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Virtual Play and the Victorian Novel
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  • Timothy Gao, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore

Book description

Pondering the town he had invented in his novels, Anthony Trollope had 'so realised the place, and the people, and the facts' of Barset that 'the pavement of the city ways are familiar to my footsteps'. After his novels end, William Thackeray wonders where his characters now live, and misses their conversation. How can we understand the novel as a form of artificial reality? Timothy Gao proposes a history of virtual realities, stemming from the imaginary worlds created by novelists like Trollope, Thackeray, Charlotte Bronte, and Charles Dickens. Departing from established historical or didactic understandings of Victorian fiction, Virtual Play and the Victorian Novel recovers the period's fascination with imagined places, people, and facts. This text provides a short history of virtual experiences in literature, four studies of major novelists, and an innovative approach for scholars and students to interpret realist fictions and fictional realities from before the digital age. This title is also available as Open Access on Cambridge Core.

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Full book PDF
  • Virtual Play and the Victorian Novel
    pp i-i
  • Cambridge studies in nineteenth-century - Series page
    pp ii-ii
  • literature and culture
  • Copyright page
    pp iv-iv
  • Contents
    pp v-v
  • Abbreviations
    pp vi-vi
  • Introduction
    pp 1-13
  • How to Play the Victorian Novel
  • Chapter 1 - Virtual, Paracosmic, Fictional
    pp 14-34
  • Chapter 2 - Authorship, Omnipotence, and Charlotte Brontë
    pp 35-69
  • Chapter 3 - Plotting, Improvisation, and Anthony Trollope
    pp 70-103
  • Chapter 4 - Continuation, Attachment, and William Makepeace Thackeray
    pp 104-138
  • Chapter 5 - Description, Projection, and Charles Dickens
    pp 139-173
  • Conclusion
    pp 174-178
  • Approaching Virtuality
  • Notes
    pp 179-204
  • Bibliography
    pp 205-216
  • Index
    pp 217-222
  • Cambridge Studies in Nineteenth-Century - Series page
    pp 223-230
  • Literature and Culture


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