origins. 1 Neo-Victorian fiction participates in this on-going cultural recycling, not just in terms of adaptations of individual period works, but of the nineteenth century more generally, which constitutes the focus of this essay. Hence, rather than ‘adaptation’ or ‘adaptive practice’, terms more suitable for re-visionings of specific source-texts, I will employ ‘adaptive reuse’, 2 borrowing my term from urban planning, conservation and redevelopment. ‘Adaptive reuse’ refers to the reutilisation of old sites
Since 2005 Tim Burton’s imagination has frequently turned to Victorian-related subjects. Focusing primarily on Corpse Bride (2005), Sweeney Todd (2007) and Alice in Wonderland (2010), this article argues that Burton’s response to (neo-) Victorian culture is a distinctly Gothic one. Unlike other more literary and canonical types of neo-Victorianism it engages with the popular and strongly Gothicised conceptions of the Victorian that emerged through the horror cinema of the twentieth century. It is also Gothic in the way that it self-consciously blends the Victorian with other cultural trends. As a result, rather than offering a strongly theorised, academic view of the Victorians, Burton remediates them for his own aesthetic purposes.
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.
before, this universe bears a resemblance to that created by Shelley, yet it remains unfamiliar to many scholars of nineteenth-century British literature. It is, however, well known to aficionados of neo-Victorian fiction, a genre of popular literature that includes steampunk stories like Chiang’s. Like steampunk itself, which Colbey Emmerson Reid describes as a ‘theoretical reorientation of history’ (138), neo-Victorian fiction has its roots in late-twentieth-century retrofuturistic literature. A loose and somewhat ersatz genre that
This first book-length study of Kate Atkinson’s multifaceted œuvre is a comprehensive introductory overview of her novels, play and stories. It situates Atkinson’s literary production in terms of an aesthetics of hydridity that appropriates and re-combines well-known genres (coming-of-age novel, detective fiction, historical novel) and narrative techniques. This book explores the singularity and significance of Atkinson’s complex narratives that engage the reader in contemporary issues and insight into human concerns through a study of the major aspects and themes that tie in her work (the combination of tradition and innovation, the relationship to the collective and personal past, to history and memory, all impregnated with humour and a feminist standpoint). It pursues a broadly chronological line through Atkinson’s literary career from Behind the Scenes at the Museum to Big Sky, the latest instalment in the Brodie sequence, through the celebrated Life After Life and subsequent re-imaginings of the war. Alongside the well-known novels, the book includes a discussion of her less-studied play and collection of short stories. Chapters combine the study of formal issues such as narrative structure, perspective and point of view with thematic analyses.
Stanley, New York Times (2012) Sex, as more than one person has observed, certainly sells. A less catchy version of the old adage might be ‘Victoriana sells’. Our pleasure in consuming the Victorian –reimagined, revised, reinterpreted, rewritten, re-screened –appears insatiable. Academic writing about the neo- Victorian suggests that our desire to consume the genre is based on the pleasure generated by its knowing, winking approach to the Victorian encounter. Posing the question ‘What is Neo-Victorian Studies?’ Mark Llewellyn coined the term ‘critical f
197 9 Ii The ethics of appropriation; or, the ‘mere spectre’ of Jane Eyre: Emma Tennant’s Thornfield Hall, Jasper Fforde’s The Eyre Affair and Gail Jones’s Sixty Lights Alexandra Lewis ‘We are, of course, not Victorian’, proclaim Ann Heilmann and Mark Llewellyn in their recent chapter ‘On the Neo-Victorian, Now and Then’ (2014: 493). ‘We are the Victorians. We should love them. We should thank them. We should love them’, concludes Matthew Sweet in his Inventing the Victorians (2001: 232). But what does it mean to ‘be’ (or not to be), to embody, or even to
. These works illustrate the author’s aesthetics of hybridity; where her play convenes and entwines two temporalities and social worlds, her short stories are remarkable for their expansiveness. Abandonment : a neo-Victorian play Atkinson’s first three novels are set in a recent past: respectively the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. However, they look back to a more distant family past
, the Edwardians, and Modernists. This attempt to discuss and conceptualise what we mean by the long nineteenth century illustrates just how difficult it can be to contain the Victorians within any simplified model based on the reign of a monarch. Likewise, the 2016 conference, at Cardiff, included a series of panels devoted to the topic of ‘Victorian afterlives’, a phrase that reminds us of the period’s tendency to outstrip itself, encroaching into the early twentieth and, by way of neo-Victorian literature and culture, the
. This period can be read as a long nineteenth century in which even the late, and very different, voices of May Sinclair and M.R. James evidence an extended Victorianism which conditions their approach to modernism. The writers discussed here thus represent the end of a certain era. However, it is also an era which, given our culture’s present interest in the neo-Victorian, may well be subject to a