A reader's guide to the nineteenth century English novel /
Julia Prewitt Brown.
New York : Macmillan ; London : Collier Macmillan, c1985.
xx, 137 p., [1] leaf of plates : ill. ; 22 cm.
More Details
New York : Macmillan ; London : Collier Macmillan, c1985.
general note
Includes index.
catalogue key
Bibliography: p. 129-130.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 1985-09:
Addressed to American readers, this eminently readable guide is an admirable introduction to 19th-century British institutions, their effective powers, functions, and intricacies of organization as these relate to the Victorian novel. We learn the difference between aristocracy and gentry, rector and vicar, evangelical and dissenter and how each creates, qualifies, and limits characterization and plot. Deftly underscoring the importance of social and financial gradations, as well as the shift of power from parish to parliament, the realignment of professions, and the development of an ideal of vocation, Brown opens the way to an understanding of rich discriminations within the novels that otherwise remain clouded to the American parochial eye. Always alert to the difference between fact and fiction, she also raises fruitful literary questions that flow from collisions between social fact and literary practice: do novelists use social institutions metaphorically? How do we account for the richness of sexual feeling in the Victorian novel given the stringency of censorship? Julia Brown offers a guide that complements Richard Altick's Victorian People and Ideas (CH, Apr '74) and J.B. Schneewind's Backgrounds of Victorian Literature (1970). Highly recommended, especially for undergraduate and community college students and the general reader.-J. Sudrann, emeritus, Mount Holyoke College
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, September 1985
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