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The uncanny forms of novelistic characterization

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.

Charlotte Brontë’s lyric afterlife
Anna Barton

its Wordsworthian model. Using the masculine pronoun ‘he’ to refer to herself, Charlotte/​ Currer mocks her/​his publishers for their implicitly womanish appetite for poetry, a sly joke that tacitly acknowledges that any discussion of literary tradition and form is underpinned by assumptions about the relationship between gender and genre. Charlotte’s ‘attempts’ at achieving an afterlife for her poetry in her early novels explore this relationship via a set of intertextual exchanges that perform the failure of the Romantic lyric within the Victorian novel. The

in Charlotte Brontë
Allusion and the uncanny

This book explores the relationship between allusion and the uncanny in literature. An unexpected echo or quotation in a new text can be compared to the sudden appearance of a ghost or mysterious double, the reanimation of a corpse or the discovery of an ancient ruin hidden in a modern city. This study identifies moments where this affinity between allusion and the uncanny is used by writers to generate a particular textual charge, where uncanny elements are used to flag patterns of allusion and to point to the haunting presence of an earlier work. The book traces the subtle patterns of connection between texts centuries, even millennia apart, from Greek tragedy and Latin epic, through the plays of Shakespeare and the Victorian novel, to contemporary film, fiction and poetry. Each chapter takes a different uncanny motif as its focus: doubles, ruins, reanimation, ghosts and journeys to the underworld.

Gothic imagery in Dutch feminist fiction
Agnes Andeweg

themselves as individuals and stretch the social order, the Victorian novel took a conservative turn. In the Victorian novel, protagonists learn that they must accept reality and reconcile themselves to social inequality and the impossibility of true change. Instead of having society become more flexible and inclusive, the Victorian novel expects the protagonist to have ‘a change of heart’. 23

in Gothic kinship
Emma Tennant’s Thornfield Hall, Jasper Fforde’s The Eyre Affair and Gail Jones’s Sixty Lights
Alexandra Lewis

-​Victorian novels demand knowledge of 202 203 The ethics of appropriation the Victorian novel and period only in general terms. Is it the case, as Anne Humpherys has claimed, that we need to have read Jane Eyre in order to understand Wide Sargasso Sea? For Humpherys, ‘a reader would not be able to make even rudimentary meaning of the narrative strategies […] without knowledge’ of the ‘pretext’ (2002:  445). Certainly a great deal is lost without the intertextual point of comparison –​in particular the expectation of fire and destruction at the end of the novel which is

in Charlotte Brontë
Protection of animals in nineteenth-century Britain

This book explores for the first time women’s leading roles in animal protection in nineteenth-century Britain. Victorian women founded pioneering bodies such as the Battersea Dogs’ Home, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, and the first anti-vivisection society. They intervened directly to stop abuses, promoted animal welfare, and schooled the young in humane values via the Band of Mercy movement. They also published literature that, through strongly argued polemic or through imaginative storytelling, notably in Anna Sewell’s Black Beauty, showed man’s unjustifiable cruelty to animals. In all these enterprises, they encountered opponents who sought to discredit and thwart their efforts by invoking age-old notions of female ‘sentimentality’ or ‘hysteria’, which supposedly needed to be checked by ‘masculine’ pragmatism, rationality and broadmindedness, especially where men’s field sports were concerned. To counter any public perception of extremism, conservative bodies such as the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals for long excluded women from executive roles, despite their crucial importance as donors and grassroots activists. However, women’s growing opportunities for public work in philanthropic projects and the development of militant feminism, running in parallel with campaigns for the vote, gave them greater boldness in expressing their distinctive view of animal–human relations, in defiance of patriarchy. In analysing all these historic factors, the book unites feminist perspectives, especially constructions of gender, with the fast-developing field of animal–human history.

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The first collection of its kind, Chartist Drama makes available four plays written or performed by members of the Chartist movement of the 1840s. Emerging from the lively counter-culture of this protest campaign for democratic rights, these plays challenged cultural as well as political hierarchies by adapting such recognisable genres as melodrama, history plays, and tragedy for performance in radically new settings. A communal, public, and embodied art form, drama was linked for the Chartists with other kinds of political performance: the oratory of the mass platform, festival-like outdoor meetings, and the elaborate street theatre of protest marches. Plays that Chartists wrote or staged advanced new interpretations of British history and criticised aspects of the contemporary world. And Chartist drama intervened in fierce strategic arguments within the movement. Most notably, poet-activist John Watkins’s John Frost, which dramatises the gripping events of the Newport rising of 1839, in which twenty-two Chartists lost their lives, defends the rebellion and the Chartist recourse to violence as a means for the movement to achieve its aims. The volume’s appendices document over one hundred Chartist dramatic performances, staged by activists in local Chartist associations or at professional benefits at some of London’s largest working-class theatres. Gregory Vargo’s introduction and notes elucidate the previously unexplored world of Chartist dramatic culture, a context that promises to reshape what we know about early Victorian popular politics and theatre.

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Writing American sexual histories

The archive has assumed a new significance in the history of sex, and this book visits a series of such archives, including the Kinsey Institute’s erotic art; gay masturbatory journals in the New York Public Library; the private archive of an amateur pornographer; and one man’s lifetime photographic dossier on Baltimore hustlers. The subject topics covered are wide-ranging: the art history of homoeroticism; casual sex before hooking-up; transgender; New York queer sex; masturbation; pornography; sex in the city. The duality indicated by the book’s title reflects its themes. It is an experiment in writing an American sexual history that refuses the confines of identity sexuality studies, spanning the spectrum of queer, trans, and the allegedly ‘normal’. What unites this project is a fascination with sex at the margins, refusing the classificatory frameworks of heterosexuality and homosexuality, and demonstrating gender and sexual indecision and flexibility. And the book is also an exploration of the role of the archive in such histories. The sex discussed is located both in the margins of the archives, what has been termed the counterarchive, but also, importantly, in the pockets of recorded desire located in the most traditional and respectable repositories. The sexual histories in this book are those where pornography and sexual research are indistinguishable; where personal obsession becomes tomorrow’s archive. The market is potentially extensive: those interested in American studies, sexuality studies, contemporary history, the history of sex, psychology, anthropology, sociology, gender studies, queer studies, trans studies, pornography studies, visual studies, museum studies, and media studies.

Marsh and the female offender
Johan Höglund

society. Again, as in Gilbert and Gubar’s aforementioned reading of the Victorian novel, the novel can thus be read as a furtive yet determined critique of patriarchy. Similarly, Stephen D. Arata claims that writers such as Robert Louis Stevenson and Oscar Wilde employed an aesthetic and personal style of writing ‘that carried within it an implicit critique of conventional middle-class mores’.35 What sets Mrs Musgrave apart from other Gothic and crime narratives is that the two trajectories that the novel explores – one in which the Musgraves are the hapless victims of

in Richard Marsh, popular fiction and literary culture, 1890–1915
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Katy Layton-Jones

what the Victorian novel has to say about the city we have to keep reminding ourselves of its underlying predisposition to treat its subject as a hostile environment’ because such literature reflects ‘an aspect of the tendency of the high culture of Victorian Britain to express a pre-urban system of values’.16 So too have many failed to recognise that a similarly sceptical attitude should be adopted when analysing visual imagery. Resistance to such an approach has resulted in the emergence of a highly sensationalised and inaccurate image of the nineteenth

in Beyond the metropolis