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The Victorian Novel and the Space of Art
Fictional Form on Display


Part of Cambridge Studies in Nineteenth-Century Literature and Culture

  • Date Published: September 2016
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107621268

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About the Authors
  • This interdisciplinary study argues for the vital importance of visual culture as a force shaping the Victorian novel's formal development and reading history. It shows how authors like Charles Dickens, William Makepeace Thackeray, Wilkie Collins and Thomas Hardy borrowed language and conceptual formations from art world spaces - the art market, the museum, the large-scale exhibition, and art critical discourse - not only when they chose certain subjects or refined certain aspects of realism, but also when they tried to adapt various genres of the novel for a new and newly vociferous mass audience. Quandaries specific to new forms of public display affected authors' sense of their relationship with their own public. Debates about how best to appreciate a new mass of visual information impacted authors' sense of how people read, and consequently the development of particular novel forms like the multi-plot novel, the historical novel, the sensation novel, and fin-de-siècle fiction.

    • Proposes a new way to think about the relationship between the Victorian novel and visual art
    • Will appeal to those interested in book history and in the development of particular novel forms, including multi-plot, historical, sensation and fin-de-siècle
    • Shows how authors like Dickens, Thackeray, Collins and Hardy borrowed language and conceptual formations from art world spaces
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'The Victorian Novel and the Space of Art takes a new and highly original approach to the study of Victorian fiction.' Leonee Ormond, Dickens Quarterly

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    Product details

    • Date Published: September 2016
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107621268
    • length: 260 pages
    • dimensions: 230 x 155 x 15 mm
    • weight: 0.39kg
    • contains: 11 b/w illus.
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Introduction: seeing how the Victorians saw
    1. Terms of art: reading the Dickensian gallery
    2. The difficulty of historical work in the nineteenth-century museum and the Thackeray novel
    3. 'Truly it was astonishing': the exhibition, the sensation novel, and the culture of the spectacular
    4. 'The interesting subject of the art of the future': Thomas Hardy and the historicity of taste
    Conclusion: rethinking how we see the Victorians

  • Author

    Dehn Gilmore, California Institute of Technology
    Dehn Gilmore is Assistant Professor of English at the California Institute of Technology.

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