By Christa Zorn
The subject of renewed interest among literary and cultural scholars, Vernon Lee wrote more than forty books, in a broad range of genres, including fiction, history, aesthetics, and travel literature. Early on, Lee established her reputation as a public critic whose unconventional viewpoints stood out among those of her contemporaries.
To feminist and cultural critics, she is a fascinating model of the independent female intellectual who, as Desmond MacCarthy once put it, provides a rare combination of intellectual curiosity and imaginative sensibility.
A startlingly original critical study, Vernon Lee adds new dimensions to the legacy of this woman of letters whose career spans the transition from the late Victorian to the modernist period. Zorn draws on archival materials to discuss Lee’s work in terms of British aestheticism and in the context of the Western European history of ideas.
Zorn contends that Lee’s fiction and nonfiction represent a literary position that bridges and surpasses both the Victorian sage and the modernist aesthetic critic.
Through Professor Zorn’s approach, which combines theoretical framings of texts in terms of recent feminist and cultural criticism with passages of close reading, Vernon Lee emerges as an influential figure in late-nineteenth-century British and continental European thinking on history, art, culture, and gender.
An associate professor of English at Indiana University Southeast, New Albany, Christa Zorn teaches nineteenth- and twentieth-century British literature, women's studies, and critical theory. She has written articles on Vernon Lee and Lou Andreas-Salomé. More info →
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Release date: July 2003
A Necessary Luxury
Tea in Victorian England
By Julie E. Fromer
In A Necessary Luxury Julie E. Fromer analyzes tea histories, advertisements, and nine Victorian novels, including Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Wuthering Heights, and Portrait of a Lady. Fromer demonstrates how tea functions as an arbiter of taste and middle-class respectability.
Social History · British History · Popular Culture · United Kingdom · Victorian Studies · Victorian Era
Angelic Airs, Subversive Songs
Music as Social Discourse in the Victorian Novel
By Alisa Clapp-Itnyre
Music was at once one of the most idealized and one of the most contested art forms of the Victorian period. Yet this vitally important nineteenth-century cultural form has been studied by literary critics mainly as a system of thematic motifs. Angelic Airs, Subversive Songs positions music as a charged site of cultural struggle, promoted concurrently as a transcendent corrective to social ills and as a subversive cause of those ills.
British Literature · Literary Criticism · Literature · Victorian Studies
By John Robert Reed
John R. Reed, author of Victorian Conventions, The Natural History of H.G. Wells, and Decadent Style, has published a new critical study examining nineteenth-century British attitudes toward free will, determinism, providence, and fate. His new book, Victorian Will, argues for the need to understand a body of literature in its broadest historical and intellectual context.
The Alchemy of Survival
Edited by Carey Kaplan and Ellen Cronan Rose
Long neglected by the academic world because of her rejection of belletristic values and resistance to convenient literary taxonomy, Doris Lessing has nonetheless built an international following of serious, dedicated readers.
Literary Criticism | European | English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh · Literature