Cover

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Title page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. i-vi

Contents

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pp. vii-viii

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Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-x

Although we often hear that writing is a lonely occupation, in trying to thank everyone who helped bring this book to fruition, I realize that I, at least, almost never wrote alone. I have benefitted immeasurably from mentors and colleagues who have generously offered their time and advice. This project began as a dissertation at Columbia University, where I...

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Introduction: The Possibility of the Novel

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pp. 1-18

This book is about change: the way understandings of the world change; how new understandings affect material change, and vice versa; the effects such change has on subjectivity as a cultural function; and changes in the ways we might view early Victorian culture and the role of the novel in its formation. At the heart of this consideration of change is a theoretical position lying between a conception of language as completely constitutive on...

Part I. Trading Places: Novelistic Politics and a Political Novel

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1. Politics and Interpretive Discourse

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pp. 21-36

While Thomas Carlyle was in London in the autumn of 1831 searching for a publisher for Sartor Resartus, he wrote an article reviewing Thomas Hope's Essay on the Origin and Prospects of Man (1831) and Friedrich von Schlegel's Philosophische Vorlesungen, insbesondere über Philosophie der Sprache und des Wortes (1830), which in December of that year he published in the Edinburgh Review. In this review, "Characteristics," Carlyle is less concerned...

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2. Fiction into Fiction

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pp. 37-51

After four unsuccessful attempts in five years, Benjamin Disraeli finally won a seat in Parliament in 1837 and almost immediately gave his maiden speech. The results were nearly disastrous. One observer recalls Disraeli beginning with "florid assurance," but "speedily degenerating into ludicrous absurdity" and "being at last put down with inextinguishable shouts of laughter" (Greville 3:404). Rising directly after Daniel O'Connell had...

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3. The New Generation, the Political Subject, and the Culture of Change

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pp. 52-68

In the exchange of referents between political and novelistic discourse and in the formulation of politics as a hyperreality that is not so much a representation of truth as it is a simulation, we see one of the ways in which politics gets "novelized." Rather than privileging simulation, which "envelops the whole edifice of representation as itself a simulacrum" and which proceeds "from the Utopia of [the] principle of......

Part II. Observation, Representation, and The Report on the Sanitary Condition of the Labouring Population of Great Britain

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4. The Novel and the Utilitarian

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pp. 71-85

In Coningsby, the novel and the world it describes exchange affiliations with the referents of political discourse. For its readers, especially after Disraeli's politicized asides, Coningsby seems more tangible and more immediate, and its claims more persuasive than the world of politics that Disraeli portrays as fraught with unreal expectations and "factitious" representations of itself. In Disraeli's hands, the novel becomes a tool for reworking the...

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5. Mr. Chadwick Writes the Poor

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pp. 86-109

At one point in the Report, Chadwick quotes one of his informants, a Dr. J. F. Handley, to express the extremity of the filth many of the Victorian poor lived in:

When the small-pox was prevalent in this district, I attended a man, woman, and five children, all lying ill with the confluent species of that disorder, in one bed-room, and having only two beds amongst them. The walls of the cottage were black, the sheets were black, and the patients themselves were...

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6. Feminine Hygiene: Women in the Sanitary Condition Report

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pp. 110-122

Perhaps the most insistent narrative element of the Victorian novel is the marriage plot. Early Victorian novels, especially, achieve closure by having the appropriate characters pair off, read the banns, marry, and—the reader is apparently supposed to assume—live happily ever after. Even Coningsby, which as I pointed out in Part I almost ignores the marriage plot as a central narrative device, ultimately has its protagonist marry: the domestic...

Part III. Washed in the Blood of the Lamb: Religion, Radical Politics, and the Industrial Novel

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7. Religion, the Novel, and Speaking for/of the Other

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pp. 125-131

Edwin Chadwick's Report on the Sanitary Condition of the Labouring Population of Great Britain reveals to its primarily middle-class audience how far apart economically and socially the middle and lower classes had grown by the end of the 18308. The differences between the two classes were seemingly irreconcilable. Yet one of the most notable features of the Report is its impulse to smooth over those differences by having all acknowledge and...

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8. Alton Locke and the Religion of Chartism

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pp. 132-157

Charles Kingsley's Alton Locke is not a "typical" industrial novel.1 In it tailors' sweatshops are depicted with some attention to detail and accuracy, but the novel contains no unsettling descriptions of factories—inside or out. The novel's action takes place primarily in London, not in one of the great manufacturing towns of the north. Alton is not a factory operative like John Barton, or Helen Fleetwood, or Stephen Blackpool; he is apprenticed...

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9. Mary Barton and the Community of Suffering

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pp. 158-178

Those readers familiar with Friedrich Engels's The Condition of the Working Class in England as well as with Elizabeth Gaskell's Mary Barton may be immediately struck by a peculiar similarity in the opening pages of these two important social texts of the middle nineteenth century. Engels begins with a "Historical Introduction" in which he recalls the intellectual and moral state of workers in the years before the advent "of the steam engine...

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Epilogue

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pp. 179-182

In the epigraph to the first chapter of Daniel Deronda, George Eliot writes that we "can do nothing without the make believe of a beginning. Even Science, the strict measurer, is obliged to start with a make believe unit.... No retrospect will take us to the true beginning." Her story sets out, she says, with "but a fraction of that all presupposing fact" (35). So it is too with endings. Even when something is at an end, in many ways its conclusion...

Notes

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pp. 183-200

Bibliography

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pp. 201-214

Index

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pp. 215-221