Published online by Cambridge University Press: 10 October 2019
The introduction explores the challenges that periodicity poses to literary history. We argue that a self-conscious awareness of how periods are inevitably implicated in expanded networks of temporality and geography nevertheless allows us to explore how particular moments of literary history (in this case the 1880s) might exhibit specific and characteristic formal, thematic or cultural forms. The 1880s is a decade that has been too readily overlooked in the rush to embrace end-of-century decadence and aestheticism. The contributors to this book explore the case for the 1880s as both a discrete point of literary production, with its own pressures and provocations, and as part of a series of broader networks of affilation and contestation. 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.