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This essay theorizes the productive potential of the Victorian serial as a form that fosters literary wandering. Anchoring the analysis in John Ruskin’s recuperative reading of Gothic irregularity, the essay argues that the open-endedness of the Victorian serial creates the conditions for productive nonlinear wandering by both writers and readers. Despite a surface rigidity in publication format that might prompt us to set the serial novel against the irregular Gothic, these texts produce surprisingly similar reading effects. Underneath the façade of regularity, the Victorian serial—even the comic Pickwick Papers or nostalgic Cranford—has a wandering, Gothic heart.