The Dream Life of Citizens:Late Victorian Novels and the Fantasy of the State
Late Victorian Novels and the Fantasy of the State
Publication Year: 2012
Published by: Fordham University Press
Title Page, Copyright
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I have many people and institutions to thank for their support, inspiration, and generosity during the process of writing this book. First, my thanks go to Lauren Berlant, Elaine Hadley, and Elizabeth Helsinger for their advice and mentorship...
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It has become commonplace to think of the nation in terms of fantasy, but what about its less glamorous, less sentimentally charged other: the state? Following Benedict Anderson, literary and cultural scholars have written extensively about the affective obligations of the nation form and the role that fantasy plays in citizenship...
1. An Imperial Origin Story
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Olive Schreiner’s The Story of an African Farm (1883) stages the origins of late Victorian state fantasy in the precarious and tenuous zone of empire. Set in South Africa from the 1860s to the 1880s, the novel dramatizes the grand historical shifts and events that profoundly shaped the last decades of the century. These...
2 ‘‘Rather a Geographical Expression Than a Country’’
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In the previous chapter, I argued that Schreiner’s The Story of an African Farm charted the psychic vicissitudes undergone by colonial subjects as the logic of biopower began to overtake that of sovereignty. In this chapter, I reverse the direction of my...
3 The Rise of the State as a Sympathetic Liberal Subjectin Hardy’s The Woodlanders
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The British did not fantasize only about Scots and Afghans, of course. The middle classes, to be more specific, entertained a robust set of fantasies about the rural working classes within Britain. As scholars of regional literature and of modern European...
4 The Space of OptimismState Fantasy and the Case of Gissing’s The Odd Women
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I now turn to a novel that is mainly set in the gridded center of the nation, London. The Odd Women (1893) may not seem like the most obvious of George Gissing’s novels to select for an investigation of late Victorian state power. Literary critics have tended to mine this exemplary New Woman novel for its sociological treatments...
5 Hysterical Citizenship in Grand’sThe Heavenly Twins
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With their independent views about marriage, Lyndall, Grace, and Rhoda typify the New Woman, that late Victorian social and sexual icon. While they suffer excruciating disappointments and, in the case of Lyndall, even death, their narrators nevertheless...
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Page Count: 195
Publication Year: 2012