For those of us whose life's work consists of the study of the Victorian Era, nothing is plainer than the fact that one cannot escape from “things.” Indeed, for many of us the wealth of detail and artefact available is one of the attractions of the era: who could resist the hats, coaches, buttons, newspapers, lengths of ribbon, packets of tea, bits of old lace, sugared plums, ink pots, keys, and pocket watches that clutter the pages of Dickens, overflow from Gaskell, and crowd in amongst the characters of Collins, Thackeray, Trollope, Eliot, and Brontë? The Victorians had a preoccupation with and predilection for the careful and considered acquisition and utilisation of objects, and this preoccupation has become a focus for critical trends in this area. In 2003, Lynn Pykett wrote that “The Victorians were fascinated with objects and things – but recent scholarship has proved equally fascinated with this Victorian obsession” (1). This obsession can be traced back to a turn in Victorianist criticism in the 1980s, beginning with Brigg's Victorian Things and based on theories of commodity culture in writers such as Jean Baudrillard, Roland Barthes, and Walter Benjamin, towards an interdisciplinary interest in material culture and particularly in consumer culture and theories of consumption and commodification. More recently critics have moved away from Marxist explorations of objects as commodities, to explore the possibilities of the object in contexts other than those generated by discourses of exchange value, production, and consumption, adopting cultural materialist and new historicist approaches to the objects of Victorian culture and literature. This movement has become known as “Thing Theory.” Starting with Bill Brown's seminal work, A Sense of Things, in 2003, critics have sought for ways of explaining the relationship between the subject and the object in terms other than those of the capitalist market system, in order to take account of the complexities of the object as a signifier. This review seeks to give an overview of these two critical perspectives on the objects of Victorian studies, from the roots of “thing theory” in consumer culture and commodity studies, to the key texts and indicative readings which have shaped “thing theory” as a discipline. Starting with a look at some key texts on consumer culture in the nineteenth century, I then move on to look at those “thing theory” works which have moved away from a focus on the object as commodity, towards cultural materialism and an understanding of the Victorian “object” beyond its role in consumer culture. Finally, I look at some readings indicative of the work currently being published in the field.