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Neo-Victorian Fiction and Historical Narrative
 
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Neo-Victorian Fiction and Historical Narrative
The Victorians and Us
 
 
Palgrave Macmillan
 
 
 
 
 
 
13 Oct 2010
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£58.00
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9780230551565
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More than 100 years after the death of Queen Victoria, contemporary culture remains fascinated by the Victorians. This fascination is most marked in fiction, where an entirely new genre of neo-Victorian fiction has emerged. Neo-Victorian Fiction and Historical Narrative argues that while neo-Victorian fiction emerges within a wider cultural appropriation of the Victorians, it is characterized by its commitment to the historical specificity of the Victorian era. Neo-Victorian fiction is historical fiction and as such involves a dual approach to the present and the past: these novels are determined by both the contemporary moment of writing and the Victorian moment in which they are set. This book mimics that dual approach by analyzing neo-Victorian fiction in relation to both contemporary debates about history and Victorian historical narratives. It combines broad discussion of the genre with detailed analysis of a range of neo-Victorian texts from the last 20 years.


Description

More than 100 years after the death of Queen Victoria, contemporary culture remains fascinated by the Victorians. This fascination is most marked in fiction, where an entirely new genre of neo-Victorian fiction has emerged. Neo-Victorian Fiction and Historical Narrative argues that while neo-Victorian fiction emerges within a wider cultural appropriation of the Victorians, it is characterized by its commitment to the historical specificity of the Victorian era. Neo-Victorian fiction is historical fiction and as such involves a dual approach to the present and the past: these novels are determined by both the contemporary moment of writing and the Victorian moment in which they are set. This book mimics that dual approach by analyzing neo-Victorian fiction in relation to both contemporary debates about history and Victorian historical narratives. It combines broad discussion of the genre with detailed analysis of a range of neo-Victorian texts from the last 20 years.


Reviews

Louisa Hadley's timely and useful study engages with the expanding field of neo-Victorianism by returning us to issues of historicity, Victorian understandings of the relationship between fiction and historical narrative, and the rewriting and reinterpretation of these concepts in late-twentieth century and contemporary culture. The value of Neo-Victorian Fiction and Historical Narrative: The Victorians and Us lies in its attentiveness to neo-Victorianism within the larger field of heritage debates from the Thatcherite 1980s onwards, and also the wider cultural relevance of the core questions asked here: 'Why the Victorians? Why Now?' Through canonical neo-Victorian texts by A. S. Byatt, Michele Roberts, Graham Swfit and Sarah Waters but also more recent interventions like Julian Barnes's Arthur& George and popular genre fiction like Colin Dexter's Morse mystery The Wench is Dead, Hadley makes a sound case for contemporary writers' sophistication in their exploration of the need to transform the Victorians rather than merely mimic or pastiche them. - Dr Mark Llewellyn, University of Liverpool, UK; Consultant Editor to Neo-Victorian Studies and co-author (with Ann Heilmann) of Neo-Victorianism: The Victorians in the Twenty-first Century, 1999-2009 (2010).


Contents

Acknowledgements
Introduction: Writing the Victorians
Narrating the Victorians
Detecting the Victorians
Resurrecting the Victorians
Reading the Victorians
Writing as the Victorians
Conclusion
Bibliography
Index


Authors

LOUISA HADLEY has also worked at Grant MacEwan College and Concordia, University College of Alberta where she taught a range of literature courses. She has published The Fiction of A. S. Byatt (Palgrave 2008) and co-edited the collection Thatcher& After: Margaret Thatcher and her Afterlife in Contemporary Culture (forthcoming, Palgrave Macmillan, August 2010).