Charles Dickens called his sister-in-law Georgina Hogarth his ‘best and truest friend’. Georgina saw Dickens as much more than a friend. They lived together for twenty-eight-years, during which time their relationship constantly changed. The sister of his wife Catherine, the sharp and witty Georgina moved into the Dickens home aged fifteen. What began as a father–daughter relationship blossomed into a genuine rapport, but their easy relations were fractured when Dickens had a mid-life crisis and determined to rid himself of Catherine. Georgina’s refusal to leave Dickens and his desire for her to remain in his household led to rumours of an affair and even illegitimate children. He left her nearly £1 million and all his personal papers in his will. Georgina’s commitment to Dickens was unwavering but it is far from clear what he did to deserve such loyalty. There were several occasions when he misused her in order to protect his public reputation. Why did Georgina betray her once much-loved sister? Why did she fall out with her family and risk her reputation in order to stay with Dickens? And why did the Dickenses’ daughter Katey say it was ‘the greatest mistake ever’ to invite a sister-in-law to live with a family?
In the early gothic literature of the eighteenth century danger lurked in the darkness beneath the pointed arches of gothic buildings. During the nineteenth century, there was a progressive, although never complete, dislocation of gothic literary readings from gothic architecture. This article explores a phase in that development through discussion of a series of dark illustrations produced by Hablot Knight Browne to illustrate novels by Charles Dickens. These show the way in which the rounded arches of neo-classical architecture were depicted in the mid-nineteenth century as locales of oppression and obscurity. Such depictions acted, in an age of political and moral reform, to critique the values of the system of power and authority that such architecture represented.
This book provides a reading of both fictional and medical writings concerned with auto-erotic sexuality in the long nineteenth century. It examines the discourse on masturbation in medical works by influential English, Continental and American practitioners such as J. H. Kellogg, E. B. Foote, Havelock Ellis, Krafft-Ebing and R. V. Pierce, as well as a number of anonymously authored texts popular in the period. The book demonstrates the influence and impact of these writings, not only on the underworld literatures of Victorian pornography but also in the creation of well-known characters by authors now regarded as canonical including Dean Farrar, J. S. Le Fanu, Charles Dickens, Oscar Wilde and Bram Stoker. It is not merely a consideration of the male masturbator however: it presents a study of the largely overlooked literature on female masturbation in both clinical and popular medical works aimed at the female reader, as well as in fiction. The book concludes with a consideration of the way the distinctly Victorian discourse on masturbation has persisted into the late-twentieth and twenty-first centuries with particular reference to Willy Russell's tragic-comic novel, The Wrong Boy (2000) and to the construction of ‘Victorian Dad’, a character featured in the adult comic, Viz.
Nineteenth-century England witnessed the birth of capitalist consumerism. This book argues that liberal consumerism managed to steer a course between historical alternatives and helped defuse the heat generated by their clash. It shows how liberal consumerism helped maintain stability in a society that was on the brink of collapse but also what was lost in that victory for both consumers and citizens. The early to mid-Victorian period witnessed a most significant confrontation that pitted competing visions of consumption against one another. It considers the ways in which not only Chartists but also their antagonists in the Anti-Corn Law League, the vanguard of economic liberalism, made sense of hunger and mobilised around consumption. The book discusses the major scandals that rocked the New Poor Law through the late 1830s and 1840s, such as the scandal of the Andover workhouse in 1845, when rumours of cannibalism were widely circulated. An important theme that has been marginalised in recent work on the Chartist movement is the appeal of democratic discourse. The book argues for an intimate connection between popular radicalism and forms of consumer organising in the first half of the nineteenth century. While the early writings of Charles Dickens that brought immediate fame prioritised hunger and scarcity, the writer also revelled in the excesses of middle-class consumerism. The book reconnects the culture and politics of the League and the wider project of free trade, and considers how middle-class charitable initiatives tackled starvation leading to the development of the modern humanitarian campaign.
This book is a study of constructions of masculinity in a range of medical, cultural and Gothic narratives at the fin de siecle. The final decades of the nineteenth century provide a particularly complex set of examples of how the dominant masculine scripts came to be associated with disease, degeneration and perversity. The book first outlines the theories of degeneracy, explaining how they relate to masculinity. It then charts an alternative British tradition of degeneracy as this British context provides a more immediate background to the case histories that follow. The book presents a close reading of Sir Frederick Treves's Reminiscences; Treves's memoirs focus on the issues confronted by doctors working in the late Victorian period. The Whitechapel murders of 1888 are then discussed. The book focuses on how and why the medical profession became implicated in the murders. The murders also suggested the presence of a demonic, criminalised form of masculine control over the East End. Continuing with its focus on medicine, the book discusses medical textbooks on syphilis in the 1880s and how they responded to a shift in attitude towards attributing responsibility for the spread of syphilis. An examination of how London appears as a gendered space in the work of male authors such as Thomas De Quincey, and Charles Dickens, and later Arthur Conan Doyle and Bram Stoker, is presented. Finally, some aspects of Oscar Wilde's trials are also examined as well as a range of his writings.
This book argues that Victorian culture perceived the orphan as a scapegoat - a
promise and a threat, a poison and a cure. It first establishes a discursive
context in which to read the orphan figure as embodying a difference within the
family. To do so, it describes the figure of Heathcliff in Wuthering
Heights against a number of discourses - namely, those of the foundling,
the orphan as foreigner, and the orphan as criminal. The book then looks at the
role of the orphan and popular orphan adventure narratives in policing and
extending empire. It considers Charles Dickens's 'The Perils of
Certain English Prisoners, and Their Treasure in Women, Children, Silver and
Jewels' within the context of both the Indian Mutiny of 1857 and
Dickens's own imperial sympathies. The book also offers the historical
context for the schemes adopted at the time for emigrating orphans. It focuses
on the three main destinations -Bermuda, New South Wales and Canada - in order
to consider the motivations behind the emigrating of orphans and the
contemporary evaluations of it. In this historical context, the book positions
Rose Macaulay's Orphan Island (1924), which in its Utopian framework
poses problems for the both the rationale of the schemes and for current debates
within post-colonial studies. It further looks at the exiling of difference, in
George Eliot's Daniel Deronda and the return of the exiled orphan
from the colonies to the heart of empire, London, in Dickens's The
Mystery of Edwin Drood.
This book addresses a number of concerns that have emerged in recent scholarship on the nineteenth century. It contributes to existing dialogues that consider how the nineteenth century can be thought about and critically rethought through literature and other kinds of textual production. The book offers a theoretical consideration of the concept of the nineteenth century by considering Walter Benjamin's famous work The Arcades Project, focusing on Arnold Bennett's entitled 'The Rising Storm of Life'. It outlines how recent developments in Gothic studies have provided new ways of critically reflecting upon the nineteenth century. The book draws attention to the global scope of Victorian literature, and explores the exchanges which took place between Indian and British cultures. It argues that attending to the fashioning of American texts by British publishers enables people to rethink the emergence of American literature as a material as well as an imaginative phenomenon. The relationship between literature and the European anatomical culture is carried out by exploring nineteenth-century narratives from Mary Shelley's Frankenstein in the first decades of the nineteenth-century to Charles Dickens's fiction in the 1860s. Historical fiction writers' persistent fascination with the long nineteenth century enacts a simultaneous drawing near to and distancing from the period, the lives of its inhabitants and its cultural icons, aesthetic discourses and canonical works. Adaptive practice in the neo-Victorian novel, applied both to Victorian literary precursors and the period more generally, may be better described as adaptive reuse or, perhaps appropriative reuse.
Through an extensive study of Dickens’s “new art form,” the illustrated novel, Spectral Dickens sets out to transform certain fundamental assumptions about realism, literary forms, and imitation of personhood that have long defined the discourse of novel criticism and character studies. This book redefines and expands the critical discourse on fictional character by bringing a wider range of modern critical theory to the study of Dickens’s characterization, using in particular the three “hauntological” concepts of the Freudian uncanny, Derridean spectrality, and the Lacanian Real to give new ontological dimensions to the basic question: “What is a character?” By taking into account visual forms of representation and emphasizing the importance of form in rethinking the strict opposition between real person and fictional character, Spectral Dickens shifts the focus of character studies from long-entrenched values like “realism,” “depth,” and “lifelikeness,” to nonmimetic critical concepts like effigy, anamorphosis, visuality, and distortion. Ultimately, the “spectral” forms and concepts developed here in relation to Dickens’s unique and innovative characters—characters that have, in fact, always challenged implicit assumptions about the line between fictional character and real person—should have broader applications beyond Dickens’s novels and the Victorian era. The aim here is to provide a richer and more nuanced framework though which to understand fictional characters not as imitations of reality, but as specters of the real.
– rhyme, allusion, capital letters – were listed by Hazlitt too.
One feature of the two statements stands out as especially surprising: the hostility towards capital letters which they both record. My aim in this book is to demonstrate that typographic case – the conventions governing its use, and challenges to those conventions – does matter. I will argue that in Britain, in the period between the French revolution and the end of the nineteenth century, it matters particularly in three influential bodies of writing: the novels of CharlesDickens, and in the writing