Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS: https://ethos.bl.uk/OrderDetails.do?uin=uk.bl.ethos.737944
Title: Urban space and the theatrical imagination : the representation of London in the mid-nineteenth-century popular novel (1852-1865)
Author: Stewart, Derek F.
ISNI:       0000 0004 7226 0012
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 2017
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Abstract:
This thesis examines the ways in which the literary depiction of the cityscape by several popular mid-Victorian novelists can be read alongside the context of their profound interest in theatre. Though many critics consider Charles Dickens to be the quintessential London novelist, I probe the extent to which other novelists of the era – Wilkie Collins, Augustus Mayhew, and Shirley Brooks – can be considered as 'London' writers. While a distinction can be made between the attributes of early and late nineteenth-century city writings, I suggest that the act of theatricalising the urban landscape can be considered as a mode which was typical of how midnineteenth-century novelists depicted the city. This study brings together two strands of criticism which, for the most part, have hitherto been treated separately. While numerous scholars have examined Dickens's depiction of London, an equal number have contextualised his writings alongside drama of the nineteenth century. A few critics have alluded to the theatricality of Dickens's depictions of the city, but this study offers the first full-length account of how this sense of theatricality is achieved in Our Mutual Friend (1865). I also examine this phenomenon in lesser-known writings of the period – Basil (1852), Paved With Gold (1858), and Aspen Court (1855). The first chapter will argue that the focal authors had a broad theatrical imagination, and how this impacts on their depiction of urban experience will be examined throughout this study. While their descriptions of London are attuned to the sense of visuality and aurality that can be associated with both the city and the theatre, a knowledge of drama, including gestural action, stock characters, and costumery, influences their conception of character. The final chapter will explore nineteenthcentury drama and these writers' depictions of the city through the lens of intertextuality, arguing that both are highly allusive.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: University of Aberdeen
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.737944  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Fiction ; London
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