Recent Studies in the Nineteenth Century
An assessment of recent scholarly work treating the literature of the nineteenth century and some general observations on the state of the profession. A full bibliography and price list of works received by SEL for consideration follow.
On the face of it, the biggest challenge facing the reviewer of a year's worth of work in nineteenth-century studies is simply reading it all; for me, however, the hardest part has been deciding what to cut once I had drafted the review. Ours is a prolific field—two fields in fact—and the books I read speak to the remarkably wide range of interests that animate its practitioners. In the first fresh days of this undertaking I determined that I would make this review both detailed and exhaustive in order to capture this range; in the end I realized the essay I had written was almost two times too long. This redacted version still aims to track trends while providing readers some sense of the content of most of the works I received, but it can hardly be said to do justice to the diversity and intelligence of the year's books.
Those books tackle familiar topics in literary studies—topics such as politics and history, colonialism, gender relations, and science. Each of these subjects is, however, inflected in a particular way in this year's books: politics and history are examined in relation to literary forms and genres; monographs on empire focus on settler literature; gender studies highlight the affordances of community; and works on science emphasize the wide range of activity nineteenth-century readers considered scientific. Several books challenge secularization narratives and insist on the significance of faith for nineteenth-century writers. Works in ecocriticism and animal studies, meanwhile, seek to consolidate their [End Page 981] place in nineteenth-century—and especially Victorian—studies. A number of books treat problems of knowledge and the obliquities of language; they are, as it were, the current version of what used to be called theory. I found these books particularly compelling for the way they combined conceptual innovation with historical awareness and sensitive close reading.
It was notable that with the exception of those on Jane Austen, there were relatively few single-author manuscripts—there would seem to be a trend toward topically oriented studies that treat multiple writers. These studies, moreover, often span traditional generic, historic, and even geographic divisions, discussing Romantics with Victorians, poems with novels and nonfiction, Australian writers with Caribbean and Canadian ones. It seems to me likely that the relative paucity of monographs on single canonical authors speaks less to diminished interest in them (canonical writers are well represented in the topical studies I mention above) than to concern regarding their marketability and their capacity to serve as stand-alone repositories of cultural value. Indeed, the most striking feature of the books I received was how many of them explore the topic of reception, and I could not but wonder if that trend speaks to our collective anxieties regarding the audiences for our own work and even for literature itself. These studies take up everything from authorial salesmanship to literary revivals, literary fandom, and neo-Victorianism. As Tom Mole remarks in What the Victorians Made of Romanticism: Material Artifacts, Cultural Practices, and Reception History, we, like the Victorians, "find ourselves living through a moment of media change" (p. 5), a moment in which the literature of the past demands to be "naturalized in a new media ecology" (p. 2). The preponderance of this year's books explore the media ecologies, old and new, in which literature is produced and reproduced.
I have grouped the books I discuss under the following heads: reception and revival, Austen studies, memory and history, epistemology, faith, science and medicine, politics, gender, global and spatial relations, ecocriticism and animal studies, and genre studies. These are followed by single-author studies that did not fit the above rubrics, and I close with literary companions and a few of the new editions of primary works.
I. RECEPTION AND REVIVAL
I'll begin, then, with works that examine the efforts of nineteenth-century authors to respond productively to their audiences. [End Page 982] In Walter Scott and Fame: Authors and Readers in the Romantic Age, Robert Mayer argues that Scott promulgates a model of authorship as a species of collaboration with readers—and thus provides a very different vantage on the birth of celebrity culture than Byron studies have given us. Scott's correspondents came from across the social spectrum, and Mayer treats them in relation to four loose groupings: intimates, colleagues, clients, and fans. If the familiar canonical model of the Romantic writer is of the aloof genius, unconcerned with fame, Scott is notable because "his sympathetic response to so many different styles of approach by his correspondents, should be seen as the moment when the history of fame begins to become the history of celebrity" (p. 19). Mai-Lin Cheng's British Romanticism and the Literature of Human Interest explores the Romantic preoccupation with the category of "human interest." The "human interest story" so familiar to modern consumers of news has, Cheng argues, a prehistory: Romantic writers were keen to determine both how to interest their readers and to distinguish between ethical and unethical varieties of such interest. Cheng argues that Romantics engaged these issues formally, and she examines metatextual discussions of human interest as they appear in the paratexts of Romantic writing.
Jim Cheshire's Tennyson and Mid-Victorian Publishing: Moxon, Poetry, Commerce is one of two studies that focus on the involvement of publishers in the author-reader relationship. Cheshire argues that the emergence of a mass readership, new technologies in book production, and changes in copyright all worked to make publishers crucial mediators between poets and their public. If, as a publisher of Romantic poetry, Edward Moxon relied on patronage and personal connections, by the 1840s he marketed to a middle-class audience by producing moderately priced books and resisting subsequent discounting. Successful as this formula was during the '40s, the rise of the illustrated gift book in the 1850s would lead to a redefinition of poetic fame in visual terms, a change accelerated by the distribution of photographic images of Alfred Tennyson. At the same time, the erosion of copyright control due to the rise of international publishing meant that Tennyson's fame could no longer be managed by either poet or publisher. Ian Hesketh's Victorian Jesus: J. R. Seeley, Religion, and the Cultural Significance of Anonymity is simultaneously a study of Victorian religious debate and a case study in the role of the author and publisher in the Victorian book trade. It focuses on a single book, Seeley's Ecce Homo, which presented Jesus as a historical figure [End Page 983] and thus partook of a general trend in Anglican debate to focus on Jesus' human qualities. But the book was a publishing sensation, and Hesketh claims that this was due largely to the anonymity of its author. Indeed, Hesketh argues that the book's success—and the rapid waning of interest in it once Seeley's authorship became an open secret—was owing to the stage management of Seeley's anonymity by his publisher, Macmillan.
In Pirating Fictions: Ownership and Creativity in Nineteenth-Century Popular Culture, Monica F. Cohen explores the ambiguities of intellectual property and authorial control through the figure of the pirate. In the nineteenth century, as maritime crime dwindled in practical importance, representations of pirates became ubiquitous, and were used by writers to ruminate on issues of creativity and collaboration; the figure of the pirate was "a vehicle of profound tension between an emergent ideal of intellectual property and a literary culture whose emphatically collective, derivative, citational character tends to confound claims of individual originality and ownership" (pp. 2–3). After providing historical background with a discussion of Daniel Defoe's Captain Singleton, Cohen considers works by Byron, Scott, and James Fenimore Cooper, underscoring the stagey quality of their pirates and their provenance in the illegitimate theaters. Moving then to Charles Dickens, Wilkie Collins, and W. S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan, she shows that even when writers set out to use the figure of the pirate to condemn textual piracy the gambit tended to fail because the pirate's stage history made him a sympathetic figure of collaborative creativity. Indeed, later "pirate fictions" such as Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island and J. M. Barrie's Peter Pan would openly insist on the virtues of collaborative production.
Two works on late Romanticism address the power of anxieties regarding literary fame to shape the writing of an entire generation. The Form of Poetry in the 1820s and 1830s: A Period of Doubt, by David Stewart, opens with the recognition that this no man's land between the Romantic and Victorian eras has often been regarded as a critical embarrassment, a period in which feminization and commercialization worked hand in hand to debase poetry. Rather than deny this characterization, Stewart compellingly transvalues it: he argues that poets of the period themselves worried about the contemporary status of poetry, but that their uncertainties prompted formal experimentation and a rethinking of the place of poetry in the larger culture. If we have trouble knowing how to read these poets, it is in part because they themselves were unsure of their significance in their own moment and to posterity. [End Page 984] The increasing popularity of poetry anthologies was a reminder of the uncertain relation of contemporary success to future fame, and Stewart describes the contemporary obsession with a new category, that of the "living poets" (p. 31). Stewart provides a richly textured description of the age, opening with an account of the popularity of annuals and anxieties regarding the relation of poetic form to book form. In the latter part of the book Stewart examines ways doubt pervades even the subject matter of the poetry of the period, providing fascinating readings of individual poems. Thus Felicia Hemans and Thomas Lovell Beddoes reveal a fascination with death and dissolution that speaks to concerns regarding the longevity of poetry itself, while the poetry of Winthrop Mackworth Praed, Thomas Hood, John Hamilton Reynolds, and Leigh Hunt lingers in a playful but airless present, using puns to enshrine undecidability and produce a kind of temporal suspension. Finally, Stewart argues that Hartley Coleridge and John Clare focus on subjects whose ephemerality seems to anticipate that of the poems they inhabit. In Romantic Childhood, Romantic Heirs: Reproduction and Retrospection, 1820–1850, Beatrice Turner provides a different (but not contradictory) account of "the nebulously defined period … between about 1820 and 1850" (p. 3). Turner, like Stewart, regards this nebulous quality as symptomatic; unlike Stewart, she understands it as reflecting a problem of inheritance and reproduction. Focusing on the writings of four "heirs" to Romanticism—Hartley and Sara Coleridge, Mary Shelley, and William Godwin Jr.—Turner shows that all four children "follow a trajectory from being written, to rewriting the parent author, and then to rewriting the topos of childhood into which they were written" (p. 7). Turner begins with a discussion of Enlightenment and Romantic models of childhood, then shows how Hartley Coleridge presented his own work as infertile and incomplete, thereby implicitly pronouncing judgment on his father as a father and writer. Sara, on the other hand, found herself left out of the family's idealizing paradigm of childhood and ultimately wrote a novel in which innocent childhood is predicated on maternal suffering. The Godwin children, meanwhile, challenged their father's vision of education: Mary Shelley used her novels to stage conflicts between nature and nurture while William Godwin Jr. wrote works that insist on the primacy of nature in the development of the child.
Three studies examine the ways artists shaped their work in response to the prestige or notoriety of their immediate predecessors. Deborah Weiss, in The Female Philosopher and Her Afterlives: [End Page 985] Mary Wollstonecraft, the British Novel, and the Transformations of Feminism, 1796–1811, shows that Mary Hays, Amelia Opie, Maria Edgeworth, and Austen use the figure of the female philosopher, a figure modeled on Wollstonecraft, to respond in precisely calibrated ways to her legacy and ideas. Too often, Weiss claims, Romantic-era feminist thinkers have been understood as either rejecting the Wollstonecraftian example or as supporting her ideas only surreptitiously. Weiss argues that these novelists made use of the figure of the female philosopher in nonparodic ways, using the novel form to investigate the possible outcomes of Wollstonecraftian thinking for individual women. Essentially, these authors devised more pragmatic versions of feminism, salvaging what they could of Wollstonecraftian thought in an increasingly reactionary political environment. Jean-Jacques Rousseau and British Romanticism: Gender and Selfhood, Politics and Nation, edited by Russell Goulbourne and David Higgins, explores Rousseau's pervasive influence on Romantic culture, an influence that touches everything from fictional technique to theories of gender, education, and drama. Contributors examine a wide range of responses to Rousseau—from Anna Laetitia Barbauld's children's writings to Welsh landscape gardening to William Wordsworth's association of mountain climbing with political transformation. In The Lyric Poem and Aestheticism: Forms of Modernity, Marion Thain sets out to demonstrate the peculiar modernity of late Victorian poetry, poetry that she argues is often dismissed as merely archaizing in its forms and nostalgically Romantic in its emotional tenor. The modernity of this poetry inheres, for Thain, less in its use of the tropes of modernity than in its self-reflexive rumination on the place of lyric in the modern world. The poems of Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Arthur Symons, Alice Meynell, Thomas Hardy, and Algernon Charles Swinburne, Thain argues, are not simply nostalgic but actively engage the question of the contemporary relevance of lyric through their revival of traditional poetic forms.
The Call of Classical Literature in the Romantic Age brings together essays that treat the importance of classicism in early nineteenth-century culture. In their introduction, K. P. Van Anglen and James Engell argue that the traditional opposition of Romanticism and classicism continues to blind readers to the significance of classical culture to Romantic poets who, while they resisted the tenets of neoclassicism, did engage with the major texts and ideas of classicism. Individual essays take up such topics as Romantic reconceptions of classical topoi (as in the invocation of a muse to signal a power vacuum that could then be inhabited by the poet, [End Page 986] or the adaptation of the Virgilian account of the poet's development to suit a changed generic landscape) and the conjuring of classical writers to lend authority to novel aesthetic theories. In a final essay, Engell discusses the influence of what Romantics would have considered another important classical language: Hebrew. Oscar Wilde and Classical Antiquity, edited by Kathleen Riley, Alastair J. L. Blanshard, and Iarla Manny, also explores the ongoing influence of the classics. As Riley notes in her introduction, Wilde drew upon classical ideas not only in his writings but also in the crafting and marketing of his persona. Individual essays explore Wilde's classical education, the shaping influence of his experience as a spectator of classical drama, the impact of his classical training on his philosophy and fiction, and the significance of Roman antiquity in his writings.
The most striking of the works on classical revival, Yopie Prins's Ladies' Greek: Victorian Translations of Tragedy, tells the story of Victorian women's engagement with ancient Greek and the implications of that engagement not only for women's writing and women's education but also for the survival of Greek theater in Victorian and modern culture. Grounded in extensive and scrupulous archival work, the argument of the book is shaped at every point by Prins's extraordinary sensitivity to language. Ladies' Greek is about Victorian women's passion for Greek letters, and that passion animates not just the texts Prins studies but also her treatment of them. For Victorian women, learning, translating, and performing ancient Greek offered a complicated amalgam of challenges and rewards. Prins tracks these complications as they inform women's translations of a set of key tragedies. If "lady's Greek" is at first, in Elizabeth Barrett Browning's words, a Greek "without the accents" and written "upon the margin," it becomes over the course of the century "ladies' Greek," internalized, mastered, and finally institutionalized by means of women's work of translation and performance. Chapters 2 through 5 each treat a single play, revealing its particular significance for women writers, translators, and students. Thus Aeschylus's Prometheus Bound, in the hands of women translators, becomes an opportunity to reflect on authority and submission in the act of translation itself, the bondage of Prometheus providing a language for thinking through the translator's connection to her text. Even as the act of translation empowered women, given the association of Greek with moneyed and masculine privilege, women used the language of bondage to think through the ways that act was a performance of subjection as well as mastery. Fittingly, the figure of Io receives [End Page 987] particular attention from these translators, who identify with her marginality and suffering. Prins goes on to show how students at Girton and Smith used the performance of Electra to define the literary and classical character of their colleges. Even as the filial devotion of Electra spoke to conservative Victorian ideals, the chorus of women, all speaking ancient Greek, put the ambitions and high standards of female university education on direct display. Here again, however, Prins points us to the complexities of this project, noting that Electra's melancholic mourning served as an ambivalent figure for attachment to a dead language. At the end of the century Euripides's Hippolytus would serve as a figure for homoerotic aestheticism and inspire H. D. to imagine a version of free verse that was at once modern, personal, and classical. In a final chapter devoted to the Euripidean maenad, Prins shows how women of the early twentieth century identified with maenads in poetry and prose, visual arts, dance, and scholarship. The maenad was presented as a figure for motion itself, "enacting the increasing mobility of 'the new woman' in the early twentieth century" (p. 202).
Sarah Wootton's Byronic Heroes in Nineteenth-Century Women's Writing and Screen Adaptation is one of many books that trace the afterlives of nineteenth-century characters, themes, and authors. Wootton's focus is the afterlife of the Byronic hero in novels by Victorian women writers and the afterlife of those works, in turn, in television and film. Wootton deliberately treats writers not typically regarded as preoccupied with Byron: Austen, Elizabeth Gaskell, and George Eliot. All three, she argues, are engaged in a "'double' discourse about Byron" (p. 11), admiring the poetry but condemning the public profile of the man. Wootton acknowledges that the Byronic hero is not a fixed type, but argues that it is this unfixed quality, especially in relation to sexuality, that makes the figure compelling to women writers negotiating the boundaries of acceptable social behavior. In their introduction to Charlotte Brontë: Legacies and Afterlives, Amber K. Regis and Deborah Wynne discuss portraits of Brontë in order to foreground the continuing fascination not just with her works but also with her life. The fact that that fascination has had relatively little evidence with which to sustain itself has by no means discouraged it, and the first essays focus on Brontë's Victorian reception and the impact of Gaskell's biography on the development of a Charlotte "cult," with its reliance on a necromantic logic and its attendant literary tourism. The latter part of the book attends to the Brontë corpus outside of Jane Eyre, the adaptation of Brontë's life and [End Page 988] work in a range of media, and the way neo-Victorian fiction has drawn upon her characters and themes.
Neo-Victorianism is the subject of several studies. Neo-Victorian Villains: Adaptations and Transformations in Popular Culture, edited by Benjamin Poore, examines archetypes of Victorian villainy in the twenty-first century. In an introductory chapter Poore speaks of a "villain-effect," a way of presenting a villain so as to maintain the mystery that surrounds him or her (p. 1). Poore argues that this effect has a historical precedent in the unresolved identity of Jack the Ripper and finds a congenial home in modern serializations. Subsequent essays discuss both explicit reuses of Victorian villains—as in the television serial Ripper Street—and contemporary works that draw upon Victorian archetypes, as in superhero movies that implicitly hark back to Stevenson's iconic Mr. Hyde. Neo-Victorian Humour: Comic Subversions and Unlaughter in Contemporary Historical Re-Visions, edited by Marie-Luise Kohlke and Christian Gutleben, treats "post-modernity's love-hate relationship with the nineteenth century" (p. 1), paying particular attention to the way humor in neo-Victorian fiction, drama, and film signals that duality—the combination of homage and irreverence embodied in such works as Seth Grahame-Smith's Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. The volume's essays treat neo-Victorian metanarrative, irony, camp, and black humor, speaking along the way to issues such as gender, sexuality, and conceptions of health. Sherlock Holmes in Context, its title notwithstanding, concerns itself not with the historical context of Arthur Conan Doyle's creation of the character but with his enduring cultural afterlife. Several of the essays in this collection, edited by Sam Naidu, treat the revision of the figure in the BBC's Sherlock series, and many of the essays discuss the mechanics, aesthetics, and politics of adaptation.
In an impressively wide-ranging work of material and literary history, Mole discusses the dynamics and implications of cultural reproduction and adaptation within the nineteenth century. Mole argues that Victorians perceived a generation gap between themselves and the Romantics, and that they sought to overcome it by making Romantic poetry newly relevant. What the Victorians Made of Romanticism is a study of what Victorians made of Romanticism rather than what they wrote about it. As Mole puts it, "the dark web of reception [is] made up of many strands" (p. 2), and his aim is to follow those strands as they extend from the writing of Byron, Hemans, Scott, Percy Bysshe Shelley, and Wordsworth. Mole focuses first on the incorporation of illustrations [End Page 989] in reprints of Romantic poetry, illustrations that marketed Romanticism by updating it—presenting characters in Victorian dress, for example—or by suggesting its cultural significance by presenting writers in neoclassically styled portraits. Indeed, Mole argues that it was common for a frontispiece image to signify canonicity while the facing title-page image generated a feeling of intimacy with the author. Similarly, Mole tracks the impulse to produce new pantheons of British writers, revealing the extent to which the incorporation of writers such as Byron and Scott into such pantheons required that they be depoliticized and dehistoricized. The transmutation of these writers into figures of consensus, ironically enough, was achieved by commemorating them extralinguistically—as statues without detailed inscriptions. Texts, too, were creatively revised for reuse: the poetry of Shelley and Byron was repurposed as material for sermons and contemporary anthologies favored short poems and reproduced only selected extracts from longer ones. Built on an enormous archive, Mole's capacious book encompasses the ideas of many of this year's books.
Casie LeGette's Remaking Romanticism: The Radical Politics of the Excerpt is similarly concerned with the strategic reuse of Romanticism, although she focuses not on its capacity to define a national culture of consensus but on its politically radical affordances. Radical periodicals traded on the reputation of writers like Wordsworth and Robert Southey even as they ignored the conservatism of the poets' later years; indeed, the present tense of the Romantic lyric allowed for its smooth repurposing in the later moment of Chartist agitation. Radical uses of the excerpt were strategic: thus a speech by a character in Southey's Wat Tyler is cited as if spoken by Southey himself. LeGette makes the important point that such acts of selection, excision, and recontextualization not only transformed the works of particular writers, but also transformed the meaning of the Romantic lyric itself: the lyric trope of the solitary speaker, for example, was put to new use by writers such as Chartist poet William Aitkin, imprisoned for sedition. Aitkin reconceived the solitariness of the poet in the context of a longing for community, which the circulation and periodical publication of such poems helped to solidify. The power of literature to galvanize an audience politically is also explored in Ireland, Reading, and Cultural Nationalism, 1790–1930: Bringing the Nation to Book, which tracks the intertwined fates of literacy and national self-definition in Ireland. Andrew Murphy's thesis is that Ireland has repeatedly faced political crises "rooted [End Page 990] specifically in textuality" (p. 15). In the 1790s, government authorities worried that the ballads produced by radical nationalists for dissemination in a hybrid oral/literate mass culture would foment unrest. After 1831, the British government formalized its involvement in Irish education, and literacy rates rose but school-books inculcated British imperial ideals. Now Irish nationalists worried that reading habits were undermining Irish identity and Catholic morals, and Murphy traces the varied responses to this concern: while W. B. Yeats endeavored to define a distinctive Irish culture through poetry, D. P. Moran would insist upon the centrality of the Irish language and Catholic faith to any such project. Finally, the Catholic Truth Society of Ireland sought to control English influence by means of censorship. Thus the nationalist effort at textual dissemination of the 1790s would ultimately find its—reversed—mirror image in the nationalist censorship of the twentieth century.
Two books focus on specific modes of literary preservation. Catherine Robson's Heart Beats: Everyday Life and the Memorized Poem is a study of the personal and cultural effects of the practice of poetry recitation. Robson provides a thorough history of recitation in English and American education, followed by three judiciously chosen case studies, around which she weaves a fascinating story of the role of orality in Victorian culture. The first, "Casabianca," speaks to the circumstances of recitation. The boy who is required to give a public recitation of Hemans's poem recapitulates the poem's hero, the young sailor who stands bravely on the burning deck, waiting for his father to dismiss him from his duty. Robson uses this poem to foreground the physical relationship to poetry that was part of the Victorian experience of the genre. As Robson points out, the phrase knowing a poem "by heart" suggests not just a special intimacy with a poem but also an awareness of the relationship between the rhythms of the body and the rhythms of verse (p. 77). For the Victorian schoolchild, that physicality was heightened by the knowledge that failure would bring corporal punishment. Robson suggests that the decline in the popularity of Hemans's poem after the nineteenth century is in part a result of the poem's ubiquity as a recitation piece: if the rhythm seems mechanical this is because the poem has been shaped in the public imagination by the pedagogical circumstances in which it was so often learned. As Robson points out, our New Critical heritage can blind us to the virtues of a culture of poetry learning that stressed personal intimacy with poems on the one hand and the value of shared cultural property on the other. [End Page 991]
In her second case study, Robson examines the ironies inherent in the situation of the working-class child required to memorize and recite Thomas Gray's "Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard," focusing particularly on the scholarship boy who would have had good reason to regard the inglorious dead described in the poem as figures for himself. Indeed, Robson suggests that the scholarship boy may well have experienced Gray's elegy as a lament for the loss of his own former self, and the accent, manners, and familial ties that bound him to his lower-class origins. Finally, Robson examines a case where a poem's afterlife may have had an influence on material practices. "The Burial of Sir John Moore after Corunna" commemorates a fallen general and laments the necessity of burying him without appropriate rites. In later conflicts, the many men and women who had learned the poem by heart recalled the poem's premise that the glory of the fallen soldier cannot be diminished by the absence of a proper burial. They took solace from this premise despite the fact that the poem itself takes for granted that special honor is due to an officer; essentially, later readers democratized the poem's central claim. Heart Beats is a fascinating study of the intimacies and ironies of poetic recitation. Shayne Husbands's The Early Roxburghe Club, 1812–1835: Book Club Pioneers and the Advancement of English Literature treats written rather than oral preservation. Husbands challenges dismissals of this group—one devoted to learning about and reproducing early English books—as merely an instance of aristocratic clubbiness, fashionable collecting, and flamboyant consumption. Under the leadership of Thomas Dibdin, the Roxburghe Club did more than tap into a craze for antique book collecting and sponsor extravagant dinners: it promoted knowledge of early printers, sought to collect and preserve works for their literary and not just their collectible value, and helped to expand the English canon with works by writers such as John Gower and John Skelton. Although the club's practices and activities would later become more methodical and professionalized, Husbands argues that these foundational Regency years would have a lasting impact on book culture.
Finally, the book that sums up the turn toward reception is Alison Booth's Homes and Haunts: Touring Writers' Shrines and Countries. Booth takes as her subject the burgeoning of literary tourism during the Victorian period, which she sets in the historical context of religious pilgrimages and the Grand Tour. Booth tracks the growth of literary tourism as a middle-class, aspirational form of travel, and teases out its relationship to nationalism [End Page 992] and regionalism as well as its reliance on nineteenth-century ideologies of genius, domesticity, and privacy. As she notes, the writer is the ideal bourgeois subject, one for whom home and work are the same, and the sanctification of writers' homes served multiple ideological ends. Booth also sets literary tourism in a generic context, examining the flourishing of topo-biography in the gift books and periodicals of the 1830s, the popularity of Victorian narratives of visits to and interviews with living authors, and the generic precedent of the gothic novel, with its own version of loco-architectural haunting. Booth argues that the genres of literary tourism often rely upon collaboration, and are marked by contradictions and ambivalences: oscillations between sentiment and detachment, educational clarity and deliberate mystification, singular and collective experience. The preservation of authors' homes and the promotion of the Blue Plaque Scheme are of course also linked to the consolidation of museum culture, and Booth carefully lays out the historical and theoretical implications of these memorializations. Individual chapters treat "homes and haunts" narratives; the presumption of female domesticity in the linking of women writers and their homes; the implications of a notion of "author country"; and the connections authors' homes could forge between writers over time and across generations. Booth's perambulations take us from Austen to Virginia Woolf, Nathaniel Hawthorne's Massachusetts to Brontë country, Mary Russell Mitford's Our Village to Dickens World.
II. AUSTEN STUDIES
I have made Austen studies a category of its own because no single author more thoroughly embodies the ongoing popular and commercial vitality of nineteenth-century literature than Austen. A testament to this fact, the Austen of Devoney Looser's The Making of Jane Austen is not the historical woman but the popular figure as it has developed over the last two hundred years. Looser tracks Austen's transformation from an "auntie" figure to our own pedagogical and commercial resource, used in everything from coloring books to tea towels. This history of Austen's posthumous reputation may well prove definitive, for Looser's archive is extraordinarily extensive: she treats everything from the first Austen dissertation to an erotically charged dramatization of her relationship with her sister. Looser's central claim is that Austen never has been and shouldn't be the exclusive property of the guardians of high culture: "we get a different history of Austen [End Page 993] … from perspectives of literary populism, moments of commercial opportunism, or political and cultural clashes" (pp. 10–1). Looser's inclusiveness also allows her to show how "Austen's movement into new media has long piggybacked onto old media" (p. 73). Looser begins with book publication, focusing particularly on the implications and impact of early illustrations. Victorian illustrators made Austen's novels "familial, female-focused, and sensational" (p. 20), with images that presented her heroines as Victorians avant la lettre. Whether produced for middle- and upper-class women in the form of costly gift books or in less expensive editions that highlighted the virtue of feminine modesty for working-class women, these illustrations notably did not bring out Austen's satire or her comedy. From the 1890s until World War I, on the other hand, illustrations of the novels foregrounded social critique. During the same period, dramatizations of scenes from Austen often served to celebrate women's independence, focusing on such moments as Elizabeth's refusal of Collins's proposal in Pride and Prejudice. Beginning in the 1930s, dramatists like Helen Jerome would make Austen's male heroes, like Darcy, not only interesting but sexy, thereby paving the road for later cinematic actors such as Lawrence Olivier and Colin Firth. Austen would serve as icon in other domains as well: as a subject of men's club's debates, a figure for the cultural significance of women emblazoned on a suffragist banner, or an ideal author for schoolchildren. Looser's book amply proves her claim that "Austen's posthumous journey to becoming an icon looks very different when we take the back roads" (p. 10). Juliette Wells's Reading Austen in America focuses on Austen's American reception, beginning with the 1816 Philadelphia publication of Emma. Concerned both with book history and with reception history, Wells treats everything from the marginalia (much of it critical) of circulating library copies of the book to the annotations of an appreciative New Hampshire Chief Justice. Wells even traces transatlantic friendships built on affection for Austen's writings.
Perhaps tellingly, even those books that don't focus on Austen's readership emphasize her economic acumen and worldliness. Cecil E. Bohanon and Michelle Albert Vachris's Pride and Profit: The Intersection of Jane Austen and Adam Smith is directed to a general audience, providing an overview of Smith's economic principles and then tracking "Smithean" concepts (virtues such as self-command, prudence, and justice; vices such as pride and greed; and notions such as the "impartial spectator") in a number of Austen's characters. Lynda A. Hall's Women and "Value" in Jane [End Page 994] Austen's Novels: Settling, Speculating, and Superfluity also puts Austen in dialogue with political economy, in this case by focusing on the way Austen highlights the tension between her female characters' intrinsic value and their (marriage) market value. After discussing the economic and legal discourses that defined the putative value of unmarried women, Hall develops an account of the function of minor female characters in Austen's fiction: while the heroine's special status is marked by her capacity for personal choice, minor female figures are forced to participate in their own commodification. The book thus highlights the role of economic processes in defining character both socially and narratively.
In Satire, Celebrity, and Politics in Jane Austen, Jocelyn Harris locates Austen in her historical moment by revealing her awareness of the celebrities, scandals, and controversies of her day. Harris claims, for instance, that Austen alluded to Court scandals in several of her novels and that she based the character of Fanny Price's father on a lieutenant of the Royal Marines. Individual chapters explore the provenance of particular themes and figures in Austen's novels; Harris aims to "reconstruct Austen's creative process by means of the newspapers she perused [and] the gossip she heard" (p. xx). Harris argues that Austen would have had access to journals and letters by Fanny Burney and that Austen drew inspiration for her novels from incidents in Burney's life. More generally, Harris shows that Austen was more influenced by women writers of her day—especially Wollstonecraft, Barbauld, and Edgeworth—than has generally been remarked. Jane Austen: Writer in the World, draws from two major exhibitions and, in editor Kathryn Sutherland's words, considers "Austen's life and writings through a world of things" (p. 12). These things range from Austen's pelisse coat to her surviving music books to portraits of her. Individual essays include accounts of her juvenilia; a discussion of the particular places and times during which she could write; an exploration of the surprisingly broad network in which private letters regularly circulated; Austen's status as a wartime novelist; and the market for novels during the Regency period. The book is beautifully illustrated, with images ranging from satiric caricatures to photographic reprints of letters. Jane Austen's Geographies, edited by Robert Clark, takes up both the specificities and the abstractions of location in Austen's novels. As Clark argues, Austen is often very concrete in her account of the mileages between places, and yet the locales she describes are typically devoid of local color, a distinction important to her version of realism. The essayists in this volume discuss homes [End Page 995] that might have served as models for the estates that appear in the novels, the international character of the marriage market, the meaningfulness of London place names in the novels, and Austen's deliberate muting of the global provenance of commodities.
III. TEMPORALITY, MEMORY, AND HISTORY
Several works explore the vagaries of cultural values over time by investigating temporality, memory, and history as concepts. William H. Galperin's The History of Missed Opportunities: British Romanticism and the Emergence of the Everyday argues that the everyday, both in its modern acceptation and as a category of experience, emerges during the Romantic period. It takes, however, the form of that which cannot be grasped, and is the object of a practice of recollection that is different from the idealizing conjuration of the past typically regarded as a hallmark of Romanticism. The everyday appears, in effect, as something missed—overlooked and underappreciated the first time around, or longed for but unattainable. This account of everydayness is itself rather elusive, and the book's strength lies less in its summative claims than in its deft and sensitive readings of particular texts. Indeed, Galperin develops a differently inflected version of the everyday in each of his four chapters. For Wordsworth the everyday is the overlooked, a vision of the ordinary captured only by virtue of the poet's double take. It is a missed opportunity, one whose re-presentation to memory is "the signature of a subjectivity that is representative but by no means uniform" (p. 53). This is a poetry the forward movement of which is often "bedeviled by on-site retrospection" (p. 63), marked by stutters and hesitations. If Wordsworth's use of the everyday is constitutive of the poetic subjectivity he develops, in Austen the everyday is more definitively a thing of the historical past. Galperin argues that in Mansfield Park the everyday figures as a world that might have been, one in which women had more to do than say "no," as Fanny so often does. Fanny's reticence is aligned, prospectively, with the zero-sum logic of imperial England and omniscient narration, while everyday life appears as a retrospect, a world infused with possibility. Here again, then, opportunities are missed, but in this case for historical reasons. In Byron's letters and poems, the everyday takes yet another form, that of domestic married life. Galperin finds in Byron's letters to Annabella Milbanke a vision of ordinary domesticity as simultaneously compelling and foredoomed; even before their marriage Byron describes it [End Page 996] as an opportunity he has missed. Poems of this period rehearse the same conundrum, while the postseparation Don Juan is a vision of the poem-as-remarriage, a poem necessarily episodic and unending. Finally, Galperin reminds us that the Romantic fragment is similarly bound to a notion of ongoingness. The book is a provocative reminder that the passions, idealizations, and subjective consolidations with which we associate Romanticism exist alongside its commitments to the quotidian and particular.
Jennifer Green-Lewis's Victorian Photography, Literature, and the Invention of Modern Memory: Already the Past is a rumination on the Victorian use of the photograph as a figure for memory. She is, however, less concerned with the suitability of the metaphor than with its varied uses. Indeed, her own writing is richly metaphoric, and its strength lies in its sensitivity to the subtleties—strategic, psychological, and epistemological—of the texts she describes. The book begins by considering the complexity of contemporary photographic practice itself: this was an age when photographs were associated with ephemerality and perdurability, the proliferation of detail and the evocative power of the picturesque, the smooth daguerreotype and the rough calotype, privacy (especially in the early days and with the daguerreotype) and publicity. Even a feature like the reproduction of detail had a dual significance, being associated both with mechanical reproduction and with a kind of moral attentiveness. Whether it claimed to capture the objectively real, the fugitive detail, or the spirit of a scene, photography seemed both to preserve the past and to make it seem somehow more authentic than the present. The latter part of the book focuses on the influence of photography on the novel, and argues that photography is important less for inspiring an ideal of objective reportage than for providing a range of representational norms to which realist novelists could aspire. She also links Victorian epistemological concepts to the material facts of photographic practice; she relates the idea of the "flash of insight," for instance, to the development of flash photography (p. 100). Narration itself came to be inflected by the habit of perusing old photographs: thus Charlotte Brontë uses the pictorial present tense to suggest the difference between the moment of narration and the moment being narrated, while David Copperfield describes his own life as if looking at an album of photographs. These descriptions are powerful, Green-Lewis argues, not because they remind us of photographs but because they are so much in accord with our own conception of memory that we perceive them as natural. This is a wonderfully suggestive [End Page 997] work, one devoted less to arguing for a particular model of memory than to providing new ways of thinking about the complexities of the workings of both photography and memory.
Patrick R. O'Malley's engaging Liffey and Lethe: Paramnesiac History in Nineteenth-Century Anglo-Ireland is, as its title suggests, concerned not just with Irish literature but also with the subtleties of memory and history. Although O'Malley limits his inquiry to writings in English by Protestants, those writings present varied responses to the challenge of representing Irish history so as to suggest the possibility of future stability. These Protestant texts do, however, have one common feature: they reveal a dual impulse to tell history and to distort it. Most strikingly, many of them present a Protestant Irish nationalism that escapes the past through "a fantasized erasure of Catholic specificity from Irish culture" (p. 105). O'Malley begins by tracing the contours of two Romantic-era Irish literary modes: the national tale, exemplified by Sydney Owenson's The Wild Irish Girl, and the gothic, exemplified by Charles Maturin's Melmoth the Wanderer. The first of these, O'Malley argues, gestures to the violence of Irish history only to resolve it by means of the romance mode. The latter, on the other hand, represents a present that can never be free of the past, but uses the aesthetic thrills of the gothic to neutralize its horrors. In both cases, then, the violence of history is addressed, but in what O'Malley calls a paramnesiac way: the past is not so much remembered as misremembered so as to allow for its containment. In the second part of his study, O'Malley takes up the transformation of these literary modes in the post-Famine period. Here we find, in works by Dion Boucicault and M. L. O'Byrne, continuing references to the gothic character of the past alongside an increasingly self-conscious critique of the notion of progressive history. Wilde, in his "The Portrait of Mr. W. H.," would openly satirize the fantasy of an "authentically" Irish literary historiography, but Irish paramnesiac literary culture would live on in the modernist period.
Not surprisingly, the erasure of Irish Catholic subjectivity is also discussed in Traumatic Tales: British Nationhood and National Trauma in Nineteenth-Century Literature. Edited by Lisa Kasmer, this volume examines trauma as a constitutive feature of nationalist consolidation, treating the ideological foundation of nationalism in traumatic legends, the connection between personal trauma and national history, and the power of the gothic to speak to the traumatic origins of nationhood. Thomas Hardy and History argues that, notwithstanding the many traumas dramatized [End Page 998] in Hardy's fiction, that fiction is informed by a meliorist philosophy of history. In the years between 1857 and 1862, Fred Reid argues, Hardy imbibed a Liberal Anglican view of history, and its meliorism would stay with him even after he turned from Christianity around 1865. Influenced by philosophies of history ranging from those of Horace Moule to Auguste Comte and John Stuart Mill, Hardy developed a vision of human history as an upward cycle that required an accommodation of Christian ideals with scientific and physiological knowledge. Reid argues that this meliorism waxed and waned over the course of Hardy's career but that it perdured as a substratum of Hardy's thinking. WilliamA. Ulmer's John Keats: Reimagining History understands history not as memory or philosophy but as cultural record. Keats thus reimagines history in relation to the politics of canon formation. Ulmer argues that Keats's gestures to earlier poets are not an expression of anxiety of influence but part of a conscious effort to advance the claims of what Ulmer calls the "Cockney canon," a canon centered on Shakespeare, Milton, and Italianate romance.
Three books examine the genres through which Victorians produced history. Doris Lechner's Histories for the Many: The Victorian Family Magazine and Popular Representations of the Past: The "Leisure Hour," 1852–1870 provides an overview of Victorian historiography. Focusing on the periodical The Leisure Hour, Lechner offers a snapshot of popular historical culture during the 1850s and '60s. The Leisure Hour is for Lechner of particular diagnostic interest because it deliberately strove to mediate between secular and religious, middle- and working-class, male and female, young and old, and popular and academic audiences. It contributed to contemporary historical culture by drawing together fragmented accounts of the past by means of its serial format, constructing a national identity through travel writing, accounts of the recent past, and descriptions of English life from the sixteenth century forward. Lechner sets The Leisure Hour in the context of contemporary periodical culture, considers the affordances of serial publication, and examines specific historical contributions to the journal, particularly those written by John Stoughton. Helen Kingstone's Victorian Narratives of the Recent Past: Memory, History, Fiction studies the Victorian novel in relation to the presumption that history is best practiced from a substantial temporal distance. While "official" histories typically did not take up the recent past, Kingstone argues that interest in the recent past was diverted into other generic forms, especially biography and the novel. After examining those few historians [End Page 999] who did write about recent history, Kingstone takes up three categories of novels: those from the first half of the century that look back to the French Revolution; those of the '60s through the '80s that look to the moment of the first Reform Bill; and fin-de-siècle works that strove to define England in terms of its growing imperial power. Kingstone shows that novels reveal undercurrents of Victorian life that tend to be lost in the nationalist investments of official histories. Acts of Modernity: The Historical Novel and Effective Communication, 1814–1901 is a study of the historical novel that takes the fundamental question of that genre to be "what does it mean to be modern?" (p. 2). David Buchanan is interested not only in how these novels are constructed so as to answer that question but also in how they are used by readers—both at the moment of their composition and later. Thus, for instance, he reads Scott's Waverley and Heart of Mid-Lothian in relation to industrialization and then tracks their reprinting for downmarket readerships.
Two histories of the nineteenth century are equally sensitive to method and genre. Rosemary Ashton's One Hot Summer: Dickens, Darwin, Disraeli, and the Great Stink of 1858 is a microhistory, one made possible by the digitization of nineteenth-century newspapers. Ashton's aim is less to trace developments than to reveal connections, in this case among three men—novelist, scientist, and politician—who for Ashton are "representative of the best of the Victorian age" (p. 3). The year 1858 was a year of disasters and losses—followed by sensational successes—for all three men. Ashton sets this drama against a backdrop of disaster and improvement for London itself: in the unprecedented summer heat the smell of the Thames became intolerable, and prompted the enormous public work of embanking the Thames. For all three men, as for the Thames, the growing power of the press and of public opinion proved decisive, just as the availability of newspaper accounts has proved decisive for Ashton herself. Kathryn Hughes's Victorians Undone: Tales of the Flesh in the Age of Decorum is similarly experimental, but offers a "precision tool" (p. xv) of another sort: a focus on body parts. Hughes considers her book "an experiment to see what new stories emerge when you use biography … to put mouths, bellies and beards back into the nineteenth century" (p. xiv). Hughes revives Victorian corporeality in essays on the swelling belly of Lady Flora Hastings, the manly density of Charles Darwin's beard, George Eliot's large right hand, Fanny Cornforth's kissable mouth, and the dissected body of a girl named Fanny Adams. [End Page 1000]
Three excellent books explore the limits not of historical but of interpersonal knowledge. David Russell's absorbing Tact: Aesthetic Liberalism and the Essay Form in Nineteenth-Century Britain argues that Victorian tactfulness can be understood as more than just aristocratic politesse; as an exploratory and respectful way of engaging with others and the world, tactfulness provided a model for interaction that was ideally suited to liberal ideology. Like the distanced posture of the psychoanalyst that was part of its twentieth-century legacy, it was a way to "take people seriously without taking them personally" (p. 10). Feeling its way, tact implies intimacy without mastery; it seeks to make contact with others without purporting truly to know them. The experimental, digressive, and open-ended essay form is the very embodiment of this procedural ideal, and Russell tracks its workings in a series of sensitive and insightful readings of essays from Charles Lamb's Elia to Walter Pater's The Renaissance. Beginning with Lamb, Russell describes the Romantic democratization of the essay form. He then turns to Mill, arguing that he propounds a tactful "aesthetic liberalism" derived from his experience of reading Wordsworth. Although it would ultimately be displaced by the more familiar "argumentative liberalisms" of Mill's On Liberty (p. 43), aesthetic liberalism is attuned to the virtues of the obliquities of communication. For Matthew Arnold, too, the cultivation of tact is a prerequisite for liberal sociability, and it begins in the classroom: students should be taught how to think but not what to think. In a brilliant reading of Arnold's criticism through his pedagogical investments, Russell compellingly argues that Arnold's injunction that the critic "see the object as in itself it really is" (p. 70) is intended to prompt him toward a rapprochement with the object, not to predetermine his experience of it. Although too aggressive to be tactful, George Eliot's essays prepare the groundwork for the poised and tactful novels to which she would later turn. Her essays, in their rage against a logic of ultimate compensation for suffering, reveal a potential weakness in the novel form in its bias toward revelation and telos—a weakness George Eliot would later know to avoid. Finally, Pater's essays provide not imperatives but a rhythm of approach and recoil, and he uses the form of the essay collection to prompt readers' own acts of selection. Twentieth-century psychoanalyst Marion Milner would incorporate this Victorian tact into a clinical sensibility that permitted both herself and her patients a kind of middle ground between [End Page 1001] purposive interaction and solipsistic fantasy. So engagingly written that I found it hard to put down, Tact is itself extraordinarily deft in its readings and its argumentation.
Another impressive and original book, Victorian Pain examines a rather more fraught domain of interpersonal intimacy: that of the sympathetic response to pain. Rachel Ablow takes as her starting point two crucial contexts for the Victorian reconsideration of the significance of pain: the discovery and increasing use of anesthetics and the Malthusian account of the periodic necessity of starvation. In both cases, suffering is revealed to be contingent and impersonal, the result not of divine providence but historical and economic circumstance. The nineteenth century was therefore a moment in which caregivers and patients—as well as novelists and philosophers—were particularly attuned to the complex ways pain defines the relationship of individuals to social life. While pain has been understood by modern thinkers as either the domain of the private and inexpressible—as in Elaine Scarry's account—or as necessarily interpersonal, with the phrase "I am in pain" a move in a Wittgensteinian language game (p. 7), Victorian writers often speak of it in terms of its impersonality. The uncertain status of pain is symptomatized in Victorian conceptions of hypochondria: some regarded it as an abdominal ailment, others as a compulsive disorder, and still others as a fear of illness or a physical sensation of illness in the absence of a disease. As Ablow compellingly shows, the experience and expression of pain served as a ground zero for crucial Victorian issues: the construction of liberal sociality, the compatibility of privacy with community, and the limits of empathy. Ablow begins with Mill, who understands pain as experienced alone but socially mediated by poetry; he is therefore able to replace the isolated utilitarian subject with a liberal subject capable of understanding suffering in social terms. A fascinating chapter on Harriet Martineau shows that she goes the next step, as it were, arguing that sensations themselves are educable, so that even a chronic sufferer like herself could train herself to regard her own well-being as no more important than that of others. Indeed, it was the imposed solitude of her invalidism that enabled Martineau to conceive her relation to the social as unselfconscious and benevolent. In Charlotte Brontë's Villette, on the other hand, relationship itself seems to be prohibited, giving rise to a species of hypochondria; in this novel, even the reader is kept at a distance, offered abstracted images of physical pain rather than a specific account of the heroine's psychological pain. Readers are thereby prevented from making the judgments that a [End Page 1002] deeper empathy would require. In her final two chapters, Ablow considers pain less from an epistemological than an ontological vantage: Darwin raises the question of how we circumscribe the unit of suffering, and Hardy presents a world in which pain is delocalized and the reader is implicitly called on not to alleviate suffering but to recognize it as the shared fate of sentience.
Daniel Wright offers yet another fresh vantage on the vagaries of inner and interpersonal life. Bad Logic: Reasoning about Desire in the Victorian Novel examines the capacity of faulty formal logic to reveal the subtleties of erotic desire. Bad logic is, for Wright, less Freudian symptom than strategic compromise—it is a means of drawing upon the simultaneously emotional and rational, idiosyncratic and communal nature of language. As Wright explains, cases of bad logic highlight the limitations of the forms of thought while also seeking to make those forms meaningful. Wright pursues these cases in chapters that provide wonderfully original readings of well-known novels. Thus he finds in Charlotte Brontë's use of first-person narration a rumination on contradiction. Social life, in the form of erotic desire for and ethical accountability to others, would seem to sponsor both self-identity and self-negation: the necessarily contradictory demand that one go beyond oneself without losing oneself leads ultimately to the "intimate abstraction" (p. 66) of marriage, a lived contradiction. Anthony Trollope exposes tension of another sort in his use of tautology to describe erotic desire as at once self-evident and insidiously reductive. Wright's terms brilliantly lay open the ethical conundrum at the heart of Can You Forgive Her?, revealing the stakes of Alice Vavasor's resistance to the tautology of desire. In a chapter on George Eliot and vagueness, Wright tracks the vicissitudes of George Eliot's longing for clarity and precision and her simultaneous recognition of the rich suggestiveness of vagueness. In explicit response to innovations in formal logic, George Eliot explores the power of figurative language to fuse thought and feeling. Wright's final chapter treats Henry James's generality, a language of "everything" and "everything but" that has typically been interpreted as an expression of sexual repression. For Wright, on the other hand, the language of "everything" speaks to the circumscriptions and dilations of desire, both for characters within James's novels and for the author himself. These experiments in bad logic have, for Wright, philosophical, literary, and ethical significance, and he not only moves adroitly between fiction and philosophy but also speaks explicitly to the fundamental variability of desire and its complicated relation to [End Page 1003] the laws of thought and the law of the state. As he shows, erotic desire, queer or straight, demands, for its representation, all that logical language, good and bad, can offer.
Several notable works study epistemology in relation to the sensual and contingent properties of language. The first, Angela Leighton's Hearing Things: The Work of Sound in Literature, is a meditation on the often elusive character of aural effects, their suitability to suggest distant apprehension, memory, and imagination. The book includes two chapters of interest to the Victorian-ist. The first, on Tennyson, tracks the frequency with which he speaks of and produces humming sounds, sounds suggestive both of interiority and distance, indifference and deep feeling—thereby producing emotional crosscurrents in his writing. Christina Rossetti, in turn, hums Tennyson, from whom she learns the power of repetition and echo, making Tennysonian paralysis and weariness her "signature tune" (p. 77). Susan J. Wolfson's Romantic Shades and Shadows is similarly concerned with whispering presences, although she is interested less in aural effects than in what she calls "verbal textures: chance associations, ruptures of logic, figural recurrences, and overproductions" (p. 3). She explores ghosts in words and the power of language to haunt us—to signify aslant, as it were. Gesturing to Jerome McGann's Romantic ideology on the one hand and Jacques Derrida's hauntology on the other, Wolfson nevertheless builds her own theoretical armature through particulars rather than generalizations. The book is less an argument about the Romantic-era attunement to ghosts than it is an instantiation of a mode of reading that is attentive to "under-presences" (p. 35). In this Wolfson continues her earlier championing of attention to the formal properties of writing; here her attention is fixed on "structural ruptures, disturbances of syntax and grammar, skewed tracks of argument or narrative, verbal stresses of perception and self-representation in undertones and under-presences, overtones and over-determinations" (p. 35). Because this is a book that does not lend itself to summary, I offer an account of one chapter to provide a sense of the reading practice at work here. In a chapter on names in Wordsworth, Wolfson teases out the relay between names and words: "will," "words," and "worth" generate a punning logic of their own in Wordsworth's autobiographical poetry. If in Shakespeare such puns are foregrounded, in Wordsworth they often hover between intentional and accidental registers, conscious and unconscious linguistic workings. Here, words themselves "write a scene of semiotic possibilities" (p. 47), possibilities that demand the kind [End Page 1004] of close attention to language that Wolfson models. Subsequent chapters take up allusion and recollection in William Hazlitt's "My First Acquaintance with Poets," sleights of hand that allow Percy Shelley to write an unwritten future in his political poems, Byron's ghost-conjuring, both in his writings and in the afterlife of Byronism, and the imprinting of Keats's aesthetic ironies on Yeats.
Two works study language use as a register of identity, as style. The first, Jonathan Farina's Everyday Words and the Character of Prose in Nineteenth-Century Britain, is more richly faceted than its title might suggest. Farina develops a model of character as superficial and performative rather than deep, but capable of signifying both typicality and distinctiveness. Farina convincingly argues that Victorians applied this notion of character both to persons and to language itself. Thus, for instance, Dickens's use of "turn" to mean "he had a decided turn for" reflects his awareness that the word served as a "generic index of characterization" (p. 8), one with ties to Darwin's natural-historical conception of character as a "trivial formal signature" (p. 12). By pointedly repeating the phrase in Martin Chuzzlewit, Dickens signals the simultaneous individuality of men with particular "turns" and the generic quality of that individuality. At the same time, his arch repetition of this popular locution makes an everyday phrase into a mark of the character of his own writing. Phrases could also capture the constitutive working methods of those who used them. Darwin used "turn"—as in the phrase "now we turn from this to that"—as a way of marking the openness of his method; moral philosophers used "as if" as a familiar way of indicating that their claims, while not demonstrably certain, were nevertheless credible. Austen, meanwhile, used an idiom of induction to distinguish characters: "attentiveness" captures both the scrupulousness of the scientist and the requisites of sociality. Characters in Middlemarch resort to a vague language of "something" to "translate ineffable feeling into ordinary language" (p. 176), while Trollope uses "but" and other adversatives as a way of tactfully exposing, without condemning, the moral complexity of his characters. Altogether, this innovative study reveals subtle and surprising connections between the Victorian fascination with character and the workings of Victorian prose. The late style to which Frederik Van Dam refers in Anthony Trollope's Late Style: Victorian Liberalism and Literary Form is both the style of his later works and a late style—in Adornian terms, an "authentic" response to late capitalism (p. 3). Conventional, mechanical, and rife with cliché, that style is for Van Dam both symptomatic and diagnostic; it uses the materials [End Page 1005] of language to reveal an essentially marginalist (desire-oriented rather than production-oriented) version of subjectivity, one in which agency has been erased.
In Scents and Sensibility: Perfume in Victorian Literary Culture Catherine Maxwell tackles the problem of knowledge from another angle, implicitly challenging the presumption of Victorian oculocentrism. In addition to patronizing a growing perfume industry, Victorians bought manufactured soap, aromatic jewelry, potpourri, incense, aromatic salts, snuff, and tobacco. Drawing on perfume manuals, etiquette guides, hygiene manuals and works on floriculture as well as letters and memoirs, Maxwell describes a late-Victorian culture in which scent played an important role in the definition and development of key literary tropes: style, atmosphere, influence, sensuality, refinement, and memory. Central to this culture is the figure of the olfactif, an individual with a cultivated and refined sense of smell, a figure epitomized by Swinburne. For Maxwell, attitudes about scent can be linked to literary history itself: John Keats and Percy Shelley serve as important precursors for aesthetes who embraced the image of the scented dandy, while male modernists like T. S. Eliot framed Victorian culture as decadent and perfumed. In addition to tracking associations with two specific flowers, the violet (linked to memory and death) and the tuberose (linked to voluptuous and dangerous pleasures), Maxwell explores fragrances associated with bodies and even travel. In perhaps her most striking chapter, she describes the importance of scent in the private lives of Katherine Bradley and Edith Cooper and therefore in the poetry of Michael Field. For Bradley and Cooper, scent is linked to love, individuality, and even creativity.
Several of this year's books examine knowledge in relation to faith and explore the special role of poetry in elaborating that relationship. In Beyond the Willing Suspension of Disbelief: Poetic Faith from Coleridge to Tolkein, Michael Tomko sets himself the task of formulating a "post-secular" theory of reading, by which he means a process of reading informed by faith but tempered by a critical and, particularly, a political thoughtfulness. Taking Samuel Taylor Coleridge's phrase as his touchstone, and reminding us that it was originally linked to an ideal of "poetic faith," Tomko seeks to imagine a Coleridge who "fully engages the human faculties of both faith and reason" (p. 3). In Faith in Poetry: Verse [End Page 1006] Style as a Mode of Religious Belief, Michael D. Hurley similarly presses back against narratives of nineteenth-century secularization, offering close readings of the poetry of William Blake, Alfred Tennyson, Christina Rossetti, Gerard Manley Hopkins, and George Eliot to argue not just for the centrality of issues of faith to these canonical poets but also for the salience of poetic form to the exploration of that faith. Martin Dubois, in Gerard Manley Hopkins and the Poetry of Religious Experience, seeks to "recover the diversity in Hopkins's writing by focusing on the way in which he imagines the individual lived experience of religious belief" (p. 3). "Diversity" is the keynote here: Dubois argues that critics have drawn too sharp a line between feeling and intellect in Hopkins' work.
Amanda Paxton's Willful Submission: Sado-Erotics and Heavenly Marriage in Victorian Religious Poetry is one of two books concerned with faith in relation to gender. The erotic depiction of the soul as bride of the divine, so common in medieval culture, enjoyed a resurgence in nineteenth-century discourses, where, Paxton argues, the language of submission to the divine was often used to comment on earthly hierarchies. After offering a prehistory of the bridal metaphor and demonstrating its affinities with the ambiguities of poetry, Paxton examines the politics of its use in Broad Church writing: Charles Kingsley, for instance, argues that the Catholic eroticization of submission to one's priest is an abuse of power, but that such an erotics is perfectly appropriate to family life, where fathers enjoy a sacred power to mete out punishment. Evangelical poet Eliza Keary, meanwhile, writes an anti-Catholic narrative poem that represents Christianity as inherently sadistic, leading ultimately to the female believer's dissolution. Christina Rossetti, on the other hand, avoids this destructive telos by developing a masochistic aesthetic of suspense, one in which annihilating unity with God is always awaited but never achieved. Finally, Paxton turns to two Catholic converts, Coventry Patmore and Hopkins, arguing that Patmore uses the bridal metaphor to incorporate the feminine subject position into a totalizing masculinity while Hopkins represents desire for the divine as mediated through a plenum of human and natural subjectivities. Jewish Feeling: Difference and Affect in Nineteenth-Century Jewish Women's Writing, by Richa Dwor, "seeks to define a distinctly Jewish form of affect and to use this as a framework for identifying Jewish difference in literary works by Jewish authors" (p. 4). This is an ambitious project, one made more ambitious by the fact that it requires a redefinition of the word [End Page 1007] "affect": for Dwor, midrash "constitutes a form of affect" insofar as it combines "a total assurance in the perfection of the text and also radical openness to its implied meanings" (p. 19). Thus, for example, in their evocations of the biblical figures of Esther and Judith, Grace Aguilar and Amy Levy practice their own version of midrash—finding in sacred texts an opportunity for thinking through ethical issues. More fundamentally, these writers emphasize the value of an affective and communitarian response to texts. Although essentially an interpretive posture, then, the spirit of midrash constitutes for Dwor a peculiarly Jewish affect, the product of the transposition of a religious reading practice into a secular context. Dwor juxtaposes the works of Aguilar and Levy with those of George Eliot, who, while interested in the power of sympathy, does not adequately "recogniz[e] Jewish difference" (p. 111); George Eliot has, in Dwor's words, a "feeling for the Jews," but does not actually participate in "Jewish feeling." While I'm not sure I'm convinced of the necessity of the delimitation of properly Jewish feeling, the book raises interesting questions regarding the definition of affect and its relation to religious and interpretive practices.
VI. SCIENCE AND MEDICINE
A number of interesting books examine the many forms of knowledge that came under the heading of "science." Amanda Jo Goldstein's Sweet Science: Romantic Materialism and the New Logics of Life is particularly ambitious, presenting an argument for the theoretical relevance of Lucretian materialism both to Romantic studies and to current debates in poetics, science, and politics. The book begins, fittingly enough, with the problem of generation itself: Goldstein traces a third alternative to preformation and epigenesis, describing a version of epigenesis not as autogenesis but as an accretive response to the embryo's milieu. In a lovely reading of Blake's Book of Urizen, Goldstein shows that Blake imagines the embryo as the product of many hands, growing out of and in tandem with its milieu. The organic singularity of Urizenic self-generation is thus revealed as a totalitarian simplification, a deliberate forgetting of the work of "myriads." Here Goldstein lays the groundwork for her larger claim that one of the virtues of Lucretian science is that it conceives of human and natural history as intertwined. In her second and third chapters Goldstein takes up the Romantic obsession with life as a categorically distinct phenomenon. She traces in Johann Wolfgang [End Page 1008] von Goethe's later work a reluctance to radicalize the distinction between living and nonliving beings, convincingly arguing that Goethe presents life as a state of being rather than a power, the product not of organic self-organization but of a concatenation of events and materials. I particularly enjoyed Goldstein's account of Goethe's focus on senescence: the dissolution and self-dispersion that would, in organicist thinking, signal diminished vitality and even diminished value are aligned with communication and creation. Presenting Goethe's description of a mushroom's dropping of spores onto a sheet of paper as a kind of botanic artistry, Goldstein finds in this process a Romantic reproduction of the Lucretian eidolon. More importantly, she locates in the process a striking instance of the interfusion of the scientific and the poetic, the material and the artistic. In her fourth chapter, Goldstein offers a wonderfully original reading of Percy Shelley's "Triumph of Life." Against Paul de Man's account of the poem as an allegory of figuration and disfiguration, Goldstein proposes a reading of figuration as a material process, one in which the figure of Rousseau is not disfigured but decomposed; on Goldstein's reading the poem offers a vision of life not as centered in organizing power but as disorganized and contingent. In a final chapter on "The Mask of Anarchy," Goldstein argues that the poem is not politically inefficacious lyric but a form of didactic poetry, and that it provides a knowledge of world history rather than the speaking self. Richly suggestive, the book discovers poetry in the Romantic life sciences, and a science of life in Romantic poetry. Goldstein frequently enacts this chiasmus in her own writing, which is not only elegant but also rich in metaphors that render philosophy and theory material and palpable.
Melissa Bailes's Questioning Nature: British Women's Scientific Writing and Literary Originality, 1750–1830 also treats the interconnection of scientific and literary theory. Bailes shows that there is more at stake in Romantic women's turn to natural science than the establishment of the writer's authority: scientific discourse provided an account of the meaning and value of originality, and women writers made strategic use of this account to promote their work. Bailes begins with what she calls the crisis of literary originality in the mid-eighteenth century. In response to proclamations that modern poets did little more than imitate the ancients and each other, a set of writers argued that natural-historical observation could provide ample original material for verse. Many women writers offered just such observations, merging literature and science to make original contributions in [End Page 1009] both domains. In doing so, they drew upon scientific models of originality in which reference to earlier writers, if done with the aim of improving upon their claims, constitutes a viable form of originality. Within this larger framework, Bailes provides wonderfully precise accounts of specific writers: Barbauld suggests that science can have a place in verse, but only if its topics are sufficiently familiar to the English reader, while Maria Riddell was inspired by West Indian biological hybridity to experiment with hybrid verse forms. In a particularly striking chapter, Bailes argues that Anna Seward's attacks on Charlotte Smith reflect not just professional jealousy but also her notion that biological types and taxonomies are fixed, such that Smith's references to the works of others produce a fundamental disorder. Smith, meanwhile, draws upon the collaborations and collecting practices of natural history to define a sort of "collective originality" (p. 94), even as, in her self-presentation as a nightingale, she aligns herself with the more solitary models of originality that were to become increasingly important. In a similar irony, Helen Maria Williams's translations of geological texts would reproduce a shift within that discipline toward greater technical specificity, trends that would make her own voice as translator ever more invisible. In a final chapter on Hemans, Bailes tracks the consolidation of a model of poetic originality that was both individualist and anti-scientific, with the result that women's writing in natural history was not only curbed but retroactively rendered something less than fully poetic.
In their introduction to Strange Science: Investigating the Limits of Knowledge in the Victorian Age, Lara Karpenko and Shalyn Claggett remind readers that during the nineteenth century there was no clear demarcation between legitimate and illegitimate science, and scientists made use of both empirical and imaginative methods. Even the division between nature and culture was permeable: Francis Galton supplemented physical sensation with poetic auditory imagery; speech, in a "phonographic culture," came to be understood as mechanically reproducible (p. 10); physiology served as the basis of sensation fiction; and art could be imagined to substitute for biological cellular repair. The book's essays on botany argue that Victorian orchid literature understood the boundaries between humans and plants in surprisingly flexible ways; that botany was used to teach ethics to medical students; that some plants were conceived as capable of "creat[ing] a sense of global connectivity" (p. 65); and that plants provided a way of grappling with foreign forms of subjectivity. In [End Page 1010] essays focused on physical sciences we learn that the principle of continuity produced an account of randomness akin to chaos theory; that Annie Besant's use of clairvoyance to understand atomic structure challenged masculine authority; that Edward Bulwer-Lytton developed a version of Baconian induction that privileged a nonsystematic pursuit of knowledge; and that The Unseen Universe used science to engage religion. Along similar lines, Elsa Richardson's Second Sight in the Nineteenth Century: Prophecy, Imagination, and Nationhood explores the ways the phenomenon of second sight, a previsionary capacity attributed to Highlanders, was explored in the "nascent investigative cultures" of spiritualism, anthropology, and psychical research (p. 3). Beginning with pre-Victorian writings on the phenomenon, Richardson examines it in terms of the standards of empiricism, then traces its development in relation to craniometry, phrenology, and mesmerism. Finally, she considers connections between the development of modern spiritualism and modern anthropology, and the role of second sight in the late-nineteenth-century romance revival.
Two studies examine science in relation to character. In Vision and Character: Physiognomics and the English Realist Novel, Eike Kronshage argues that the realist novel relies on physiognomic portraits in its characterization. The book begins with Austen, whom Kronshage regards as a protorealist because she offers no description of characters' faces and expressions, then turns to Charlotte Brontë, who makes extensive use of physiognomic language, and George Eliot, who makes ambivalent use of it. I include Jane Austen and Sciences of the Mind in this section because its essays examine Austen's fiction in relation to cognitive science, both Romantic and contemporary. Austen is a fitting object for such a study, editor Beth Lau notes, because her novels are renowned precisely for their psychological acuity. The essays in the volume take up such issues as the psychological insights of Austen's juvenilia; her theory of mind; her interweaving of imagination and memory; the neurobiological basis of her representation of love; her representation of the relation of physical to conscious feeling; the role of group identification, play, and "elasticity of mind" in the lives of her characters (p. 200); and even the neurology of reading Austen.
John Keats and the Medical Imagination is one of two books that focus explicitly on medical science, and both consider its underlying epistemology. Editor Nicholas Roe provides a historico-biographical outline of what he calls Keats's "Medical [End Page 1011] Years," 1810–17 (p. 1); subsequent chapters focus both on the experience Keats's medical training afforded him and on the implications of that training for his poetry. Contributors discuss the way The Botanist's Companion influenced Keats's diction; the tubercular structure of Keats's work; the way modern scientific concepts redefined what it meant to produce an "anatomy" of melancholy; the oscillation between idealizing speculation and brute materiality that was central to medical training; and the way the aesthetic sensibility and dispassionate risk-taking of Keats's teacher Astley Cooper might have undergirded Keats's notion of negative capability. In perhaps the most striking essay of the collection, Stuart Curran argues that confrontation with death-like states would have sensitized Keats to the paradoxes and indeterminacies of consciousness for which his poetry is so well known. Monika Pietrzak-Franger's Syphilis in Victorian Literature and Culture: Medicine, Knowledge, and the Spectacle of Victorian Invisibility is a history of medicine that is also of theoretical interest in its account of Victorian oculocentrism. Chapter 1 examines the production of disease concepts during the 1880s and their multimedia instantiation, insisting that a dialectic of visibility and invisibility lay at their core, while the second chapter considers the power relations inherent in the determination of who should have access to knowledge of syphilis. In a particularly interesting third chapter, Pietrzak-Franger argues that a shift from the semantics of disease definition to a metonymic account of contagion prompted anxieties revealed in works such as Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray. The final two chapters of the book treat disease management through architecture and urban planning, and the use of the figures of the syphilitic child and the syphilitic insane in discourses of civic duty.
The two other studies of medicine explore it in the context of disability studies. In Tuberculosis and Disabled Identity in Nineteenth Century Literature: Invalid Lives, Alex Tankard examines what it meant to be a consumptive between the years 1821, which saw the publication of an important treatise on pulmonary disease, and 1912, when legislation made notification of all cases of tuberculosis compulsory. After examining texts that adhere to sentimental and religious models of the consumptive, Tankard turns to books that resist such models: Emily Brontë's Wuthering Heights, Hardy's Jude the Obscure, and Beatrice Harraden's Ships That Pass in the Night. The first of these, Tankard argues, renders the consumptive stereotype absurd, the second highlights the role of social injustice in the consumptive's suffering, and the [End Page 1012] third, a romance between a disabled consumptive man and a New Woman, insists upon self-determination for both women and the disabled. Heather Tilley's Blindness and Writing: From Wordsworth to Gissing explores the increasing identification, over the course of the nineteenth century, of visuality and visual impairment with literacy. Blindness, Tilley notes, foregrounds the interrelation of literature and its percipient, and highlights the arbitrariness of the visual in the construction of literature. This arbitrariness was the more palpable to Victorians given the increasing availability of embossed literature and writing by the visually impaired. Interested both in cultural representations of blindness and in blindness as lived experience, the book traverses material and metaphoric domains. In her first chapter, Tilley develops a theoretical framework by considering blindness in phenomenological and idealist registers, focusing particularly on the figure of the blind person in Enlightenment philosophy. Subsequent chapters treat the development of embossed writing systems and seek to understand the experience of blindness through an examination of works by blind writers. Tilley also discusses canonical works, relating tropes of blindness in Wordsworth's works, for example, to his opthalmia.
This year saw the publication of several compelling studies concerned with politics in the traditional sense, all of which link literary forms, genres, and metaphors to Victorian political exigencies. The forms of Nathan Hensley's Forms of Empire: The Poetics of Victorian Sovereignty are not just sociopolitical but also literary constructs, and it is Hensley's use of form to forge connections between literature and liberal law that is the most striking feature of this book. Hensley's central claim is that the "scandalous intertwinement of violence and law"—an intertwinement most visible at the empire's peripheries—was the Victorian era's "constitutive antinomy" (p. 9), and that Victorian writers devised new literary forms in their efforts to come to terms with it. Thus, for instance, Hensley juxtaposes the Morant Bay massacre and the trial of Governor Edward Eyre with the structures of Swinburne's poetry to show that they rely on a similar formal logic. The scandal of Morant Bay revealed a mystification in the liberal account of law: even as Mill insisted that law and tyranny were fundamentally different, more critical commentators like James Fitzjames Stephen understood the apparent excesses of [End Page 1013] martial law to be inherent in law itself. The eroticized violence of Swinburne's contemporaneous Poems and Ballads romanticizes these excesses, implicitly challenging the progressivist claims of liberals like Mill. The poems do this not only in their subject matter but also in their form, a form at once tightly ordered and extravagant, symptomatized in the end-stopped couplets of "The Birch," scratched over and canceled out in manuscript with long, lash-like strokes. Swinburne's poetry reveals that, like Sappho's declaration of her capacity for God-like cruelty at the center of "Anactoria," violence lies at the heart of law. Hensley explores other literary responses to state violence in fascinating chapters that take us from George Eliot to H. Rider Haggard. The Mill on the Floss tells the story of the birth of modern law: Maggie Tulliver mediates between an old patriarchal order and the law that will displace it, and Hensley argues that her drowning is minimally narrated because it figures the catastrophic moment of law's emergence. That liberal law would rely, ultimately, on the Millian abstraction of persons themselves as inductive particulars, an abstraction later enshrined in the census. The logic of the census, however, entails inequity even as it proclaims its investment in equality, because those not "counted" become ejecta, and Hensley compellingly shows that in the sensation novel of the 1860s novelists like Collins allegorize this conflict of inclusion and abandonment in their plots. Finally, in a chapter on realism and romance, Hensley argues that romances of the 1880s do not provide "imaginary solutions to real problems" (p. 200) but reveal the struggle with violence at the heart of the liberal order; Haggard's She dramatizes the ostensibly just but violent instantiation of law. Original in its method, Forms of Empire also provides striking and original readings of the texts it treats.
Judith Stoddart, in Ruskin's Culture Wars: "Fors Clavigera" and the Crisis of Victorian Liberalism, also explores the politics of form, setting John Ruskin's idiosyncratic periodical in the context of critical debate in the 1870s. At that moment, Stod-dart argues, writers felt uncertain regarding the best way to conduct debate, much less resolve it. Working in defiance of the Metaphysical Society's abstract speculations and Arnold's ideal of disinterest, Ruskin produced a largely monological, relatively expensive, and self-consciously material and fragmented performance of authority. Situating Fors in the tradition of epistolary periodicals by Coleridge, Thomas Carlyle, and William Cobbett, Stoddart shows how Ruskin developed a contingent, but not disinterested, subject position, and adopted a positivist historical [End Page 1014] method only to subvert it. Form and genre are also a concern for Bo Earle; in his preface to Post-Personal Romanticism: Democratic Terror, Prosthetic Poetics, and the Comedy of Modern Ethical Life, he points to Donald Trump as a kind of shorthand name for what he calls "democratic terror," a state-sponsored violence that presents itself to us in comic form. Unlike tragedy, Earle argues, comedy seeks to unmask illusion, but presupposes the impossibility of any definitive unmasking. Our response to the comedy of terror that is modern life thus vacillates between sadness and a recognition of its ludicrous aspect. Earle urges us to make "our rhetoric … less arbitrarily and brutally comic, to mobilize … the queer, post-personal bonds animating the social 'masquerade'" (p. xi). For Earle, the Romantic lyric contended with precisely this challenge, developing out of its own failure to establish empathy as a morally foundational affect. In chapters treating the work of Wordsworth, Blake, Byron, and Keats, Earle attends to dramatizations of impasse: the failures of empathy, diagnosis, and meaningful distinction. Thus, for instance, he reads Byron's Marino Faliero as a species of comic metatragedy, a rumination on the tragic loss of tragedy itself, and he understands Percy Shelley's mature work as an effort to construct the failures of the Romantic lyric as themselves constitutive moments in the project of human sympathy.
In Victorian Liberalism and Material Culture: Synergies of Thought and Place, Kevin A. Morrison considers liberalism in relation to a single metaphor—that of the individual mind as a furnished room. But Morrison sets that metaphor in a material context, that of the physical spaces in which four liberal thinkers actually worked. Morrison argues, for example, that Mill developed his ideas regarding merit and the cultivation of truth in the context of his work at the East India Company, where the Correspondence Branch used quasi-meritocratic criteria for staffing, spatially divided intellectual and clerical labor, and provided a separate office, furnished according to his tastes, for the examiner, who enjoyed considerable autonomy. His office in India House was, for Mill, both a private and a public space, and one that prompted him to think through the complicated relationship of privacy to publicity. Similarly, Arnold, while he did not write at length about the Athenaeum Club, wrote letters from his favorite desk there. The classical architecture of the club, and the Hellenistic ideals it embodied, shielded Arnold from a hectic modern world, allowing him to reconsider the place of culture in political life. With John Morley, Morrison turns to the space of the home: Morley's was [End Page 1015] considered unusual in the simplicity of its furnishing—it was an interior designed to cultivate detachment and impersonality, crucial features of his liberal thought. Robert Browning, on the other hand, was a collector of artifacts from distant times and places, objects that "enabled the imaginative … dissolution of the barrier separating past from present" (p. 220). For all four men, space and design both fostered and reflected their ruminations on social relations. Julia F. Saville's Victorian Soul-Talk: Poetry, Democracy, and the Body Politic approaches politics from the opposite direction: rather than examine a metaphor grounded in materiality, she examines a pointedly immaterial one, that of the civil subject as "soul." Between the first and the third Reform Acts, metaphors of the soul were crucial to a discourse of transnational republicanism, mediating between eighteenth-century ideals of civic virtue and nineteenth-century accounts of character. Saville argues that the representation of the soul in poetry allowed for the navigation of material and immaterial considerations, ideal conceptions and embodied sensations. Her individual chapters trace manifestations of this concept of the civic soul in the poetry of Barrett Browning, Arthur Hugh Clough, Browning, Walt Whitman, and Swinburne.
With Gregory Vargo's An Underground History of Early Victorian Fiction: Chartism, Radical Print Culture, and the Social Problem Novel, we turn from liberalism to radicalism; Vargo seeks both to provide contextualized readings of radical texts and to establish a dialogue between those texts and the canonical social problem novel. As Vargo shows, radical culture was strongly tied to an expanding print culture, and radical writing was profoundly influenced by the serial format of the popular periodical: it was often formally fragmented and generically hybrid, intermixing fiction with news, or original fiction with commentary. This formal hybridity both modeled and prompted thoughtful, critical reading. Furthermore, radical writers revised the genres of the bildungsroman and the melodrama, shifting focus away from individual characters in order to describe suprapersonal social forces. In radical writing, Vargo argues, all characters are minor in the sense defined by Alex Woloch, with both heroes and villains reduced to pawns in a larger system of economic relations. The book falls into three sections, focused in turn on Poor Law, Chartist, and Internationalist debates. Within each section Vargo provides sensitive readings of works in the radical canon while also demonstrating the influence of such works on more broadly canonical Victorian writers, from Gaskell to Dickens. Drawing [End Page 1016] upon an extensive archive, Vargo does an impressive job of making it speak, attending to both its political and literary features and implications.
Most of this year's books that treat the politics of gender center on marriage and community. In their introduction to For Better, For Worse: Marriage in Victorian Novels by Women, Carolyn Lambert and Marion Shaw provide an overview of the range of issues that were taken up by advocates of women's rights in the nineteenth century: economic freedom, child custody rights, prohibitions against divorce, and limitations on women's public lives. An appendix with a timeline of key events, legislation, and texts highlights the purpose of the volume, to provide a legal and literary history of nineteenth-century marriage. The essays themselves are arranged chronologically and treat the dangers of conventional marriage, marital violence, feminist utopian fiction, the relation of marriage to imperial bonds, and the political affordances of the short-story form for women. Lucy Ella Rose's Suffragist Artists in Partnership: Gender, Word, and Image addresses the issue of marriage from a very different vantage, that of the egalitarian marriages of Mary and George Watts and Evelyn and William De Morgan. These were marriages characterized by collaboration, and the two couples also collaborated; taken together these four artists embodied a synthesis of arts befitting their involvement in the Arts and Crafts movement. They also shared an investment in feminist politics, and Rose uses newly available archival material to explore women's expanding opportunities in the arts and in political life. The Social Life of Criticism: Gender, Critical Writing, and the Politics of Belonging, by Kimberly J. Stern, examines the role of community in women's critical writing. As Stern reminds us, English criticism of the eighteenth century was conceived as a collective enterprise, set in the coffeehouse, club, or salon. Because these venues were gendered, as women sought to enter the domain of criticism they had not only to proclaim their critical abilities but also to reimagine these forms of sociality. Reading both women's criticism and representations of female critics, Stern tells a story of women's ongoing renegotiation of critical communities, showing that as the woman critic became a more familiar figure, she increasingly found herself "classified," often as unsexed or antisocial. In one of her most interesting chapters, Stern shows how George Eliot made use of the language of sociology [End Page 1017] to interrogate the critical coteries of her time. Ultimately, Stern argues, Eliza Lynn Linton and Vernon Lee Stern sought to develop a more flexible model of intellectual sociability, one that could transcend the categories of gender.
Lena Wånggren's Gender, Technology, and the New Woman, a study of the way new technologies at the turn of the century functioned as "freedom machines" (p. 3), is one of two monographs on the New Woman. Wånggren makes the point that since many canonical New Woman writers focus on interior states, their works typically speak less of the iconic role of new technologies than works of commercial fiction did; the interesting result is that the study is largely focused on writings by men. These books nevertheless embrace the liberatory possibilities of new technologies, even if they also register ambivalences regarding change. Thus, for instance, the use of the word "typewriter" to refer both to a machine and to its female operator points to the sometimes problematic agency the new machine conferred. Novels centered on the bicycle craze of the nineties often had conventional endings, but they also made the bicycle an emblem of democratization and female mobility. Similarly, popular novels imagined women doctors and detectives who were at once talented and replete with traditional feminine virtues. Alexandra Gray's Self-Harm in New Woman Writing looks to a darker side of the New Woman phenomenon: in women's fiction, the New Woman often feels disempowered and directs her anger and thwarted energy against herself. The book opens with an account of triple-decker novels in which the heroine's resistance takes the form of a passive-aggressive self-starvation, moves to novels in which women drink to excess in an effort to disrupt dichotomized visions of femininity, and finally examines short stories in which the heroine endeavors to rupture the public/private divide by violently rupturing her own body.
Éadaoin Agnew's Imperial Women Writers in Victorian India: Representing Colonial Life, 1850–1910 is one of two books that explore female power in the context of colonialism. Agnew studies writings by women who, after the Sepoy Rebellion, traveled to India with their husbands as part of a new phase of the colonial project, one in which a segregated British community would serve as the exemplar of British domesticity. As Agnew argues, these women's stories typically revolved around the orchestration of the private sphere: home decoration, managing servants, socializing, and entertaining. Although more conservative than the more adventurous, often single, female travelers of the period, Agnew argues that these writers were necessarily political: their performance [End Page 1018] of British femininity was their contribution to the construction of British imperial identity. That role, Agnew argues, gave these women increased confidence in their importance, and led them ultimately to challenge both imperial ideals and assumptions about the limits of female authority. Flora Annie Steel: A Critical Study of an Unconventional Memsahib, edited by Susmita Roye, gathers essays on the writer contemporaries called "the female Rudyard Kipling" (p. xii). The wife of a Civil Service officer who lived in India for twenty-two years, Steel learned some of the local languages and improved the lives of Indian women by providing medical aid and establishing girls' schools. The essays in this volume treat topics ranging from Steel's rewriting of women's role in the maintenance of British power to her sympathetic representation of the wit and creativity of Indian girls. The essays also reveal the generic range of Steel's writing, from her letters to newspapers to intervene in social policy to her use of cookbook writing to suggest analogies between domestic and colonial management.
IX. GLOBAL RELATIONS, GEOGRAPHY, AND SPACE
Like Flora Annie Steel and Imperial Women Writers, most of this year's studies of colonialism focus on writing by British settlers. Jason R. Rudy's Imagined Homelands: British Poetry in the Colonies argues both for the intrinsic interest of colonial poetry and for the centrality of poetry as a genre in colonial life. Settler colonialism demanded the construction of new communal identities, and Rudy powerfully demonstrates that poems were crucial to that construction. Memorable and portable, emigrants carried poetry with them and discovered it in the new worlds around them. Rudy begins with poems printed and distributed shipboard, poems that were often self-consciously imitative or parodic. These poems gestured backward and forward, relying upon a traditional English canon while also beginning the work of forging a new, colonial literature. Indeed, Rudy argues that the plagiarism that was so common in settler poetry was, in the colonial context, a virtue. Unattributed reproduction of British and American poems promised the reader an experience of affective continuity with home, while rewritings of canonical poems began the work of particularizing settler experience. In an especially interesting chapter, Rudy argues that poems written in dialect conjured community by virtue of their implicit localism and orality—hence, for instance, the popularity of poems in Scottish dialect. Several generations in, colonists still often felt only ambivalently identified [End Page 1019] with their new homelands, and sought to establish local "laureates" to consolidate their claims for a meaningful local culture. Ultimately, however, a surge of reidentification with Britain at the turn of the century led poets to experiment with verse forms that they believed reflected their Anglo-Saxon lineage while also embodying innovations peculiar to their new national contexts.
Manu Samriti Chander's Brown Romantics: Poetry and Nationalism in the Global Nineteenth Century tells a similar story of colonial self-definition through poetry, describing a global Romanticism focused around the Romantic notion of the poet as legislator. Chander studies three poets—Indian Henry Derozio, Afro-Guianese Egbert Martin, and Australian Henry Lawson—arguing that all three "struggled to achieve the status of legislators in their own right in order to challenge the dominance of English poets, mobilizing Romanticism against Romanticism" (p. 3). He calls these writers "brown" not to describe their ethnicity but their location on the colonial and canonical periphery. The challenge in producing a study like this is in making it coherent; the fact that the canonical term Romanticism serves as the category that binds together these three geographically, temporally, politically, and aesthetically distinct poets is its own kind of irony. It's fitting, then, that Chander interrogates the category itself; ultimately, he seeks not just to globalize Romanticism but to redefine it. Each of Chander's three poets contributes to this redefinition in his own way. Derozio's poetic persona resembles the bardic national poet even as he displays a cosmopolitan sensibility. In Martin's poetry, the Romantic ideal of beauty is continually reshaped by its alignment with Christian faith. Chander finds in Lawson, champion of the Australian workingman, a Romantic poet become realist. Lawson advocates a communal version of Romantic sympathy—one that relies, however, on an antipathy directed at Aborigines and Chinese, and Chander argues that such antipathies are in fact the unavowed correlate of Romantic sympathy. Here as elsewhere, the juxtapositions Chander produces give rise to some interesting insights: thus, for instance, as different as Martin is from canonical English poets, his poetry makes the missionary character of canonical Romanticism more apparent. Candace Ward tackles the problem of settler self-definition in novels: Crossing the Line: Early Creole Novels and Anglophone Caribbean Culture in the Age of Emancipation takes its name from the carnivalesque rituals performed on ships crossing the Tropic of Cancer or the Equator on their way to the colonies. This line-crossing provides the metaphoric keynote for Ward; regarded by [End Page 1020] metropolitan contemporaries as something less or other than true Britons, white creoles posed a category problem, one that novelists sought to negotiate by proclaiming the value of their work as first-hand observers of Caribbean life and presenting their critics' representations of their moral degeneracy as misguided fiction. The book begins with novels written by white members of the slaveholding elite and closes by considering post-Emancipation novels that pushed back against those earlier fictions, offering new models for Caribbean historiography.
Jenn Fuller's Dark Paradise: Pacific Islands in the Nineteenth-Century British Imagination is one of two books that examine metropolitan representations of the peripheries. Fuller plots a trajectory of changing attitudes toward Pacific Islanders and the islands themselves: the first stories to emerge from colonial contact were missionary narratives, but those narratives became, with time, more secularized as the islands became an ideal setting for an emergent genre of boy's fiction. Writings of the end of the century, such as those by Stevenson and Joseph Conrad, would suggest that European invasion brought not religious salvation but disease and violence. Scientific accounts, on the other hand, led to a construction of the islands as evidence for the capacity of all men to become savages. In a final chapter, Fuller looks at works by Pacific Islanders that circulated in Britain, arguing that they tell yet another, but similarly complicated, story about the effects of the British presence in the South Pacific. Robert D. Aguirre's Mobility and Modernity: Panama in the Nineteenth-Century Anglo-American Imagination explores the British perception of nineteenth-century Panama as a place to pass through, a transit point. Associated with speed and efficiency, Panama was the locus of a conception of modernity itself, and Aguirre reconstructs this imperial vision of Panama alongside indigenous accounts that complicated it. The book is thus part Panamanian history, part history of modernity, and part aesthetic history. It begins with an account of the building of the Panama Railroad and its importance in establishing U.S. hegemony, then turns to Trollope's survey of communication routes in the region. In a particularly interesting chapter on Eadweard Muybridge's photographs of Panama, commissioned by a steamship company to promote tourism, Aguirre explores the significance of Muybridge's famous studies of motion in a colonial context: in these photographs, Muybridge's fascination with movement is complicated by race and sexuality. In a final chapter, Aguirre studies the poetry of James Stanley Gilbert, a writer regarded as the "Kipling of the isthmus," but who was, [End Page 1021] Aguirre argues, far more ambivalent regarding U.S. dominance in the region than critics have acknowledged.
Traveling Irishness in the Long Nineteenth Century, edited by Marguérite Corporaal and Christina Morin, seeks to understand ethnic identification in relation to what the editors call "ethnic mobility" (p. 1) and is one of three books to examine issues of self-definition within and among European cultures. The essays in this collection treat both the act and the representation of travel during the period between Harold Grattan's Parliament and the start of WWI. The traveling in question is not just physical movement but also cultural interaction, translation, transnational collaboration, and the transcultural reception of a conception of Irishness. The essays thus treat Irish travel literature and depictions of traveling Irish men and women in fiction as well as the migration of Irish people and Irish genres. Matthew L. Reznicek, in The European Metropolis: Paris and Nineteenth-Century Irish Women Novelists, examines Irish women writers' relationship to modernity, one complicated by the association of Irish literature with the rural and traditional. These writers, Reznicek argues, use Paris as a lens through which to tackle debates regarding the meaning, value, and significance for women of capitalist modernity. Spain in British Romanticism, 1800–1840, edited by Diego Saglia and Ian Haywood, follows the fortunes of the English conception of Spain from the "rediscovery" of Spain during the Peninsular War to the Spanish rebellion of the early 1820s. Newly understood as a place of political renewal, Spain became the subject of both factual inquiry and fantastic imaginings, and the essays in this volume explore the image of—and in a few cases the experience of—Spain for canonical and noncanonical writers.
Finally, two books take space itself as their subject. In Writing the Stage Coach Nation: Locality on the Move in Nineteenth-Century British Literature, Ruth Livesey argues that Victorians spatialized the recent past, conceiving it as nonlinear. This temporal mapping, Livesey contends, was achieved by understanding the nation not in terms of the homogenizing effects of rail travel but in terms of the localism preserved by the stagecoach. Indeed, Livesey suggests that for contemporaries stagecoach travel figured history itself, in all its unevenness and jostling. In the novels Livesey treats, this spatialized history is manifest as a "portable hyperlocalism" (p. 7), and Livesey compellingly claims that it was this portable quality that made it possible for pointedly localized fictions to enjoy international popularity and assuage the pervasive homesickness that would ultimately be defined as nostalgia. In her [End Page 1022] individual chapters, Livesey outlines the narrative and metaphoric significance of the stagecoach for both Romantic and Victorian writers: in Scott's fiction, disruptions to stagecoach travel allow local attachments to flourish; for Hazlitt, the stagecoach system signified the binding together of the nation, while for Cobbett it was a symbol of government corruption; in his Pickwick Papers, Dickens makes much of the visual iconography of the stagecoach, which serves him as an image not just of physical but also social mobility. As the railway displaced it, Dickens increasingly used the stagecoach to foreground the value of stopping points redolent with history, and George Eliot, in Felix Holt, used the vanished stagecoach to figure modern abstraction. In their introduction to Dickens and the Virtual City: Urban Perception and the Production of Social Space, Estelle Murail and Sara Thornton consider the range of metaphors and techniques Dickens used to construct urban space, techniques that, they argue, continue to resonate in literature, film, art, and photography. The essays are grouped in three sets: those that challenge official maps, those that overlay distinct urban worlds on one another, and those that show Dickens reinventing urban tropes.
X. ECOCRITICISM AND ANIMAL STUDIES
With David Higgins's British Romanticism, Climate Change, and the Anthropocene: Writing Tambora we turn to consider globalism and localism as perceived through an ecological lens. The book is organized around three sets of texts: the British government's narrative of the 1815 eruption of Tambora in Java, writings by Byron and the Shelleys from the summer of 1816, and periodical essays about the economic distresses of 1816–17. The eruption serves Higgins as a "case study for looking at the cultural history of catastrophe as a discursive-material entanglement" (p. 14). While not claiming that Byron or the Shelleys knew of Tambora, Higgins considers their collaborative rumination on the fragility of human life and the possibility of catastrophe to be part of what he calls an assemblage of literary, political, and geological discourses. In Byron's Nature: A Romantic Vision of Cultural Ecology, J. Andrew Hubbell also argues for the significance of networks, extending the critical account of Romantic ecology—traditionally centered on "ecolocalism, organicism, and the natural sublime" (p. 1)—by supplementing it with the systems ecology he finds in Byron's writing. He begins by outlining what he calls Byron's acclimatization theory, a theory of the mutual influence of nature and culture [End Page 1023] in particular regions. Hubbell argues that Byron's critique of the Lake Poets' account of nature signals not his lack of concern with nature but his insistence that it be understood in relation to culture. Byron's ecological insights are, for Hubbell, intimately tied to his account of freedom, which can only be enacted within a network of relationships. Ultimately, then, Hubbell argues that Byron's is a dynamic and cosmopolitan ecological vision, one well suited to current concerns with such matters as environmental justice. Romantic Sustainability: Endurance and the Natural World, 1780–1830 aims to encompass what editor Ben P. Robertson calls "the entire life cycle" (p. xi) of Romantic creation, from inspiration to fears of apocalypse. At their best, the essays use their focus on the environment to give us a fresh perspective on Romantic writing. Thus, for instance, Seth T. Reno's "Romantic Clouds: Climate, Affect, Hyperobjects" tracks the Romantic fascination with clouds in painting and poetry, arguing for their aptness as signifiers of both affect and environmental awareness.
As editor Wendy Parkins explains, Victorian Sustainability in Literature and Culture addresses issues of both environmental and psychological sustainability. The volume's first essay discusses the complexities of the term "sustainability" itself, arguing that Mill "foreshadowed an understanding of sustainability as anything but stationary" (p. 6). Subsequent essays treat sustainability in economic relations; in socialist writings, where people and human communities are understood as part of nature; in Christian writings, as in Christina Rossetti's representation of whales as fellow creatures rather than in need of man's dominion; and in writings that use natural metaphors—like the tidal Thames or tentacular arms—to describe urban interconnectedness. Victorian Ecocriticism: The Politics of Place and Early Environmental Justice, edited by Dewey Hall, concerns itself with environmental justice in relation to the Victorian politics of place. That is, it is interested in the environmental implications of regarding all persons as equal stakeholders in their shared environment. The first part focuses on contested spaces in the British Isles; the second, on environmental exploitation in Australia, Newfoundland, and America.
Laurence W. Mazzeno and Ronald D. Morrison's Animals in Victorian Literature and Culture: Contexts for Criticism is one of two works in Victorian animal studies. The editors remind us of the varied contexts in which the issue of the treatment of animals arose, from the increasing popularity of pet keeping, animal menageries, and sporting periodicals, to the heated debates regarding the humane treatment of animals and the ethical implications of [End Page 1024] Darwinism. The essays treat both real and represented animals and reflect a range of disciplinary protocols. They investigate the challenges of collecting animals for imperial archivists, Trollope's representation of European livestock as worthy of displacing indigenous Australian fauna, the way a phrase like "photographed from life" was rendered ironic when applied to a dog in danger of euthanasia, the ethical implications of the exotic animal trade for understanding Goblin Market, and the fusion of fears of an invasion by a North American beetle with anxieties regarding the political ambitions of the New Woman. Keridiana W. Chez's Victorian Dogs, Victorian Men: Affect and Animals in Nineteenth-Century Literature and Culture takes as its starting point the redefinition of the dog-human relationship as a result of the rise of bourgeois pet keeping. Chez argues that dogs served as emotional prostheses, functioning first as affective mediators for whole families and later as companions for individual men. This new relationship to dogs reflected a growing belief that affective capacity was not simply a mark of good breeding but central to the definition of the human. Chez's arguments are nuanced with sensitive readings of literary texts ranging from poems to Bram Stoker's Dracula.
XI. GENRE STUDIES
As we've seen, many books this year discuss genre in relation to politics or history; only a few tackle genre in terms of the genealogy and definition of specific generic forms. Stefanie Markovits's The Victorian Verse-Novel: Aspiring to Life sets the popularity of narrative poems such as Aurora Leigh in the context of the contemporary demand for novels and the growing association of poetry generally with lyric interiority. Her book's greatest strength, however, lies in the flexible methodology she brings to her readings of specific poems. Thus she examines the narrative temporality of the verse-novel in relation to the extended temporality of marriage, the institution on which it typically focuses, but she also shows that the verse-novel shares a conceptual link with adulterous marriage, the erotic counterpart to generic hybridity. Using a different methodological lens, she builds a fascinating argument about the use of objects to think through generic affordances: in Tennyson's Idylls of the King and Robert Browning's The Ring and the Book, gems become figures for circular lyric intensity while square books conjure the linearity of narrative. A chapter on travel examines the power of the travel narrative to disrupt narrative telos itself, and a final chapter explores the [End Page 1025] suitability of the verse-novel to postbellum American culture. In Representing Realists in Victorian Literature and Criticism, Daniel Brown takes a fresh approach to the problem of defining realism: he focuses on representations, both critical and literary, of the realist artist. Because realism first gained traction as a critical term in the domain of painting, the "realist artist" is, most often, a painter, even in the works of novelists and poets. Genuinely interdisciplinary, the book maps a developmental trajectory that is rather different from normative accounts of realism because it takes its bearings from developments that originated in painting and were only later co-opted by writers. This narrative begins with the importation of the French term réalisme into English as a label for Pre-Raphaelite painting. Although often allegorical, the attention to quotidian detail in early PRB painting was noted—often derisively—by critics, and was understood to be opposed to idealization. The label was then applied to writing: critic David Masson used the term to distinguish the novels of William Makepeace Thackeray from those of Dickens. Just as Pre-Raphaelite painters struggled with the tension between literal and metaphorical in their painting, so English writers interrogated the aesthetics and the ethics of what they increasingly called realist representation. Thus Barrett Browning, in Aurora Leigh, uses her artist characters—painter and poet—to legitimate realist practice; Kingsley uses an artist character to explore the ethics of an empiricist representation of persons; and Robert Browning and George Eliot insist on the Renaissance painter's powers of observation to argue for the high art status of realism. Finally, Brown argues that Collins and Mary Elizabeth Braddon used artist figures to demonstrate a surprising kinship between realist and sensation fiction. In Bernard Shaw, W. T. Stead, and the New Journalism: Whitechapel, Parnell, "Titanic," and the Great War, Nelson O'Ceallaigh Ritschel explores George Bernard Shaw's journalism from the 1880s through WWI, arguing that Shaw not only played an important role in the modernization of journalism but also that his playwriting career and political activism sprang directly from his experience as a journalist. Ritschel claims that just as Shaw produced his drama in reaction to the writings of other dramatists, so his work as a journalist was a response to the writing of one of the most important figures of New Journalism, W. T. Stead. [End Page 1026]
XII. AUTHOR STUDIES
We turn now to single-author studies, many of which explicitly address the issue of canonicity. Thomas Moore and Romantic Inspiration: Poetry, Music, and Politics presents essays that, taken together, argue for Moore's significance to the Romantic and Irish literary canons. In their introduction Sarah McCleave and BrianG. Caraher emphasize Moore's versatility as a writer and the reach of his influence, suggesting that his Irishness contributed to his peripheral status in the Romantic canon while his consistent thematic focus on tolerance rendered him an easy target for modernist complaints that his work was sentimental and artificial. The essayists in this volume aim to recover the political and aesthetic complexities of Moore's work, focusing on the social implications of his writing and the relationships between his poetry and music. In his introduction to "Inspiring a Mysterious Terror": 200 Years of Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu, Jarlath Killeen explicitly sets Le Fanu's legacy in the context of the contingencies of the literary tourism industry. Killeen and fellow editor Valeria Cavalli aim to enrich that legacy by offering a multisided Le Fanu, a man who was more than just the author of "Carmilla": a writer who was knowledgeable regarding European art, involved in contemporary debates, aware of changes in print culture, and engaged in thoughtful spiritual reflection.
Both monographs on Clare speak to Clare's peripheral status vis-à-vis canonical Romanticism. Adam White, in John Clare's Romanticism, tackles this issue head-on. Rather than question the coherence of Romanticism as a category, he argues that features of canonical Romantic poetics can also be found in Clare's work. He begins by noting explicit references in Clare's writing to canonical poets and explores Clare's use of key Romantic concepts. He argues that Clare understands fancy as capable of leading to transcendence; that he conceives of the sublimity of time in a manner reminiscent of Byron; and that his interest in ruins and childhood joy mark him as reflective in the manner of such writers as Lamb, Coleridge, and Keats. Finally, White argues for the influence of Robert Burns on Clare, delineating a version of lyricism that White argues was important not only for Clare but for Romantic writers generally. Simon Kövesi, in John Clare: Nature, Criticism, and History, takes a different approach to what he calls the emplacement of Clare, arguing that treatments of Clare as a poet of place, a down-to-earth local poet, are tinged with class associations and necessarily limit our view of [End Page 1027] the larger interests that shaped his poetry. In particular, Kövesi is concerned that ecocritical celebrations of Clare have been insufficiently attuned to the particulars and politics of Clare's account of interconnectedness. For Kövesi, Clare's resistance to egoism is a politicized development of Hazlitt's and Keats's notion of the non-egotistical poet and should lie at the heart of any theory of Clare's status as a "green" poet. At the same time, Kövesi underscores the fact that Clare's decentered vision of the environment is not organicist—it aims not at unification but at producing a constantly shifting set of associations. Building on this account of Clare's vision of the environment, Kövesi argues for the value of a new approach toward editing Clare: rather than smoothing Clare's texts for easier consumption or primitivizing them through a minimalist intervention, editors should produce a decentered, hypertextual edition of Clare. Such an edition, Kövesi argues, would provide us what might be called a "green" vision of Clare.
The Leslie A. Marchand Memorial Lectures, 2000–2015: A Legacy in Byron Studies gathers together a broad range of essays on Byron, editing, and Marchand himself. As editor Katherine Kernberger points out, Marchand resurrected Byron from critical neglect by the work he did as his biographer, as the editor of his letters and journals, and as a supporter of the Byron Society. Following three pieces on the extraordinary quality of Marchand's mentorship are essays, both formal and informal, by writers ranging from editors and critics to psychiatrists and playwrights. All speak to Marchand's enduring legacy as editor, biographer, teacher, and colleague. Peter Cheyne, editor of Coleridge and Contemplation, points out that scholarship on Coleridge has been so focused on his account of the imagination that it has neglected his more mature ruminations on ideas of reason. This volume brings together literary critics and philosophers to generate new accounts of Coleridge's mature philosophical thinking. The essays treat not only such issues as the contemplative experience of poetry, the religious dimension of aesthetic experience, the truth-directed character of imagination, and meditation while walking in nature, but also Coleridge's thought in relation to Platonism, John Dewey, utilitarianism, philanthropy, physiology, and theology.
Given space constraints, I'll mention only a couple of this year's biographies. In the first pages of his introduction to The Transferred Life of George Eliot: The Biography of a Novelist, Philip Davis explains why he titled the book as he did: his aim was to understand George Eliot's "life through her work because it was to her work that she transferred and dedicated her life, belatedly, [End Page 1028] in her late 30s" (p. 2). The book is organized around the making of "George Eliot"; Davis thus reads the life through the literature, understanding George Eliot as "her own greatest character" (p. 2). At once scrupulous, thoughtful, and empathetic, the book enacts the passionate intellectual sympathy that is its subject. In his biography Oscar Wilde: The Unrepentant Years, Nicholas Frankel offers a reconsideration of Wilde's time in prison and in exile. Challenging the view that Wilde's spirit was broken in these later years, Frankel offers evidence that Wilde was determined to remain the antinomian he had always been. Indeed, Frankel argues that "far from being a personal tragedy, Wilde's unrepentant years were the completion of him as a man and as a man of letters" (p. 21). Along the way, Frankel provides a richly contextualized account of The Ballad of Reading Gaol and De Profundis. (Frankel's Annotated Prison Writings of Oscar Wilde, also published this year, functions as a kind of companion volume, reprinting not only De Profundis and Reading Gaol but also Wilde's clemency petition and two letters to the Daily Chronicle. These documents are illustrated and richly annotated with facing-page notes.) Philosophy and Oscar Wilde takes as its provocation the recent and immanent publication of Wildean notebooks on the subject of philosophy. This collection, edited by Michael Y. Bennett, constitutes a valuable addition to our knowledge of Wilde's influences and the development of his thought over time. Some of the essays examine Wilde's writings on philosophy, while others find in Wilde anticipations of later philosophies, such as Richard Rorty's pragmatism and Bertrand Russell's account of reference. In one of the most novel of the essays, Jerusha McCormack reconstructs Wilde's knowledge of Zhuangzi, and links the antisystematic character of Wilde's thought to that of Daoism.
XIII. COMPANIONS AND EDITIONS
The Cambridge Companion to "Dracula," deftly introduced and edited by Roger Luckhurst, wears its mantle as a reference text lightly. As Luckhurst remarks, the vampire is a "mobile metaphor" (p. 2), and this companion aims to provide the long view of Stoker's creation, with three essays on gothic predecessors and three on Dracula's afterdeath on stage and film. At the center of the book are essays on Dracula in relation to the occult, psychology, sexology, migration, sacramentalism, gender, sexuality, the object world, and nationalism. The Edinburgh Companion to Finde-Siècle Literature, Culture, and the Arts, despite its designation [End Page 1029] as a companion, aims to unsettle rather than consolidate our conception of the fin-de-siècle as a period designation: as editor Josephine M. Guy explains, "a key concern of the present volume has been to explore whether and how attending to micro- rather than macro-cultural issues troubles the grand narratives with which we have become familiar" (p. 7).
I received many valuable new editions of primary works, but have space to mention only a few of them here. The Illustrated Letters of Richard Doyle to His Father, 1842–1843 is a delightful book, and beautifully edited. Previously published only in brief extracts, the letters are reproduced in facsimile, transcribed, and fully annotated. Fifteen of the pages are reproduced photographically so the reader can get a better sense of the fineness of the drawing and Doyle's lovely use of watercolor. Written as an assignment of sorts—three pages due every week and "posted" to his father despite the fact that Doyle lived with him—the letters served both as a medium for reflection and as an apprenticeship for the work Doyle would later do as an illustrator for Punch. The letters are by turns charming and funny, while the illustrations range in style from the realistic to the surreal and grotesque. Grant F. Scott's editorial work adds enormously to the letters' value, providing as it does significant new discoveries regarding Doyle's personal life and a thorough account of the way the letters change over time. Jim Davis has edited a second volume of Dickensian Dramas, a selection of plays inspired by Dickens's writings. The volume includes a thorough introduction describing Victorian dramatic practices and reprints seven plays, each with its own introduction. Extensive annotations are provided in the convenient form of footnotes, along with contemporary illustrations. Tony Laing's Dickens's Working Notes for "Dombey and Son" offers an extraordinarily thorough editorial apparatus, extensive introductions and appendices, and beautifully reproduced facsimiles and color-coded text. The organization of the book is perspicuous in a way that allows it to be authoritative in its details without being overwhelming.
Three new editions provide access to noncanonical novels. Peter Merchant's edition of F. Anstey's The Statement of Stella Maberly includes the novella itself along with three texts from Anstey's manuscripts. Merchant's introduction contextualizes the four texts and highlights the way their different generic protocols influence the way we read the tale: framed as a personal statement, it appears to be an account of madness, while presented as a novel or film it becomes a story of demonic possession. Tabitha [End Page 1030] Sparks's edition of Margaret Harkness's slum novel A City Girl will also be appreciated by Victorianists, as it makes available a strikingly nonjudgmental tale of poverty, seduction, and abandonment, supplementing it with documents on London's East End, reform societies, and fallen women. Mark Frost has edited a critical edition of Richard Jefferies's After London; or Wild England. This unusual novel does not fit neatly into typical generic categories: an innovative work of science fiction, it also has the qualities of a medieval romance and a dystopian Darwinian novel. Its apocalyptic narrative gives it an uncannily modern character, and its interest in changing states of nature makes it, as Frost argues, one of the first novels of the Anthropocene.
These and other new editions—and the roughly 150 works of criticism I received—suggest that even in this moment of changing media ecologies both the audiences and the publishers of literature and criticism remain. Prior reviewers have noted a reduction in university press publication, and that trend continues. That said, I was struck by the sheer number of books produced this year, from editions to essay collections to monographs. Moreover, and notwithstanding the trend toward online publication, many of these books are beautiful, lavishly produced volumes that reflect the investment in literature that not just critics but also publishers and consumers are still willing to make. As English departments struggle to keep their majors and get "butts in seats," it is some solace that, as the many volumes on Austen fandom, literary tourism, and neo-Victorianism attest, the popular interest in nineteenth-century literature might be on the rise rather than the reverse. [End Page 1031]
Andrea Henderson is Professor of English at the University of California, Irvine. She is the author of Romantic Identities: Varieties of Subjectivity, 1774–1830 (1996) and Romanticism and the Painful Pleasures of Modern Life (2008). Her most recent book, Algebraic Art: Mathematical Formalism and Victorian Culture (2018), is a study of formal abstraction in Victorian mathematics and literature.