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Public and Private Value
Studies in the Nineteenth-Century Novel


  • Date Published: February 2010
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521128759

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About the Authors
  • Originally published in 1984, this book argues that there is an inherited suspicion from the nineteenth-century that the historical novel after Scott is essentially a 'costume' affair, a dashing tale of times of old, suited only to minor talents and undiscerning readers. Though Scott inaugurated the period of the novel's greatest accomplishments, the specific tradition he founded seems to peter out into relative sterility. This book challenges such a view, and in doing so, offers a major reappraisal of the mainstream Victorian novel. Peter Smith argues that Scott's abiding concern was with the nature of historical change, not in remote but in modern times, and that a similar concern is equally fundamental to Dickens, Flaubert, Henry James and Conrad. In a series of readings of Little Dorrit, L'education sentimentale, Bouvard et Pecuchet, The Princess Casamassima, The Ambassadors and Nostromo, he offers a fresh interpretation not only of these works but of their authors' careers as a whole showing how each of them accommodated personal perceptions and stories of private life to an examination of public values and political upheavals.

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    Product details

    • Date Published: February 2010
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521128759
    • length: 256 pages
    • dimensions: 216 x 140 x 15 mm
    • weight: 0.33kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introduction to the turn of a century
    2. Little Dorrit: new values for old terms
    3. L'Education sentimentale: history as an allegory of love
    4. Bouvard et Pecuchet: privacy revisited
    5. The Princess Casamassima: James' address to the public
    6. The Ambassadors: the history of morality and beauty
    7. Nostromo: a tale of Europe
    8. The synthesis breaks down: remarks in conclusion

  • Author

    Peter Smith

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