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Literary Criticism, UK

Literary Criticism, UK Book List

Cover of 'Heretical Hellenism'

Heretical Hellenism
Women Writers, Ancient Greece, and the Victorian Popular Imagination
By Shanyn Fiske

Heretical Hellenism examines sources such as theater history and popular journals to uncover the ways women acquired knowledge of Greek literature, history, and philosophy and challenged traditional humanist assumptions about the uniformity of classical knowledge and about women’s place in literary history.

Cover of 'Cleansing the City'

Cleansing the City
Sanitary Geographies in Victorian London
By Michelle Allen

Cleansing the City: Sanitary Geographies in Victorian London explores not only the challenges faced by reformers as they strove to clean up an increasingly filthy city but the resistance to their efforts. Beginning in the 1830s, reform-minded citizens, under the banner of sanitary improvement, plunged into London’s dark and dirty spaces and returned with the material they needed to promote public health legislation and magnificent projects of sanitary engineering.

Cover of 'The Victorians in the Rearview Mirror'

The Victorians in the Rearview Mirror
By Simon Joyce

When Margaret Thatcher called in 1979 for a return to Victorian values such as hard work, self-reliance, thrift, and national pride, Labour Party leader Neil Kinnock responded that “Victorian values” also included “cruelty, misery, drudgery, squalor, and ignorance.” The Victorians in the Rearview Mirror is an in-depth look at the ways that the twentieth century reacted to and reimagined its predecessor.

Cover of 'The Cut of His Coat'

The Cut of His Coat
Men, Dress, and Consumer Culture in Britain, 1860–1914
By Brent Shannon

The English middle class in the late nineteenth century enjoyed an increase in the availability and variety of material goods. With that, the visual markers of class membership and manly behavior underwent a radical change.

Cover of 'The Wake of Wellington'

The Wake of Wellington
Englishness in 1852
By Peter W. Sinnema

Soldier, hero, and politician, the Duke of Wellington is one of the best-known figures of nineteenth-century England. From his victory at Waterloo over Napoleon in 1815, he rose to become prime minister of his country. But Peter Sinnema finds equal fascination in Victorian England's response to the Duke's death.

Cover of 'Bleak Houses'

Bleak Houses
Marital Violence in Victorian Fiction
By Lisa Surridge

The Offenses Against the Person Act of 1828 opened magistrates' courts to abused working-class wives. Newspapers in turn reported on these proceedings, and in this way the Victorian scrutiny of domestic conduct began. But how did popular fiction treat “private” family violence? Bleak Houses: Marital Violence in Victorian Fiction traces novelists' engagement with the wife-assault debates in the public press between 1828 and the turn of the century.

Cover of 'Pictorial Victorians'

Pictorial Victorians
The Inscription of Values in Word and Image
By Julia Thomas

The Victorians were image obsessed. The middle decades of the nineteenth century saw an unprecedented growth in the picture industry. Technological advances enabled the Victorians to adorn with images the pages of their books and the walls of their homes. But this was not a wholly visual culture. Pictorial Victorians focuses on two of the most popular mid-nineteenth-century genres—illustration and narrative painting—that blurred the line between the visual and textual.

Cover of 'Fortune’s Wheel'

Fortune’s Wheel
Dickens and the Iconography of Women’s Time
By Elizabeth A. Campbell

In the first half of the nineteenth century, England became quite literally a world on wheels. The sweeping technological changes wrought by the railways, steam-powered factory engines, and progressively more sophisticated wheeled conveyances of all types produced a corresponding revolution in Victorian iconography: the image of the wheel emerged as a dominant trope for power, modernity, and progress.

Winner of the 1987 NEMLA-Ohio University Press Book Prize
Cover of 'Doris Lessing'

Doris Lessing
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.

Cover of 'The Elusive Self in the Poetry of Robert Browning'

The Elusive Self in the Poetry of Robert Browning
By Constance H. Hassett

The variety of Browning’s poetry has made it difficult to see his work as a canon rather than merely a collection. The Elusive Self takes issue with the opinion that Browning’s art is diffuse and argues instead for a unity born of his interest in man’s acts of introspection. The author observes in Browning’s idiosyncratic style and sense of time an adaptation of Romantic notions of spontaneity.

Cover of 'Elegant Nightmares'

Elegant Nightmares
The English Ghost Story from Le Fanu to Blackwood
By Jack Sullivan

Based on an enormous body of short fiction, Elegant Nightmares is a study of the ghost story in England from Sheridan Le Fanu to more recent figures such as Algernon Blackwood and L.P. Hartley. Although Elegant Nightmares is a serious exploration of ghost and horror stories as prototypes of modern absurdist fiction, it is written in an entertaining, often witty style.