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Positive thinking is good for you. You can become healthy, wealthy, and influential by using the power of your mind to attract what you desire. These kooky but commonplace ideas stem from a nineteenth-century new religious movement known as 'mind cure' or New Thought. Related to Mary Baker Eddy's Christian Science, New Thought was once a popular religious movement with hundreds of thousands of followers, and has since migrated into secular contexts such as contemporary psychotherapy, corporate culture, and entertainment. New Thought also pervades nineteenth-century children's literature, including classics such as The Secret Garden, Anne of Green Gables, and A Little Princess. In this first book-length treatment of New Thought in Anglophone fiction, Anne Stiles explains how children's literature encouraged readers to accept New Thought ideas – especially psychological concepts such as the inner child – thereby ensuring the movement's survival into the present day.
A debated term, 'Romanticism' is broadly taken to encompass a European cultural movement of personal and political rebellion which embodied a poetics of feeling and imagination intersecting with nature and the sublime. Michael Ferber's lively anthology of key Romantic poems ranges from Charlotte Smith in the 1790s to William Butler Yeats in the 1880s, uncovering some less well-known poems from the best-known poets, as well as a few fine poems by little-known poets. Ideal for readers who would like to discover the riches of perhaps the greatest era of poetry, or those who know the poets but would welcome some happy surprises, this varied and international selection includes poems translated from six languages, with several poems appearing in the original language alongside its translation. This engaging book also features concise, informative headnotes and a compelling introduction that charts a course to understanding the Romantic movement as a whole.
In the Victorian era, William Shakespeare's work was often celebrated as a sacred text: a sort of secular English Bible. Even today, Shakespeare remains a uniquely important literary figure. Yet Victorian criticism took on religious dimensions that now seem outlandish in retrospect. Ministers wrote sermons based upon Shakespearean texts and delivered them from pulpits in Christian churches. Some scholars crafted devotional volumes to compare his texts directly with the Bible's. Still others created Shakespearean societies in the faith that his inspiration was not like that of other playwrights. Charles LaPorte uses such examples from the Victorian cult of Shakespeare to illustrate the complex relationship between religion, literature and secularization. His work helps to illuminate a curious but crucial chapter in the history of modern literary studies in the West, as well as its connections with Biblical scholarship and textual criticism.
In the nineteenth century, no assumption about female reading generated more ambivalence than the supposedly feminine facility for identifying with fictional characters. The belief that women were more impressionable than men inspired a continuous stream of anxious rhetoric about “female quixotes”: women who would imitate inappropriate characters or apply incongruous frames of reference from literature to their own lives. While the overt cultural discourse portrayed female literary identification as passive and delusional, Palacios Knox reveals increasing accounts of Victorian women wielding literary identification as a deliberate strategy. Wayward women readers challenged dominant assumptions about “feminine reading” and, by extension, femininity itself. Victorian Women and Wayward Reading contextualizes crises about female identification as reactions to decisive changes in the legal, political, educational, and professional status of women over the course of the nineteenth century: changes that wayward reading helped women first to imagine and then to enact.
Do we map as we read? How central to our experience of literature is the way in which we spatialise and visualise a fictional world? Reading and Mapping Fiction offers a fresh approach to the interpretation of literary space and place centred upon the emergence of a fictional map alongside the text in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Bringing together a range of new and emerging theories, including cognitive mapping and critical cartography, Bushell compellingly argues that this activity, whatever it is called – mapping, diagramming, visualising, spatialising – is a vital and intrinsic part of how we experience literature, and of what makes it so powerful. Drawing on both the theory and history of literature and cartography, this richly illustrated study opens up understanding of spatial meaning and interpretation in new ways that are relevant to both more traditional academic scholarship and to newly emerging digital practices.
Revealing the web of mutual influences between nineteenth-century scientific and cultural discourses of appearance, Mimicry and Display in Victorian Literary Culture argues that Victorian science and culture biologized appearance, reimagining imitation, concealment and self-presentation as evolutionary adaptations. Exploring how studies of animal crypsis and visibility drew on artistic theory and techniques to reconceptualise nature as a realm of signs and interpretation, Abberley shows that in turn, this science complicated religious views of nature as a text of divine meanings, inspiring literary authors to rethink human appearances and perceptions through a Darwinian lens. Providing fresh insights into writers from Alfred Russel Wallace and Thomas Hardy to Oscar Wilde and Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Abberley reveals how the biology of appearance generated new understandings of deception, identity and creativity; reacted upon narrative forms such as crime fiction and the pastoral; and infused the rhetoric of cultural criticism and political activism.
Ireland's experience in the nineteenth century was quite different from that of Victorian Britain. Its fictions were written in differing forms – like the gothic or historical novel – and its poetry and drama were populated with ballad and song. Its writers were by turns nationalist or unionist, anglophile or de-anglicising. If the effects of famine and emigration were catastrophic for mid-nineteenth-century Irish culture, they initiated a literary story that spread across the diaspora. Despite the decline of spoken Irish, literature continued to be published, while scholarly endeavours such as translation or the Ordnance Survey preserved much from the Gaelic past. This rich volume examines the many forms of new writing that thrived throughout this period. Utilizing a thematic and historical approach, it addresses a broad anglophone readership in Victorian literature. Essays consider the Irish authors in America and India, women's writing, and the resilience of Irish literature before the revival.
How did the emigration of nineteenth-century Britons to colonies of settlement shape Victorian literature? Philip Steer uncovers productive networks of writers and texts spanning Britain, Australia, and New Zealand to argue that the novel and political economy found common colonial ground over questions of British identity. Each chapter highlights the conceptual challenges to the nature of 'Britishness' posed by colonial events, from the gold rushes to invasion scares, and traces the literary aftershocks in familiar genres such as the bildungsroman and the utopia. Alongside lesser-known colonial writers such as Catherine Spence and Julius Vogel, British novelists from Dickens to Trollope are also put in a new light by this fresh approach that places Victorian studies in a colonial perspective. Bringing together literary formalism and British World history, Settler Colonialism in Victorian Literature describes how what it meant to be 'British' was re-imagined in an increasingly globalized world.
The rapid onset of dementia after an illness, the development of gray hair after a traumatic loss, the sudden appearance of a wrinkle in the brow of a spurned lover. The realist novel uses these conventions to accelerate the process of aging into a descriptive moment, writing the passage of years on the body all at once. Aging, Duration, and the English Novel argues that the formal disappearance of aging from the novel parallels the ideological pressure to identify as being young by repressing the process of growing old. The construction of aging as a shameful event that should be hidden - to improve one's chances on the job market or secure a successful marriage - corresponds to the rise of the long novel, which draws upon the temporality of the body to map progress and decline onto the plots of nineteenth-century British modernity.
In the first half of the nineteenth century autobiography became, for the first time, an explicitly commercial genre. Drawing together quantitative data on the Victorian book market, insights from the business ledgers of Victorian publishers and close readings of mid-century novels, Sean Grass demonstrates the close links between these genres and broader Victorian textual and material cultures. This book offers fresh perspectives on major works by Charles Dickens, George Eliot, Mary Elizabeth Braddon, Wilkie Collins and Charles Reade, while also featuring archival research that reveals the volume, diversity, and marketability of Victorian autobiographical texts for the first time. Grass presents life-writing not as a stand-alone genre, but as an integral part of a broader movement of literary, cultural, legal and economic practices through which the Victorians transformed identity into a textual object of capitalist exchange.
What does it mean to focus on the decade as a unit of literary history? Emerging from the shadows of iconic Victorian authors such as Eliot and Tennyson, the 1880s is a decade that has been too readily overlooked in the rush to embrace end-of-century decadence and aestheticism. The 1880s witnessed new developments in transatlantic networks, experiments in lyric poetry, the decline of the three-volume novel, and the revaluation of authors, journalists and the reading public. The contributors to this collection explore the case for the 1880s as both a discrete point of literary production, with its own pressures and provocations, and as part of literature's sense of its expanded temporal and geographical reach. The essays address a wide variety of authors, topics and genres, offering incisive readings of the diverse forces at work in the shaping of the literary 1880s.
From telephones and transoceanic telegraphy to typewriters and phonographs, the era of Bell and Edison brought an array of wondrous new technologies for recording and communication. At the same time, print was becoming a mass medium, as works from newspapers to novels exploited new markets and innovations in publishing to address expanded readerships. Amid the accelerated movements of inventions and language, questions about media change became a transatlantic topic, connecting writers from Whitman to Kipling, Mark Twain to Bram Stoker and Marie Corelli. Media multiplicity seemed either to unite societies or bring division and conflict, to emphasize the material nature of communication or its transcendent side, to highlight distinctions between media or to let them be ignored. Literature, Print Culture, and Media Technologies, 1880–1900 analyzes this ferment as an urgent subject as authors sought to understand the places of printed writing in the late nineteenth century's emerging media cultures.
How can we tell plagiarism from an allusion? How does imitation differ from parody? Where is the line between copyright infringement and homage? Questions of intellectual property have been vexed long before our own age of online piracy. In Victorian Britain, enterprising authors tested the limits of literary ownership by generating plagiaristic publications based on leading writers of the day. Adam Abraham illuminates these issues by examining imitations of three novelists: Charles Dickens, Edward Bulwer Lytton, and George Eliot. Readers of Oliver Twist may be surprised to learn about Oliver Twiss, a penny serial that usurped Dickens's characters. Such imitative publications capture the essence of their sources; the caricature, although crude, is necessarily clear. By reading works that emulate three nineteenth-century writers, this innovative study enlarges our sense of what literary knowledge looks like: to know a particular author means to know the sometimes bad imitations that the author inspired.
Realism has long been associated with the secular, but in early nineteenth-century England a realist genre existed that was highly theological: popular natural histories informed by natural theology. The Divine in the Commonplace explores the 'reverent empiricism' of English natural history and how it conceives observation and description as a kind of devotion or act of reverence. Focusing on the texts of popular natural historians, especially seashore naturalists, Amy M. King puts these in conversation with English provincial realist novelists including Austen, Gaskell, Eliot, and Trollope. She argues that the English provincial novel has a 'reverent form' as a result of its connection to the practices and representational strategies of natural history writing in this period, which was literary, empirical, and reverent. This book will appeal to students and scholars of nineteenth-century literature, science historians, and those interested in interdisciplinary connections between pre-Darwinian natural history, religion, and literature.
The nineteenth century was seemingly a period of great progress. Huge advancements and achievements were made in science, technology and industry that transformed life and work alike. But a growing pride in modernity and innovation was tainted by a sense of the loss of the past and the multiple threats which novelty posed. The Cambridge Companion to Nineteenth-Century Thought provides an impressive survey of the period's major ideas and trends. Leading scholars explore some of the most influential concepts and debates within philosophy, history, political thought, economics, religion and the social sciences, as well as feminism and imperialism. Some of these debates continued into the following century and many still remain relevant in the present day. This Companion is an excellent tool for readers seeking to understand the genesis of modern discourse across a range of humanities and social science subjects.
During the Victorian era, animals were increasingly viewed not as property or utility, but as thinking, feeling subjects worthy of inclusion within a political community. This book re-examines the nineteenth-century British animal welfare movement and animal characters in the Victorian novel in light of liberal thought, and argues that liberalism was a decisive factor in determining the cultural, ideological, and material makeup of animal-human relationships. While the animal welfare movement often represented animals as desiring submission to the human, animal characters in the Victorian novel critiqued the liberal norms that led to the oppression of both animals and humans. Through readings of animal rights legislation, animal welfare texts, and writings by Charles Dickens, Lewis Carroll, Thomas Hardy, and Olive Schreiner, Anna Feuerstein outlines the remarkably powerful political role that animals played in the Victorian novel, as they offer ways to move beyond the exclusionary and contradictory strategies of liberal thought.
What does it mean to be human? The Brontë novels and poetry are fascinated by what lies at the core - and limits - of the human. The Brontës and the Idea of the Human presents a significant re-evaluation of how Charlotte, Emily, and Anne Brontë each responded to scientific, legal, political, theological, literary, and cultural concerns in ways that redraw the boundaries of the human for the nineteenth century. Proposing innovative modes of approach for the twenty-first century, leading scholars shed light on the relationship between the role of the imagination and new definitions of the human subject. This important interdisciplinary study scrutinises the notion of the embodied human and moves beyond it to explore the force and potential of the mental and imaginative powers for constructions of selfhood, community, spirituality, degradation, cruelty, and ethical behaviour in the nineteenth century and its fictional worlds.
Sherlock Holmes is the most famous fictional detective in history, with a popularity that has never waned since catching the imagination of his late-Victorian readership. This Companion explores Holmes' popularity and his complex relationship to the late-Victorian and modernist periods; on one hand bearing the imprint of a range of Victorian anxieties and preoccupations, while on the other shaping popular conceptions of criminality, deviance, and the powers of the detective. This collection explores these questions in three parts. 'Contexts' explores late-Victorian culture, from the emergence of detective fiction to ideas of evolution, gender, and Englishness. 'Case Studies' reads selected Holmes adventures in the context of empire, visual culture, and the gothic. Finally, 'Holmesian Afterlives' investigates the relationship between Holmes and literary theory, film and theatre adaptations, new Holmesian novels, and the fandom that now surrounds him.
The Victorian period has a strong tradition of poetry written by women. In this Companion, leading scholars deliver accessible and cutting-edge essays that situate Victorian women's poetry in its relation to print culture, diverse identities, and aesthetic and cultural issues. The book is inclusive in method, demonstrating, for example, the benefits of both distant and close reading approaches, and featuring major figures like Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Christina Rossetti and over one hundred poets altogether. Thematically arranged, the chapters deliver studies on a comprehensive array of subjects that address women's poetry in its manifold forms and investigate its global context. Essays shed light on children's poetry, domestic relations, sexualities, and stylistic artifice and conclude by looking at how women poets placed their published poems and how we can 'place' Victorian women poets today.