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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


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


Thomas Hardy and the Proper Study of Mankind



Simon Gatrell

Simon Gatrell offers a fresh and stimulating exploration of Hardy's account in fiction of the individual man or woman's relationship with various aspects of the encompassing world- with other men and women, with the aggregation known as society, with the natural and artificial environment, and with... More


Vanishing Lives

Style and Self in Tennyson, D. G. Rossetti, Swinburne, and Yeats


James Richardson

One of the characteristic features of Victorian poetry is dimness, a vanishing away-things blur with the motion of their passing, which seems inseparable from the mind's fading as it lets them go. Tennyson, Rossetti, Swinburne, and the young Yeats are elegists of the self; they render life as... More


The Mysteries of Paris and London



Richard Maxwell

In this ambitious and exciting work Richard Maxwell uses nineteenth century urban fiction- particularly the novels of Victor Hugo and Charles Dickens- to define a greater genre, the novel of urban mysteries. His title comes from the "mystery mania" that captured both sides of the channel.In The... More


The Antagonist Principle

John Henry Newman and the Paradox of Personality


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

Late Victorian Women Poets and the Bonds of Verse


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

Character and Commerce in Victorian Literature and Culture


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

The Victorian Poets and Shakespeare


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


Victorian Poets and the Politics of Culture

Discourse and Ideology


Antony H. Harrison

With the publication of his ambitious new work Victorian Poets and the Politics of Culture, Antony H. Harrison continues his exploration of poetry as a significant force in the construction of English culture from 1837–1900.In chapters focusing on Victorian medievalist discourse, Alfred Tennyson,... 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

The Victorian Practice of History from Gibbon to Churchill


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


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

Bourgeois Compassion, Social Action, and the Victorian Novel


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


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 earlier... More


Reading for the Law

British Literary History and Gender Advocacy


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

Journalism and the Practice of Literature in Mid-Victorian Britain


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

Love Letters of Michael Field, 1876–1909


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

A Critical Edition


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


Victorian Prism

Refractions of the Crystal Palace


Edited by James Buzard, Joseph W. Childers, and Eileen Gillooly

From the moment it opened on the first of May in the Crystal Palace in Hyde Park, London, the Great Exhibition of 1851 was one of the defining events of the Victorian period. It stood not only as a visible symbol of British industrial and technological progress but as a figure for modernity--a... More


Nostalgia in Transition, 1780-1917



Linda M. Austin

Referred to long ago as a "disease" of Swiss soldiers and Highland regiments far from home, nostalgia became known in the 1920s as more of a fleeting rather than debilitating condition. Yet what caused this shift in our collective understanding of the term? In Nostalgia in Transition, 1780-1917,... More


The English Cult of Literature

Devoted Readers, 1774–1880


William R. McKelvy

What constitutes reading? This is the question William McKelvy asks in The English Cult of Literature. Is it a theory of interpretation or a physical activity, a process determined by hermeneutic destiny or by paper, ink, hands, and eyes? McKelvy seeks to transform the nineteenth-century field of "... More


Artist of Wonderland

The Life, Political Cartoons, and Illustrations of Tenniel


Frankie Morris

Best known today as the illustrator for Lewis Carroll's Alice books, John Tenniel was the Victorian era's chief political cartoonist. This extensively illustrated book is the first to draw almost exclusively on primary sources in family collections, public archives, and other depositories. Frankie... More


The Material Interests of the Victorian Novel



Daniel Hack

Taking as his point of departure the competing uses of the critical term the materiality of writing, Daniel Hack turns to the past in this provocative new book to recover the ways in which the multiple aspects of writing now conjured by that term were represented and related to one another in the... More


Behind Her Times

Transition England in the Novels of Mary Arnold Ward


Judith Wilt

From 1890 to 1905, Mary Arnold Ward was the best-selling novelist in the English language. As the Edwardian age came to an end, however, she became a target of scorn for modernists such as Virginia Woolf, and today most of her books have fallen out of print. But in her novels we can vividly... More


Christina Rossetti

The Patience of Style


Constance W. Hassett

Although the cultural and literary influence of Christina Rossetti has recently been widely acknowledged, the belatedness of this critical attention has left wide gaps in our understanding of her poetic contribution. Often focusing solely on her early work and neglecting her later volumes, many... More


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