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Victorian Noon

English Literature in 1850

Carl Dawson

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Originally published in 1979. Carl Dawson looks at the year 1850, which was an extraordinary year in English literary history, to study both the great and forgotten writers, to survey journals and novels, poems and magazines, and to ask questions about dominant influences and ideas. His primary aim is descriptive: How was Wordsworth's Prelude received by his contemporaries on its publication in 1850? How did reviewers respond to new tendencies in poetry and fiction/ Who were the prominent literary models? But Dawson's descriptions also lead to broader, theoretical questions about such issues…

Originally published in 1979. Carl Dawson looks at the year 1850, which was an extraordinary year in English literary history, to study both the great and forgotten writers, to survey journals and novels, poems and magazines, and to ask questions about dominant influences and ideas. His primary aim is descriptive: How was Wordsworth's Prelude received by his contemporaries on its publication in 1850? How did reviewers respond to new tendencies in poetry and fiction/ Who were the prominent literary models? But Dawson's descriptions also lead to broader, theoretical questions about such issues as the status of the imagination in an age obsessed by mechanical invention, about the public role of the writer, the appeal to nature, and the use of myth and memory. To express the Victorians' estimation of poetry, for example, Dawson presents the contrasting views help by two eminent Victorians, Macaulay and Carlyle. In Macaulay's opinion, the advance of civilization led to the decline of poetry; Carlyle, on the other hand, saw the poet as a spiritual liberator in a world of materialists. The fusion of the poet's personal and public roles is witnessed in a discussion of the two mid-Victorian Poet Laureates, Wordsworth and his successor, Tennyson. In analyzing the relationship between the two writers' works, Dawson also highlights the extent of the Victorians' admiration for Dante. To give a wider perspective of the status of literature during this time, Dawson examines reviews, prefaces, and other remarks. Critics, he shows, made a clear distinction between poetry and fiction. Thus, in 1850, a comparison between, say, Wordsworth and Dickens would not have been made. Dawson, however, does compare the two, by focusing on their uses of autobiography. Dickens surfaces again, in a discussion of Victorian periodical publishing. Here, Dawson compares the Pre-Raphaelites' short-lived journal The Germ with Dickens' enormously popular Household Words and a radical paper, The Red Republican, which printed the first English version of "The Communist Manifesto" in 1850. In bringing together materials that have often been seen as disparate and unrelated and by suggesting new literary and ideological relationships, Carl Dawson has written a book to inform almost any reader, whether scholar of Victorian literature or lover of Dicken's novels.

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Victorian Noon

Carl Dawson

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Reviews

Reviews

The extraordinary vigor of mid-century literature, a period Dickens called 'this summer-dawn of time,' is well demonstrated in Professor Dawson's most readable and enlightening vertical analysis of a crucial year... The reader will be surprised at how the narrow corner of a single year can be as revealing a study of a period as a detail-laden survey of a decade or a century.

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Book Details

Publication Date
Status
Available
Trim Size
6
x
9
Pages
290
ISBN
9781421437217
Table of Contents

Preface
Chapter 1. Introduction
Chapter 2. Poetics: The Hero as Poet
Chapter 3. In Memoriam: The Uses of Dante and Wordsworth
Chapter 4. Dramatic Elegists: Arnold, Clough, and Browning at Mid-Century
Chapt

Preface
Chapter 1. Introduction
Chapter 2. Poetics: The Hero as Poet
Chapter 3. In Memoriam: The Uses of Dante and Wordsworth
Chapter 4. Dramatic Elegists: Arnold, Clough, and Browning at Mid-Century
Chapter 5. Phases of the Soul: The Newman Brothers
Chapter 6. "The Lamp of Memory": Wordsworth and Dickens
Chapter 7. Men of Letters as Hacks and Heroes
Chapter 8. Polemics: Charles Kingsley and Alton Locke
Chapter 9. The Germ: Aesthetic Manifesto
Chapter 10. Postscripts: On the Eve of the Great Exhibition
Notes
Index

Author Bio
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Carl Dawson

Carl Dawson was a professor of English at the University of New Hampshire. He received a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship and an American Council of Learned Societies Fellowship. His previous books have been studies of Thomas Love Peacock and the poetry and prose of Matthew Arnold.