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ELT 48 : 4 2005 grouped thematically. The editors' introduction might have explained their organizational logic and provided a framework for their collection. Alas, their unfocused foreword begins with this less than inspired sentence : "A dynamic period of social, economic and political transition; [sic] the nineteenth century saw a change not only in the scope and perception of crime, but also in its representation" (1). The rest of the introduction is all of a piece. This collection's breadth is both one of its strengths and one of its shortcomings. While I am reluctant to blame a book for its inclusiveness (particularly in this age of hyper-specialization), the range of subjects on offer here is sometimes more overwhelming than welcome. The editors' objective, "to chart the development of crime writing as a genre and the growing dialogue between fact and fiction throughout Victoria's reign" (1), is an admirable one. However, it doesn't explain the inclusion of "madness" in the book's tripartite title. To be sure, there are good essays that deal specifically with this topic (those by Dafydd Moore and Maria K. Bachman) but, for reasons that escape me, they are placed sixty pages apart. The heart of this collection lies in its excellent treatment of gender . It is in this area that the book makes its most cogent and powerful case for itself. With almost half the essays devoted to some aspect of gender , Victorian Crime, Madness and Sensation makes a marvelous and important contribution to the field. Had the editors had more method than "madness," they would have included the word "gender" in the title instead. MICHÈLE MENDELSSOHN ________________ University of Edinburgh The Politics of 19th-century Fiction Lauren M. E. Goodlad. Victorian Literature and the Victorian State: Character and Governance in a Liberal Society. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2003. xv + 298 pp. $45.00 WITH ITS THEMATIC richness, seriousness of purpose, and detailed attention to the minutiae of social life, Victorian fiction has often seemed to present itself as the ideal candidate for the current fashion in literary studies for interdisciplinarity, a term which in practice tends to mean mapping out the ways in which certain topoi (for example, "pain," "risk," or "passion," to name the subjects of three recent monographs) are figured by a range of different discourses, including literary fiction. At their best, such studies reawaken modern readers to the social significance of literary representation, and to its formative role in key areas of 468 Book reviews nineteenth-century intellectual and political debate. At their weakest, they can be frustratingly vague about the precise nature of the relationship between the literary and nonliterary. Alleged similarities of vocabulary , concepts and argument among very different sorts of works are too often based on partial, de-contextualized readings, in which complex questions about textual identity, authority and status are ignored or elided, and as a result wholly implausible claims made for the cultural value of what were, for most contemporary readers, simply stories, designed (and consumed) primarily as entertainment. Happily, Lauren M. E. Goodlad's Victorian Literature and the Victorian State falls firmly in the first of these categories: her impressively concise summation of a wide range of scholarship on nineteenth-century social and political theory , coupled with a subtle literary critical sensibility and confident engagement with Foucauldian conceptualizations of power, have produced a sophisticated and informative study which succeeds in repoliticizing selected works of Victorian fiction but without ever collapsing questions about literariness into those of mere ideology. The starting point of Goodlad's study—which she rightly acknowledges to be "a common-place of many social histories"—concerns the "difference" of British polity: compared with Continental (and especially French) practice, the mid-Victorian state was "smaller, less intrusive, and more reliant on local and voluntary supports," although still highly successful "in maintaining social stability at home, and exploiting colonial interests abroad." It was a recognition of precisely these sorts of features which lay behind social historians' critiques of Foucault's appropriation (in Discipline and Punish) of Bentham's Panopticon as a generalized model of nineteenth-century power relations: as Goodlad points out in her opening chapter, Victorian Britain simply had not...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1559-2715
Print ISSN
0013-8339
Pages
pp. 468-472
Launched on MUSE
2010-05-21
Open Access
No
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