Palgrave Studies in Nineteenth-Century Writing and Culture

Alternate Histories and Nineteenth-Century Literature

Untimely Meditations in Britain, France, and America

Authors: Carver, Ben

  • - First book-length scholarly survey of this category in the nineteenth century - Makes persuasive links between nineteenth-century scientific culture (in particular evolutionary theory) and speculative literature in the period. 
  • - Provides a genealogy of a well-known twentieth-century  genre (alternate history), which is traced from its European origins to its passage to the US.
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eBook 74,96 €
price for Spain (gross)
  • ISBN 978-1-137-57334-6
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: EPUB, PDF
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  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover 93,59 €
price for Spain (gross)
  • ISBN 978-1-137-57333-9
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
  • The final prices may differ from the prices shown due to specifics of VAT rules
About this book

This book provides the first thematic survey and analysis of nineteenth-century writing that imagined outcomes that history might have produced. Narratives of possible worlds and scenarios—referred to here as “alternate histories”—proliferated during the nineteenth century and clustered around pressing themes and emergent disciplines of knowledge. This study examines accounts of undefeated Napoleons after Waterloo, alternative genealogies of western civilization from antiquity to the (nineteenth-century) present day, the imagination of variant histories on other worlds, lost-world fictions that “discovered” improved relations between men and women, and the use of alternate history in America to reconceive the relationship between the New World and the Old. The “untimely” imagination of other histories interrogated the impact of new techniques of knowledge on the nature of history itself. This book sheds light on the history of speculative thought, and the relationship between literature and the history of ideas in the nineteenth century.

About the authors

Ben Carver is Associate Lecturer in English at Falmouth University, UK. He was awarded his doctorate from the University of Exeter in 2013 and since then has been teaching and researching nineteenth-century literature and culture. He is now studying the circulation of conspiracy beliefs and narratives, which is part of the COST-funded “Comparative Analysis of Conspiracy Theories” project. 

Reviews

“In a stimulating text rich with “alternate facts”, Carver reminds us that history is also what failed to happen and that each historical present carries with it its fantasies of alternate realities.  The counterfactual has become a banality today, but this stimulating history of plural virtualities demonstrates how poetic our prosaic 19th century was in fact, and how productively it confronted its own unrealized possibilities.” (Fredric Jameson, Knut Schmidt-Nielsen Professor of Comparative Literature, Duke University, USA)

“Ben Carver's lucid and insightful book reveals the spread of alternate-history speculation through a surprisingly wide range of nineteenth-century disciplines, genres, and national literatures. Alternate Histories and Nineteenth-Century Literature makes an essential contribution to our understanding of the century's historical imagination.” (Catherine Gallagher, Eggers Professor of English Literature, Emerita, University of California, Berkeley, USA)

“Ben Carver has produced a rich, wide-ranging and imaginative study of a neglected genre that has much to teach us about the nineteenth century and its characteristic modes of narrating the past, present and future. This is, in short, a valuable alternate history of Victorian historiography, as well as an original contribution to our understanding of the utopian imagination.” (Matthew Beaumont, Professor of English Literature, University College London, UK)

Table of contents (7 chapters)

  • Introduction: The Castle of If

    Carver, Ben

    Pages 1-19

    Preview Buy Chapter 30,19 €
  • Napoleonic Imaginaries

    Carver, Ben

    Pages 21-60

    Preview Buy Chapter 30,19 €
  • Inheriting Antiquity: Political Genealogy in Disraeli and Renouvier

    Carver, Ben

    Pages 61-106

    Preview Buy Chapter 30,19 €
  • Nebulous History and the Plurality of Worlds

    Carver, Ben

    Pages 107-150

    Preview Buy Chapter 30,19 €
  • Lost Worlds and the (Un)Natural History of Gender

    Carver, Ben

    Pages 151-205

    Preview Buy Chapter 30,19 €

Buy this book

eBook 74,96 €
price for Spain (gross)
  • ISBN 978-1-137-57334-6
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: EPUB, PDF
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover 93,59 €
price for Spain (gross)
  • ISBN 978-1-137-57333-9
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
  • The final prices may differ from the prices shown due to specifics of VAT rules
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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
Alternate Histories and Nineteenth-Century Literature
Book Subtitle
Untimely Meditations in Britain, France, and America
Authors
Series Title
Palgrave Studies in Nineteenth-Century Writing and Culture
Copyright
2017
Publisher
Palgrave Macmillan UK
Copyright Holder
The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s)
eBook ISBN
978-1-137-57334-6
DOI
10.1057/978-1-137-57334-6
Hardcover ISBN
978-1-137-57333-9
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
XVIII, 292
Number of Illustrations and Tables
12 b/w illustrations
Topics