French Novels and the Victorians

Hardcover | May 27, 2017

byJuliette Atkinson

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In 1836, John Wilson Croker, having immersed himself in dozens of contemporary French novels, warned his readers that "she who dares to read a single page of the hundred thousand licentious pages with which the last five years have indundated society, is lost for ever." It has become common tobuild an opposition between the attitudes towards fiction held in prudish Victorian England and permissive 19th-century France. The lack of a full-length study of 19th-century Anglo-French literary relations means, however, that the rejection of French novels has been greatly exaggerated. FrenchNovels and the Victorians sheds new light on these relations by exploring the enormous impact of French fiction on the Victorian reading public. The book considers the many different ties built between the two countries in the publishing industry, identifying how French novels could be accessed andby whom, as well as who promoted and who resisted the importation of Continental works in England and why. The book reflects on what "immorality" meant to both critics and the readers they sought to warn, and how the notion was subjected to scrutiny through censorship debates as well as the fictional representations of readers. It also tackles the contemporary preoccupation with literary influence, andexplores how the extensive circulation of French fiction in England affected the concept of a "national" literature. In addition to highlighting the cultural importance of novelists such as Sand, Balzac, and Dumas, this book uncovers the networks and mediums that enabled French novels to cross theChannel, and looks at how the concept of "the French novel" was elaborated, interpreted, and challenged.

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In 1836, John Wilson Croker, having immersed himself in dozens of contemporary French novels, warned his readers that "she who dares to read a single page of the hundred thousand licentious pages with which the last five years have indundated society, is lost for ever." It has become common tobuild an opposition between the attitudes t...

Juliette Atkinson was born in Paris, and grew up in both France and England. She did her BA(Hons) at UCL, and went to Oxford to study the MSt Literature 1900-Present. In 2008, she completed a PhD on Victorian life-writing at UCL (funded by a UCL Research Scholarship), and between 2009 and 2012 she was a British Academy Postdoctoral Fel...

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:350 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.01 inPublished:May 27, 2017Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0197266096

ISBN - 13:9780197266090

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Table of Contents

PART I: Disseminating French novels1. Obtaining French novels2. Literary NetworksPART II: The dangers of French novels3. The immorality of French novels4. Fictional readersPART III: National literary identities5. Literary influence6. Cultural competitionConclusion