In Praise of the Minor Character
The Importance of Peripheral Figures in Victorian Literature
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About the Book
Minor characters are everywhere in novels. They linger with readers and invite us into the untold aspects of their lives. They fill a text’s landscape, bringing depth to its ecosystem, and encourage us to shift our thoughts from textual centers to margins and even to consider the minor elements of our own experiences. Minor characters challenge us to hold oppositional perspectives, rethink interdependencies, and reimagine textual and lived relationships. In many ways, we identify with minor characters, and yet we lack a nuanced way of understanding them.
This work is about minor characters and the qualities of “minorness” in Victorian novels. It offers casual readers and scholars alike a method of reading and rereading for minor characters that extends across genres.
About the Author(s)
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Bibliographic Info: 14 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2023
Book Reviews & Awards
• “Overlooking minor characters in a Victorian novel, as Pregent asserts in this fresh study mingling theory with close readings, risks ignoring their integral part in forming and balancing the fictional world they inhabit. It is here on the sidelines, not necessarily in the plot’s apparent center, that we should search for alternate, oppositional, and diverse voices challenging the nineteenth-century cultural status quo in compelling and deeply human ways.”—Lydia Craig, associate editor of The Charles Dickens Letters Project
• “This book shows how minor characters are of major importance. Grace Pregent convincingly claims that these characters desire, even deserve, our attention. In Praise of the Minor Character is a timely intervention into recent conversations about narrative form and fiction’s relationship to the real. The focus on overlooked characters draws attention to all sorts of things we overlook as readers—from the authors’ creative processes to the global reach of spaces even in insular novels. After reading this, you will see your beloved Victorian novels in a brilliantly new way. It will be like reading everything for the first time.”—Kristen Pond, Baylor University