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Title: Values in the popular Victorian love story from the rise of the subjective novel to the rise of the sensation novel (circa 1840-1860)
Author: Keith, Sara
Awarding Body: University of London
Current Institution: Royal Holloway, University of London
Date of Award: 1962
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This thesis is an attempt to chart changing ideas and attitudes for part of the nineteenth century, chiefly between 1840 and 1860, from their reflection in popular fiction of the time. The works consulted are not necessarily enduring literature, but the novels that were read by the literate in the shape of books from Mudie's. Values during the period under consideration shift from a fixed faith in a universe of universal principles to s subjective relativity in which good and evil are a matter of individual preference and interpretation. During the same time the rights of the individual assume increasing importance over the best interests of society; and in literature, fiction becomes increasingly subjective in its approach. I have limited my material to love stories, and have treated it under three heads: I Courtship as a search for values; II. Marriage as a test of values; III. Love as value. Courtship first appears largely as a search for principle, since principle was the only quality which offered security for a happy marriage; later it becomes a quest for happiness through the pursuit of inexplicable whim. The principal ingredient in a successful marriage is first held to be duty. which is not always a matter of coercion though gradually the right of the individual to happiness assumes increasing importance. Love wears the two appearances of affection and passion, immoveable object and irresistible force. The change in taste therefore opposes reason, principle, duty, and quiet, unselfish affection to the overwhelming energy of passion and the irrational Impulse that sees the world well lost as long as it gains its object. Since the ideals that literature makes attractive to readers tend to influence behavior, the change in ideals would appear to be significant.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: English Literature