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Time and the Moment in Victorian Literature and Society

$32.99 (C)

Part of Cambridge Studies in Nineteenth-Century Literature and Culture

  • Author: Sue Zemka, University of Colorado Boulder
  • Date Published: August 2014
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107442559

$ 32.99 (C)

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About the Authors
  • Sudden changes, opportunities or revelations have always carried a special significance in western culture, from the Greek and later the Christian kairos to Evangelical experiences of conversion. This fascinating book explores the ways in which England, under the influence of industrializing forces and increased precision in assessing the passing of time, attached importance to moments and events that compress great significance into small units of time. Sue Zemka questions the importance that modernity invests in momentary events, from religion to aesthetics and philosophy. She argues for a strain in Victorian and early modern novels critical of the values the age invested in moments of time, and suggests that such novels also offer a correction to contemporary culture and criticism, with its emphasis on the momentary event as an agency of change.

    • Proposes a new view of temporality in nineteenth-century fiction and thought
    • Studies a wide range of source materials from art history, philosophy, psychology, economics and photography
    • Avoids the specialized terminology of cultural theory, but employs and explains the concepts
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    Reviews & endorsements

    "Ambitious in scope and at times edgily contentious in tone, Zemka's book centers on the figure of the "moment," which she defines as a time of heightened perception, of religious or aesthetic illumination, or of other sudden, meaningful eruption into the flow of the increasingly rationalized or abstract time of modern capitalist society."
    Recent Studies in the Nineteenth Century

    "… sophisticated and compelling … [An] ambitious and stimulating study … that makes one rethink the nature of Victorian fiction."
    Nick Daly, Victorian Studies

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    Product details

    • Date Published: August 2014
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107442559
    • length: 302 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 16 mm
    • weight: 0.41kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. A brief history of the moment
    2. The economic mediation of time
    3. Pie'd: the moment in mid-Victorian working-class fiction
    4. Dickens' peripatetic novels
    5. Adam Bede and the redemption of time
    6. Daniel Deronda: Eliot's anti-epiphanic novel
    7. Panic in Lord Jim
    Conclusion: lost duration.

  • Author

    Sue Zemka, University of Colorado Boulder
    Sue Zemka is Associate Professor of English at the University of Colorado, Boulder.

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