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Title: Rewriting historical narratives in neo-Victorian fiction
Author: Hadley, Louisa A.
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2005
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This thesis explores the contemporary form of neo-Victorian fiction in relation to both contemporary and Victorian literature. I argue that neo-Victorian fiction needs to be considered in relation to but as distinct from postmodern literary practices. Although neo-Victorian texts are often considered postmodern, I argue that they should be differentiated from the categories of postmodernism. Whilst interrogating history, often considered a postmodern characteristic, neo-Victorian fiction retains a commitment to the historical specificity of the Victorian era. The interrogation of history undertaken in these texts is intimately connected to Victorian forms of historical narratives. Chapter 1 examines theoretical frameworks of postmodernism, revealing the limitations of such models for neo-Victorian fiction .The subsequent chapters explore the treatment of different historical narratives in these texts. Chapter 2 discusses The French Lieutenant’s Woman and ‘Morpho Eugenia’ and examines the role of meta-narratives in both Victorian and contemporary society, particularly Darwinism and Marxism. This chapter also addresses the grand narrative of literary history in its consideration of the double relationship between Victorian and neo-Victorian literature, illustrated through a detailed examination of endings in both Victorian and neo-Victorian fiction. Chapter 3 explores the issues surrounding genealogical narratives in The Quincunx as well as its engagement with the late Victorian genre of detective fiction. Chapter 4 considers The Biographer’s Tale and The Dark Clue in relation to Victorian forms of biography and developments in photography. This discussion leads on to an examination of the problematic relationship between historical and fictional figures within these texts and the implications it has for their status as historical novels. The final two chapters explore approaches to resurrecting the past within neo-Victorian fiction. Chapter 5 addresses the continued presence of the past, through both spiritualism and literature, in Possession and ‘The Conjugial Angel’. The final chapter discusses the process of ventriloquism, focusing on the incorporation of Victorian and pseudo-Victorian texts in Possession and ‘The Conjugial Angel’. This is extended to address the intertextual relationship of Victorian and neo-Victorian fiction.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available