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The founding fathers of English literature, Chaucer and Shakespeare, bequeathed a range of possible attitudes to Jews and Judaism. These can be found in the ambivalent figure of “the Jew” – malign and benign, medieval and modern – in much 19th- and 20th-century English literature, from the romantic poets to imperial writers, and from realist novelists to modernist writers of all kinds. The essay contextualizes these changing attitudes and ends with Graham Greene, George Orwell, and Margaret Drabble.
This chapter further develops the case for the novel's usefulness as a fictional reality by examining two claims of Anthony Trollope's Autobiography: that this novel-writing developed out of a paracosmic play practice he called ‘castle-building’, and that he made up his novel plots as he wrote them. Through an analysis of his and the De Quinceys’ games, I point out how the improvisational nature of play – the virtual world is ‘filled in’ and revised over time with little premeditation – as an obvious analogue to Trollope’s construction of the fictional Barsetshire, and to his plotting of individual novels. I argue that the characters of The Small House at Allington behave improvisationally, inventing, revising, and ‘filling in’ their personhoods as they go along, offering an alternative reading of the moral logic and psychology in Trollope’s realism. For Trollope, the novel is distinctive for providing this experience of fictional living, not as ‘mere’ escapism but as it contributes concretely to the reader’s experience of their own world.
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.
Chapter Seven marks a turn away from consideration of ways in which the material presence of the map bears upon authorial and readerly meaning-making, to ways in which the absence, or internalisation, of the map affects the reader’s engagement with the text. Literary mapping is unusual by comparison with maps in other disciplines, in that the question of why a map is not present, or is withheld, can be of as much interest as its presence. This chapter addresses a question that implicitly emerges from the earlier chapters: why do maps occur so frequently in popular genres but extremely infrequently in canonical texts (especially the realist novel)? After exploring this issue through debates around realism and representation in France and Britain, the chapter considers two rare canonical authors who do use maps in relation to the realist novel: Trollope and Hardy. (141)
The principles of political economy that informed the Russell government’s measures to terminate the Famine crisis were broadly addressed in journalism, political and economic pamphlets, but also in literature. As this chapter shows, fiction, in particular, engaged with three aspects of political economy: the government’s politics of non intervention, the Malthusian discourses that many supporters of political economy employed and the stereotype of Irish indolence by which the ideology of political economy was often imbued. As will be demonstrated, the fact that these works of literature responded to these societal discussions on the Irish Question is accompanied by generic shifts. In examining the Famine present or past, these literary texts explored the boundaries of genre, developing new fictional registers and forms.
This chapter argues that the 1850s Australian gold rushes profoundly challenged the stadialist developmental logic underpinning political economy and novelistic realism. An initial response, Catherine Helen Spence’s Clara Morison: A Tale of South Australia During the Gold Fever (1854), cast gold digging in the language of romance, associated with financial speculation and social upheaval, and imagined the restoration of the stadialist norms of cultivation and culture. The emergence in Australia of the need for a new theory of subjectivity and society can be seen in W. E. Hearn’s Plutology: or, The Theory of the Efforts to Satisfy Human Wants (1864), which abandoned stadialism and labor in favor of a model of consumption based upon individual desire. The formal impact of such insights is also evident in works by metropolitan writers who had previously encountered the gold rushes. W. S. Jevons’ path-breaking “marginalist” Theory of Political Economy (1871) and Anthony Trollope’s sensation novel John Caldigate (1878-79) both center upon and normativize a British subject defined by desire, and through this contribute to a newly deterritorialized understanding of British subjectivity.
This chapter argues that a formal logic of “speculative utopianism” emerged in New Zealand by the 1870s, linking the idea of the settler colony as the future of British identity with the promise that it would reward metropolitan financial investment. The emergence of this logic can be seen in Samuel Butler’s First Year in Canterbury Settlement (1863) and Erewhon (1872), which formalize the association between culture, investment, and settler futurity. The stakes of speculative utopianism were intensified as the colony acquired unprecedented levels of debt, the outcome of a policy to spur development that colonial premier Julius Vogel grounded in claims about the colony’s future potential as an ideal British society. The collapse of New Zealand’s credit led metropolitan writers to attack the assumptions of speculative utopianism, most notably in Trollope’s dystopian The Fixed Period (1882). Two fin de siècle works of speculative utopianism—Vogel’s Anno Domini 2000 (1889) and H. C. Marriott Watson’s Decline and Fall of the British Empire (1890)—reveal a further shift in the status of the settler empire, as the future value of the settler population is now cast in geopolitical terms.
In the 1880s, the New York-based Century Magazine was a regular home for Henry James’s fiction and criticism. His first major intervention on the theory of fiction in the magazine is his July 1883 essay on Anthony Trollope (published over a year before Century printed his now canonical consideration ‘The Art of Fiction’). The essay represents, perhaps unsurprisingly, a highly nuanced view of the literary scene in which allegiances circle and return and reputations are diminished and then rebuilt. Trollope’s posthumously-published autobiography appeared three months after James’s essay and seemed to confirm many of the latter’s anxieties about the business of writing. This chapter explores James’s contorted reading of Trollope as a literary precursor who is both criticised for his immoderate, promiscuous productivity and, at the same time, recuperated as a moderate sensibility standing opposed to the scientific avant-gardism of the French naturalist tradition. By exploring the complex national allegiances of an American author writing in a proudly American journal about a recently-deceased, and highly popular, English novelist, I consider the ways in which James attempts to carve out for himself a transatlantic space where the metaphoric possibilities of moderation and its antonyms find a restless purchase.
The Epilogue returns us to Gilbert White’s The Natural History of Selborne (1789) to illuminate the last novel in Anthony Trollope’s The Last Chronicle of Barset (1867). We can better grasp Trollope’s novel of a geographically bounded fictional reality by remembering the way White established reverent natural history as a local and bounded subject deep into the nineteenth-century. Trollope’s Barsetshire Chronicles are likewise local and devoted to capturing an ecology: for Trollope the ecology is social, for White it is natural. Trollope’s provincial realism dilates upon the ordinary that is typical of natural history informed by a natural theological worldview, but is a distinctly different iteration of English provincial realism than Austen, Eliot, Kingsley, or Gaskell in that there is little description of nature; instead, Trollpe focuses on the human world of Barsetshire. The epilogue focuses on the novel’s absence of event or plotlessness as an extreme example of the focus on the everyday; in the form of the novel there is a persistent religiosity that is reflected as well in the thematic focus on Rev. Crawley’s marginality as expressed in scenes of walking and weather.
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