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The presence of the present : topics of the day in the Victorian novel / Richard D. Altick.

By: Altick, Richard D. (Richard Daniel), 1915-2008.
Material type: TextTextSeries: Studies in Victorian life and literature: Publisher: Columbus : Ohio State University Press, c1991Description: viii, 854 p. : ill. ; 24 cm.ISBN: 0814205186 (alk. paper); 9780814205181 (alk. paper).Subject(s): English fiction -- 19th century -- History and criticism | Realism in literature | History in literatureDDC classification: 823/.80912 Other classification: 18.05
Contents:
The glare of the present -- The topical novelists -- Forms and sources -- Events and movements -- Lapses of time -- New ways of riding and writing -- Consumer goods -- The favorite vice of the nineteenth century -- The way they looked -- The sense of place -- The great metropolis -- Names in the cultural news -- Popular entertainments -- The shady side -- Real people, more or less -- Money and occupations -- Speculation and bankruptcy -- The free and independent: I -- The free and independent: II -- Language.
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Item type Current location Call number Status Date due Barcode
Book University of Texas At Tyler
Stacks - 3rd Floor
PR878.R4 A48 1991 (Browse shelf) Available 0000000775049

Includes bibliographical references (p. 807-835) and indexes.

The glare of the present -- The topical novelists -- Forms and sources -- Events and movements -- Lapses of time -- New ways of riding and writing -- Consumer goods -- The favorite vice of the nineteenth century -- The way they looked -- The sense of place -- The great metropolis -- Names in the cultural news -- Popular entertainments -- The shady side -- Real people, more or less -- Money and occupations -- Speculation and bankruptcy -- The free and independent: I -- The free and independent: II -- Language.

Reviews provided by Syndetics

Library Journal Review

This vast, rich, and witty book concerns British novels written during the mid-19th century. With unfailing verve, Atlick discusses ``topicalities,'' by which he means ``references to people, events, or places that were present in the public consciousness'' when the novels, great or otherwise, were published. Atlick also covers the details of everyday Victorian life--among them, attitudes toward smoking, popular consumer goods, the connotations of hair color, transportation, the scourge of bankruptcy, and the acceptance of slang. He illuminates references the novels' first readers easily understood but which most today find puzzling. Any reader of Victorian novels will find this book invaluable--either when read cover to cover or piecemeal. Recommended for academic and larger public collections.-- John Miller, Normandale Community Coll., Bloomington, Minn. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

CHOICE Review

Altick's Victorian People and Ideas (CH, Apr'74) presented a broad view of the background of Victorian literature. Here, in another masterful presentation, Altick focuses on "topicalities," explaining the references to people (from dukes to caterers), inventions, events (from bankruptcies to elections), monuments, scandals, special meanings of words ("grinder, " "serious"), etc., that root the scores of novels he discusses in their time--the present of their first readers. To restore the historical context of the novels, Altick expertly interweaves events in the novels, history, and commentary, succeeding brilliantly. The topical arrangements means that after reading, for example, "The Way They Looked" (Chapter 9), one will forever be sensitive to the connotations of crinoline and red hair. In the invaluable Chapters 18 and 19, he traces a major theme in many novels, the changes in elections and the electorate through half a century. The text is well complemented by abundant contemporary illustrations. Only a few misprints and errors occur (e.g., "John Mills" is cited inconsistently on p. 598 and merged with "John Stuart Mill" in the index; Tom Tulliver, not, as reported on p. 259, Stephen Guest, drowned with Maggie). -K. A. Robb, Bowling Green State University

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