Victorian Afterlives: The Shaping of Influence in Nineteenth-Century Literature

Paperback | March 3, 2004

byRobert Douglas-Fairhurst

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Questions of survival were much discussed during the nineteenth-century, ranging from debates over the likelihood of a personal immortality, to anxieties over the more dispersed and unpredictable aftermath of particular acts and utterances. Some of these questions emerged in the intellectualand stylistic preoccupations of individual writers, such as Dickens, Tennyson, and FitzGerald. Others contributed towards the cultural atmosphere they shared, in which shifty and overlapping ideas of 'influence' (from the seductive touch of the mesmerist to the contagious breath of the poor) becamecentral to attempts to work out how far-reaching were the effects which people had on one another and themselves.Victorian Afterlives sets out to recover this atmosphere, and to explain why its pressures are still being exercised on and in our own ways of thinking. Moving freely between different fields of enquiry (including literary criticism, philosophy, and the history of science), and written in a livelyand accessible style, this major new study redraws the map of nineteenth-century culture to show what the Victorians made of one another, and what they might still help us make of ourselves.

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Questions of survival were much discussed during the nineteenth-century, ranging from debates over the likelihood of a personal immortality, to anxieties over the more dispersed and unpredictable aftermath of particular acts and utterances. Some of these questions emerged in the intellectualand stylistic preoccupations of individual wr...

Robert Douglas-Fairhurst is a Lecturer in English at Oxford University and Fellow of Magdalen College.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:384 pages, 8.5 × 5.43 × 0.78 inPublished:March 3, 2004Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199269319

ISBN - 13:9780199269310

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Table of Contents

AbbreviationsIntroduction1. Forms of Survival2. Voices in the Air3. Tennyson's Sympathy4. Edward FitzGerald: Under the InfluenceAfterwordBibliographyIndex

Editorial Reviews

`'Douglas-Fairhurst's excellent ear for the influential voices in the Victorian air is . . extraordinarily impressive in its demonstration of an ambitiously capacious conception of influence . . . the range of reference and allusion in the book is dizzying, . . . and the evocation of theseechoing voices provides an extraordinary resonance to his discussions, especially, of Dickens' Great Expectation, Tennyson's "sympathy", and Edward FitzGerald's nostalgic savouring of the afterlives of friends and texts in memory.''Victorian Poetry