Proposing the concept of transformation as a key to understanding the Victorian period, this collection explores the protean ways in which the nineteenth century conceived of, responded to, and created change. The volume focuses on literature, particularly issues related to genre, nationalism, and desire. For example, the essays suggest that changes in the novel's form correspond with shifting notions of human nature in Victor Hugo's Notre-Dame de Paris; technical forms such as the villanelle and chant royal are crucial bridges between Victorian and Modernist poetics; Victorian theater moves from privileging the text to valuing the spectacles that characterized much of Victorian staging; Carlyle's Past and Present is a rallying cry for replacing the static and fractured language of the past with a national language deep in shared meaning; Dante Gabriel Rossetti posits unachieved desire as the means of rescuing the subject from the institutional forces that threaten to close down and subsume him; and the return of Adelaide Anne Procter's fallen nun to the convent in "A Legend of Provence" can be read as signaling a more modern definition of gender and sexuality that allows for the possibility of transgressive desire within society. The collection concludes with an essay that shows neo-Victorian authors like John Fowles and A. S. Byatt contending with the Victorian preoccupations with gender and sexuality.
Table of Contents
Contents: Introduction, Bianca Tredennick; We were never human: monstrous forms of 19th-century fiction, Ian Duncan; Violence, terror and the transformation of genre in Mary Barton, Brian Cooney; 'Nothing will make me distrust you': the pastoral transformed in Anthony Trollope's The Small House at Allington (1864), Deborah Denenholz Morse; On or about July 1877, Michael D. Hurley; Victorian theater in the 1850s and the transformation of literary consciousness, Julianne Smith; Reading cant, transforming the nation: Carlyle's Past and Present, Erin M. Goss; Resurrecting Redgauntlet: the transformation of Walter Scott's nationalist revenants in Bram Stoker's Dracula, Siobhan Carroll; Dante Gabriel Rossetti: remarketing desire, Julie Carr; Transforming the fallen woman in Adelaide Anne Procter's 'A Legend of Provence', Scott Rogers; The owl flies again: reviving and transforming Victorian rhetorics of literary crisis in the internet age, Mark Meritt; Feminine endings: neo-Victorian transformations of the Victorian, Louisa Hadley; Index.
'This richly textured collection of essays offers compelling insight into how Victorian authors and audiences sought radically to repackage their literary and cultural heritage. Each contributor fuses a detailed alertness to social, political and historical contexts with an eloquent stress on a model of close reading that recognizes - and respects - the challenges of unscrambling the ideological and the aesthetic in representation. Highly recommended.' Andrew Radford, University of York, UK 'Victorian Transformations does encourage many [...] interesting ways for thinking about texts, contexts, and scholarly practices. Ultimately, this book usefully proves that transition still works well as the Victorianist’s frame of mind.' Victorian Studies