Elegy for an Age: The Presence of the Past in Victorian Literature

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Anthem Press, 15. feb. 2005 - 300 sider
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In an age of radical transformation, the Victorians were caught between a vanishing past and an uncertain future. In the face of such a dizzying present, connecting with their past became for the Victorians a kind of survival strategy - this nostalgia took forms as diverse as their obsession with history and origins; the religious revivalism of the Oxford Movement; and the new Houses of Parliament, built in 1834, whose design looked longingly back to the Middle Ages.

This rich and elegant work describes how the unsettled cultural climate provided fertile soil for the flourishing of elegy. John Rosenberg shows how the phenomenon of elegy pervaded the writing of the period, tracing it through the voices of individuals from Carlyle, Tennyson, Darwin and Ruskin, to Swinburne, Pater, Dickens and Hopkins. Finally, he turns from particular elegists to a common experience that touched them all - the displacement of the older idea of the earthly city as a New Jerusalem by the rise of a new image of the Victorian city as an industrial Inferno, a wasteland of sprawling towns and of rivers so polluted they caught on fire. This beautifully written meditation provides a vivid, compelling and authoritative portrait of an era that, in the face of an exhilarating and menacing present, longingly embraced the stability and comfort of a past both real and imagined.

 

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Innhold

The Age of Elegy
1
History and the Human Voice
13
Tennysons In Memoriam
33
Tennyson and the Passing of Arthur
67
A Reading of Fors Clavigera
77
The Miracle of Ruskins Praeterita
91
Mr Darwin Collects Himself
119
Newman Arnold Hopkins
139
Swinburne and the Ravages of Time
163
Walter Pater and the Art of Evanescence
187
The Fall of the City in Victorian Literature
217
Notes
241
Bibliography
273
Index
281
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Om forfatteren (2005)

John D. Rosenberg is William Peterfield Trent Professor of English at Columbia University of New York. He has received numerous awards and fellowships, including American Council of Learned Societies, Guggenheim and NEH fellowships. Among many works and editions, he has written 'The Darkening Glass, on Ruskin' (Columbia University Press, 1961); and 'Carlyle and the Burden of History' (Harvard University Press, 1985).

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