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  • Prof. B.V. Toshev
    VICTORIAN STUDIES ISSN 0042-0522 (Indiana University Press) AVAILABILITY: from 1957 to todayEditors: Andrew H. Miller, Ivan Kreilkamp
    Message 1 of 6 , Feb 17, 2013
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      VICTORIAN STUDIES ISSN 0042-0522 (Indiana University Press)

      AVAILABILITY: from 1957 to todayEditors: Andrew H. Miller, Ivan Kreilkamp


      ToC: Victorian Studies, Volume 54, Number 3, Spring 2012



      D. Pollack-Pelzner. Shakespeare Burlesque and the Performing Self (p. 401)

      References: 21

      This paper argues that Victorian Shakespeare burlesques reveal an alternate literary history: a movement away from private, novelistic consciousness toward collaborative performance. Many materialist scholars fault post-Romantic critics for casting Shakespeare as a psychological realist and reading his plays as if they were novels. The burlesque treatment of Hamlet's soliloquies, however, suggests a contrary trajectory, challenging the equation of Shakespearean character with psychological reflection. Rather than inaugurating a tradition of interiority, Hamlet's soliloquies generate social speech in works like Gilbert'sRosencrantz and Guildenstern, inviting audience participation. The burlesque imperative also inflects novels like Dickens's Great Expectations, turning the internal debate of the canonical literary self into the public dispute of populist entertainment.


      M. Gubar. Who Watched The Children's Pinafore? Age Transvestism on the Nineteenth-Century Stage (p. 410)

      References: 48

      In this tarted-up talk, I coin the term "age transvestism" in order to ponder the appeal of the nineteenth-century theatrical craze for watching child actors play adult roles and vice versa. I sketch out the history of a phenomenally popular yet critically ignored tradition of all-child productions in which juvenile performers played every role in dance concerts, dramas, and operettas such as Gilbert and Sullivan's H. M. S. Pinafore. Rejecting the critical commonplace that Victorian child actors were valued by adults for their inept otherness, I contend that all-child casts entranced mixed-age audiences by functioning as liminal figures whose precocious competence destabilized the idea that a strict line divided child from adult, innocence from experience.

      M. Meeuwis. "The Theatre Royal Back Drawing-Room": Professionalizing Domestic Entertainment in Victorian Acting Manuals (p. 427)

      Notes: 4; References: 24

      This paper reconstructs the methods of acting and production presented in Victorian amateur acting manuals in the years between 1860 and 1914. These guides encouraged actors to immerse themselves within communal arrangements, rather than to focus on themselves as individuals, and encouraged amateur stage managers to emulate performance techniques seen on the professional stage. So influential did amateur theatricals become that, in turn, they began to influence professionals, who reciprocally sought to make themselves suitable for amateur emulation. To demonstrate how average citizens used the system of the amateur drama to promote their social ambitions, I conclude by reconstructing the amateur performance of "That Niece from India" (1894), written by the Donaldson family of South Kensington, London, which presents a fantasy of class advancement for the Donaldson children.

      S. Marcus. Victorian Theatrics: Response (p. 438)

      Notes: 5; References: 77


      D.A. Novak. Performing the "Wilde West": Victorian Afterlives, Sexual Performance, and the American West (p. 451)

      Notes: 8; References: 37

      Of all the aspects of Oscar Wilde's rich afterlife as a cultural icon, the most surprising is the revival of Wilde's brief encounter with the American West in the form of the Wilde Western. Wilde was linked to the West and the cowboy days after his arrival in America (1882), and this association continued into the twentieth century, finding its way into films, a play, a detective novel, and even a graphic novel. Although these texts dramatize the juxtaposition of the iconic heterosexual masculinity of the cowboy with the iconic effeminacy of the aesthete, they just as often stage their convergence. Reading two twentieth-century texts alongside nineteenth-century reactions to Wilde's American lecture tour, I explore how Wilde Westerns interrogate, realign, and sometimes tangle the lines between western masculinity, Wildean sexuality, and nationality.


      T. Prasch. Clashing Greeks and Victorian Culture Wars: Euripides vs. Aristophanes in Late-Victorian Discourse (p. 464)

      Notes: 4; References: 37

      Aristophanes at Oxford O.W. (1894) offers a rollicking undergraduate romp through the approximate territory of Aristophanes's Frogs. But the work is primarily a lampoon targeting Oscar Wilde: his aestheticism, directly, and his homosexuality, more covertly. Of particular interest is the classical referencing employed by the undergraduate farceurs. That the classics would become the ground for culture war is perhaps no great surprise: the battle was fought out among the classically educated youths of Britain. The contest amounts to a struggle between preferred classics. The aesthetes waged a consistent campaign to insist on the modernity and value of Euripidean drama. Against such a campaign, within a classics-citing context, recourse to the more conservative comedy of Aristophanes provided a natural riposte.

      E. Cohn. Oscar Wilde's Ghost: The Play of Imitation (p. 474)

      Notes: 6; References: 39

      This paper considers Oscar Wilde's 1923 appearances at séances in the home of Hester Dowden, an episode in Wilde's afterlife that informs ongoing debates about the transmission of thought in Wilde's aestheticism. I draw on Gabriel Tarde's sociology, which became known in the interlude between Wilde's death and his 1923 ghosting, in order to claimthat, in Wilde's work, imitation structures even seemingly autonomous actions. For Wilde, imitation and its inescapability constitute the creative act, and in The Picture of Dorian Gray and the plays, especially The Importance of Being Earnest, Wilde offers what we might call a playful sociology of imitation. This view of artistic production rejects what Wilde calls literary mimesis in favor of an account of exuberant creativity that nonetheless affirms the inescapable influence—or the social mimesis—of other minds.

      G. Tarde (1843-1904)

    • Prof. B.V. Toshev
      VICTORIAN STUDIES ISSN 0042-0522 (Indiana University Press) AVAILABILITY: from 1957 to todayEditors: Andrew H. Miller, Ivan Kreilkamp
      Message 2 of 6 , Jun 22, 2013
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        VICTORIAN STUDIES ISSN 0042-0522 (Indiana University Press)

        AVAILABILITY: from 1957 to todayEditors: Andrew H. Miller, Ivan Kreilkamp


        ToC: Victorian Studies, Volume 55, Number 1, Autumn 2012


        C. Schmitt. Tidal Conrad (Literally) (p. 7)

        Notes: 12; References: 44

        Surface reading and similar developments in literary study advocate a turn away from symptomatic reading toward the superficial and self-evident. Arguing for the productivity of these approaches despite the contradictory language in which they have sometimes been formulated, this essay develops a related form of analysis: literal or denotative reading. Denotative reading does not reject deep or figurative interpretive possibilities. Rather, it insists they must be pursued in close connection with the facticity of fictional worlds, particularly in the case of maritime and other fiction deploying a specialized, technical lexicon. The essay treats Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness (1899) as an exemplary instance of such fiction, contending that its precise articulation of tidal currents, nautical maneuvers, and ship design signals the key role of "restraint" not only in this novella but throughout Conrad's corpus.

        J. Conrad (1857-1924)

        B. MorganCritical Empathy: Vernon Lee's Aesthetics and the Origins of Close Reading (p. 31)

        Notes: 11; References: 78

        Vernon Lee has recently received renewed attention for her theory of physiological empathy, which held that artworks were pleasing insofar as they provoked feelings of bodily movement. While most studies of Lee take this to be a primarily visual theory, I argue that Lee's aim was to understand how language mediates corporeal experience. Lee's unusual views about the physiological origin of metaphor and the promise of quantitative literary analysis formed the basis for a method of empathic close reading that was simultaneously somatic and systematic. I show that this type of reading was a significant target for the anti-affective rhetoric of the New Criticism. As such, Lee's "critical empathy" suggests a provocative alternative to inherited practices of close reading.

        V. Lee (1856-1935)

        H. Rogers. "Oh, what beautiful books!" Captivated Reading in an Early Victorian Prison (p. 57)

        Notes: 17; References: 79

        Despite growing interest in "the reading experience," most studies examine avid and accomplished readers. We know little of the responses of working-class readers targeted by the Religious Tract Society and other evangelical publishers in their crusade to purify popular literature. Focusing on five barely literate boys taught at Yarmouth Gaol in 1840 by the Christian prison visitor Sarah Martin, this article considers the experience of occasional, easily distracted, or reluctant readers. Examining the titles they read and their behavior inside and outside lessons, it explores the boys' reactions to didactic fiction and illustration. For these prison readers, the pleasures of reading lay as much in the social and affective relationships surrounding the reading experience as in the meanings of particular texts.

        H. SmallGeorge Eliot and the Cosmopolitan Cynic (p. 85)

        Notes: 9; References: 47

        "George Eliot and the Cosmopolitan Cynic" explores the contribution made to Eliot's thinking about cosmopolitanism by her long-standing philosophical and stylistic attraction to cynicism. Middlemarch (1872) and Daniel Deronda (1876) have to date dominated critical debate about Eliot's engagement with the idea of a cosmopolitan ethical detachment. This essay focuses instead on two more experimental pieces of writing that came before and after the major novels: The Lifted Veil (1859) and Impressions of Theophrastus Such (1879). It argues that in these works—both "uncharacteristic," but markedly distinct in style and ethical motivation—Eliot tested the power of cynicism to expose difficulties in the way of an ethical cosmopolitanism and operate as a reality check on all prescriptive idealisms.

        G. Eliot (1819-1880)

        Book Reviews (p. 107): 33 reviews


        Reviewed by B.V. Toshev, Warrington, 22 June 2013

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