Victorian Criticism of the Novel
By the end of the nineteenth century the novel unquestionably had become the most popular and influential of English literary forms. Yet it has not always been clear how the Victorians themselves regarded the nature of prose fiction. This volume is a collection of twelve 'landmark' essays that chart the development of English theories of fiction during the great age of the novel. Spanning the whole of the Victorian period, from Bulwer Lytton's 'On Art in Fiction' (1838) to Conrad's preface to The Nigger of the 'Narcissus' (1897), the volume also includes pieces by George Eliot, Henry James, Robert Louis Stevenson, and a number of the more important critics and reviewers of the time. The editors' introduction surveys the main issues, such as the debate between realism and romance, addressed by novel criticism throughout the period. Each of the selections that follow is set in its historical context by a prefatory essay and is fully annotated for the student. There is a helpful bibliography of further reading.
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Introductory essay i
Edward Bulwer Lytton 18031873
Archibald Alison 17921867
James Fitzjames Stephen 18291894
William Caldwell Roscoe 18231859
David Masson 18221907
admirable aesthetic appear Art of Fiction artist beauty Besant Bulwer Lytton catastrophe character charm colour conception criticism delineation dialogue Dickens distinction drama effect emotion English essay experience fact feelings French genius George George Eliot give heart Henry James hero historical romance human humour ideas imagination impression incidents intellectual interest James James Fitzjames Stephen kind Lady Novelists less literary literature living manners means mind modern moral narrative National Review nature never novelist object observation painting passion peculiar Pendennis perhaps person picture plot poet popular produced prose reader realism reality remarks represented Review Robert Louis Stevenson Roscoe scenes Scott seems sense sentiment Shakspeare silly novels Smollett society spirit story sympathy taste Thackeray Thackeray's things thought Tom Jones true truth Vanity Fair Vernon Lee Waverley Waverley Novels William Caldwell Roscoe women word writing Wuthering Heights