poets and the Changing Bible charts the impact of post-Enlightenment biblical criticism on English literary culture. The eighteenth and nineteenth centuries saw a widespread reevaluation of biblical inspiration, in which the Bible’s poetic nature came to be seen as an integral part of... More


Feeling for the Poor

Carolyn Betensky

What if the political work of Victorian social-problem novels was precisely to make the reader feel as if reading them—in and of itself—mattered? Surveying novels by Charles Dickens, Frances Trollope, Benjamin Disraeli, Elizabeth Gaskell, George Eliot, and Henry James, Carolyn Betensky tracks the... More


Reading for the Law

Christine L. Krueger

Taking her title from the British term for legal study, "to read for the law," Christine L. Krueger asks how "reading for the law" as literary history contributes to the progressive educational purposes of the Law and Literature movement. She argues that a multidisciplinary "historical narrative... More


The Dynamics of Genre

Dallas Liddle

Newspapers, magazines, and other periodicals reached a peak of cultural influence and financial success in Britain in the 1850s and 1860s, out-publishing and out-selling books as much as one hundred to one. But although scholars have long known that writing for the vast periodical marketplace... More


The Fowl and the Pussycat

Michael Field. Edited by Sharon Bickle

Michael Field was the pseudonym used by Katherine Bradley (1846-1914) and Edith Cooper (1862-1913) coauthors and lovers for the poetry and verse drama they published. This edition of the love letters of Michael Field brings together for the first time a personal correspondence thought lost by... More


Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám

Edward Fitzgerald. Edited by Christopher Decker

Edward FitzGerald’s translation of the Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám, perhaps the most frequently read Victorian poem and certainly one of the most popular poems in the English language, poses formidable challenges to an editor. FitzGerald compulsively revised his work, alternately swayed by friends’... More


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