Abstract

Abstract:

This essay addresses the emergence of the Victorian novel. Rather than assuming the genre’s natural or inevitable occurrence, I examine the ways in which William Makepeace Thackeray borrowed from his predecessors, Catherine Gore and Harriet Martineau, whose respective exploitation of the silver fork genre and the domestic novel enabled Thackeray to seize a historical moment in which fashionable fiction underwent its demise and the domestic novel emerged. This pivotal moment in literary history also witnessed the historical shift from consanguineal to conjugal family form; alterations in ideologies of marriage, gender, and property; and the possibility of generic transformation and reinvention. Given the instability of generic forms in the 1830s and 1840s, Thackeray also repurposed and hybridized fashionable and domestic fiction, as he modernized both for the 1840s Victorian novel.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1527-2052
Print ISSN
0042-5222
Pages
pp. 629-652
Launched on MUSE
2019-12-30
Open Access
No
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