History and Cultural Memory in Neo-Victorian Fiction
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History and Cultural Memory in Neo-Victorian Fiction

By Kate Mitchell
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Book Description

History and Cultural Memory in Neo-Victorian Fiction combines innovative literary and historiographical analysis to investigate the way neo-Victorian novels conceptualise our relationship to the Victorian past, and to analyse their role in the production and communication of historical knowledge. Positioning neo-Victorian novels as dynamic participants in the contemporary historical imaginary, it explores their use of the Victorians' own vocabularies of history, memory and loss to re-member the nineteenth century today. While her focus is neo-Victorian fiction, Mitchell positions these novels in relation to debates about historical fiction's contribution to historical knowledge since the eighteenth century. Her use of memory discourse as a framework for understanding the ways in which they do lay claim to historical recollection, one which opens up a range of questions beyond historical fidelity on the one hand, and the problematics of representation on the other, suggests new ways of thinking about contemporary historical fiction and its prevalence, popular appeal, and nmnenonic function today.

Table of Contents
  • Cover
  • Contents
  • Acknowledgements
  • Introduction: 'I told you we'd been invaded by Victoriana'
  • 1 Memory Texts: History, Fiction and the Historical Imaginary
  • 2 Contemporary Victorian(ism)s
  • 3 A Fertile Excess: Waterland, Desire and the Historical Sublime
  • 4 (Dis)Possessing Knowledge: A. S. Byatt's Possession: A Romance
  • 5 'Making it seem like it's authentic': the Faux-Victorian Novel as Cultural Memory in Affinity and Fingersmith
  • 6 'The alluring patina of loss': Photography, Memory, and Memory Texts in Sixty Lights and Afterimage
  • Conclusion: ‘What will count as history?'
  • Notes
  • Select Bibliography
  • Index
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