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Bleak Houses

Marital Violence in Victorian Fiction

Lisa Surridge

“Professor Surridge exhibits a clear and persuasive historical sense as well as sensitivity to the novels and stories. I believe this study will have lasting value because of its careful historical research and corresponding interpretation of the texts,” says Naomi Wood, Kansas State University The Offenses Against the Person Act of 1828 was a piece of legislation that opened magistrates' courts to abused working-class wives. Newspapers in turn reported on these proceedings and in this way the Victorian scrutiny of domestic conduct began. But how did popular fiction treat the phenomenon of “private” family violence? Bleak Houses: Marital Violence in Victorian Fiction traces novelists' engagement with the wife-assault debates in the public press between 1828 and the turn of the century. Lisa Surridge examines the early works of Charles Dickens, Dombey and Son and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, in the context of the intense debates on wife assault and manliness in the late 1840s and early 1850s. George Eliot's Janet's Repentance is read in light of the parliamentary debates on the 1857 Divorce Act. Marital cruelty trials provide the structure for both John Sutherland's The Woman in White and Anthony Trollope's He Knew He Was Right. Locating the New Woman fiction of Mona Caird and the reassuring detective investigations of Sherlock Holmes in the context of late-Victorian feminism and the great marriage debate in the Daily Telegraph, Surridge illustrates how fin-de-siècle fiction brought male sexual violence and the viability of marriage itself under public scrutiny. Bleak Houses thus demonstrates how Victorian fiction was actively engaged with the wife-assault debates of the nineteenth century, debates which both constructed and invaded the privacy of the middle-class home. ABOUT THE AUTHOR---Lisa Surridge is associate professor of English at the University of Victoria, Canada. She is co-editor of Mary Elizabeth Braddon's Aurora Floyd and has published on Victorian fiction in many journals including Victorian Literature and Culture, Women's Writing, Dickens Studies Annual, Victorian Newsletter, and Victorians Institute Journal.   

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Blind Impressions

Methods and Mythologies in Book History

By Joseph A. Dane

What is a book in the study of print culture? For the scholar of material texts, it is not only a singular copy carrying the unique traces of printing and preservation efforts, or an edition, repeated and repeatable, or a vehicle for ideas to be abstracted from the physical copy. But when the bibliographer situates a book copy within the methods of book history, Joseph A. Dane contends, it is the known set of assumptions which govern the discipline that bibliographic arguments privilege, repeat, or challenge. "Book history," he writes, "is us."

In Blind Impressions, Dane reexamines the field of material book history by questioning its most basic assumptions and definitions. How is print defined? What are the limits of printing history? What constitutes evidence? His concluding section takes form as a series of short studies in theme and variation, considering such matters as two-color printing, the composing stick used by hand-press printers, the bibliographical status of book fragments, and the function of scholarly illustration in the Digital Age. Meticulously detailed, deeply learned, and often contrarian, Blind Impressions is a bracing critique of the way scholars define and solve problems.

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Bloomsday 100

Essays on Ulysses

Edited by Morris Beja and Anne Fogarty

June 16, 2004, was the one hundredth anniversary of Bloomsday, the day that James Joyce's novel Ulysses takes place. To celebrate the occasion, thousands took to the streets in Dublin, following in the footsteps of protagonist Leopold Bloom. The event also was marked by the Bloomsday 100 Symposium, where world-renowned scholars discussed Joyce's seminal work. This volume contains the best, most provocative readings of Ulysses presented at the conference.

The contributors to this volume urge a close engagement with the novel. They offer readings that focus variously on the materialist, historical, and political dimensions of Ulysses. The diversity of topics covered include nineteenth-century psychology, military history, Catholic theology, the influence of early film and music hall songs on Joyce, the post-Ulysses evolution of the one-day novel, and the challenge of discussing such a complex work amongst the sea of extant criticism.

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The Body Economic

Life, Death, and Sensation in Political Economy and the Victorian Novel

Catherine Gallagher

The Body Economic revises the intellectual history of nineteenth-century Britain by demonstrating that political economists and the writers who often presented themselves as their literary antagonists actually held most of their basic social assumptions in common. Catherine Gallagher demonstrates that political economists and their Romantic and early-Victorian critics jointly relocated the idea of value from the realm of transcendent spirituality to that of organic "life," making human sensations--especially pleasure and pain--the sources and signs of that value. Classical political economy, this book shows, was not a mechanical ideology but a form of nineteenth-century organicism, which put the body and its feelings at the center of its theories, and neoclassical economics built itself even more self-consciously on physiological premises.

The Body Economic explains how these shared views of life, death, and sensation helped shape and were modified by the two most important Victorian novelists: Charles Dickens and George Eliot. It reveals how political economists interacted crucially with the life sciences of the nineteenth century--especially with psychophysiology and anthropology--producing the intellectual world that nurtured not only George Eliot's realism but also turn-of-the-century literary modernism.

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Bombay Anna

The Real Story and Remarkable Adventures of the <i>King and I</i> Governess

Susan Morgan

If you thought you knew the story of Anna in The King and I, think again. As this riveting biography shows, the real life of Anna Leonowens was far more fascinating than the beloved story of the Victorian governess who went to work for the King of Siam. To write this definitive account, Susan Morgan traveled around the globe and discovered new information that has eluded researchers for years. Anna was born a poor, mixed-race army brat in India, and what followed is an extraordinary nineteenth-century story of savvy self-invention, wild adventure, and far-reaching influence. At a time when most women stayed at home, Anna Leonowens traveled all over the world, witnessed some of the most fascinating events of the Age of Empire, and became a well-known travel writer, journalist, teacher, and lecturer. She remains the one and only foreigner to have spent significant time inside the royal harem of Siam. She emigrated to the United States, crossed all of Russia on her own just before the revolution, and moved to Canada, where she publicly defended the rights of women and the working class. The book also gives an engrossing account of how and why Anna became an icon of American culture in The King and I and its many adaptations.

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The Book of Kyng Arthur

The Unity of Malory's Morte Darthur

Charles Moorman

Beginning with a consideration of Malory's ingenious chronology, this study shows that Malory achieved thematic and structural unity by selecting from the great mass of Arthurian legend three narrative strands -- the intrigues of Lancelot and Guinevere, the Grail quest, and the feud between the houses of Lot and Pellinore -- using these to illustrate a single theme -- the rise, flowering, and downfall of an ideal civilization. This selection and use of diverse materials, Charles Moorman asserts, indicates clearly that Malory set to work with a preconceived plan and that he did achieve his purpose, to write the "haole book of Kyng Arthur."

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Books and Readers in Early Modern England

Material Studies

Edited by Jennifer Andersen and Elizabeth Sauer. Afterword by Stephen Orgel

Books and Readers in Early Modern England examines readers, reading, and publication practices from the Renaissance to the Restoration. The essays draw on an array of documentary evidence—from library catalogs, prefaces, title pages and dedications, marginalia, commonplace books, and letters to ink, paper, and bindings—to explore individual reading habits and experiences in a period of religious dissent, political instability, and cultural transformation.

Chapters in the volume cover oral, scribal, and print cultures, examining the emergence of the "public spheres" of reading practices. Contributors, who include Christopher Grose, Ann Hughes, David Scott Kastan, Kathleen Lynch, William Sherman, and Peter Stallybrass, investigate interactions among publishers, texts, authors, and audience. They discuss the continuity of the written word and habits of mind in the world of print, the formation and differentiation of readerships, and the increasing influence of public opinion. The work demonstrates that early modern publications appeared in a wide variety of forms—from periodical literature to polemical pamphlets—and reflected the radical transformations occurring at the time in the dissemination of knowledge through the written word. These forms were far more ephemeral, and far more widely available, than modern stereotypes of writing from this period suggest.

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The Books at the Wake

A Study of Literary Allusions in James Joyce's Finnegans Wake

by James S. Atherton

In Finnegans Wake, Joyce uses world lit­erature as one of the most important and frequent of his sources. Setting out to ex­plore these literary allusions, Atherton sheds a great deal of light upon other as­pects of Joyce’s work.

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Books talk to one another

Colum McCanns intertexts

by Bertrand Cardin

The intertext is the effective presence of a text in another one. This relation of co-presence between texts is the subject of the present essay. Colum McCann’s work is studied here as a mosaic of references to and quotations from other texts.In its dialogue with other texts, it absorbs and transforms them, and lets itself transformed by them. The multiple and complex relations that exist between them are approached in both synchronic and diachronic terms. Various modes of intertextuality – influence, intentionality, authority – are analyzed here and applied to McCann’s complete work. His novels and short stories denote a transposition of texts taken from the Bible or Irish mythology, but also Anglo-Saxon novels, plays or poems. Through McCann’s work, the present study highlights the articulation and interdependence of literary texts.

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