Victorian Nonfiction Prose

A Companion


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About the Book

The Victorian Era saw a revolution in communication technology. Millions of texts emerged from a complex network of writers, editors, publishers and reviewers, to shape and be shaped by the dynamics of a rapidly industrializing society. Many of these works offer fundamental, often surprising insights into Victorian society. Why, for example, did the innocuously titled Essays and Reviews (1860) trigger public outrage? How did Eliza Lynn Linton become the first salaried woman journalist in England? What is “table-talk”?
Critical approaches to Victorian prose have long focused on a few canonical writers. Recent scholarship has recognized a wide diversity of practitioners, forms and modes of dissemination. Presented in accessible A–Z format, this literary companion reinstates nonfiction as a principal vehicle of knowledge and debate in Victorian Britain.

About the Author(s)

Kathy Rees has written several articles and book chapters on topics relating to life-writing, allusion and intertextuality, and Victorian transnational publishing. She lives in Cambridge, UK

Laurence W. Mazzeno, president emeritus of Alvernia University, Reading, Pennsylvania, is the author or editor of 20+ books and more than 300 articles and reviews on literature and history. He lives in Arvada, Colorado.

Sue Norton, a lecturer of English at the Technological University Dublin since 1999, previously taught in University College Dublin, University College Cork and New Jersey City University.

Bibliographic Details

Kathy Rees. Series Editor Laurence W. Mazzeno; Associate Editor Sue Norton
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 305
Bibliographic Info: 21 photos, glossary, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2023
pISBN: 978-1-4766-8124-5
eISBN: 978-1-4766-4666-4
Imprint: McFarland
Series: McFarland Companions to 19th Century Literature

Table of Contents

Textual Notes
Alphabetical List of Works Discussed
Victorian Nonfiction Prose: A Companion
Appendix A: Timeline of Prose Texts
and Historical Events
Appendix B: Glossary
Works Cited

Book Reviews & Awards

• “A brilliant companion, not only to Victorian nonfiction prose, but to the Victorian Age itself. Rees combines scholarly erudition with vivid life-drawing, so that each subject seems to leap off the page to escort the reader into their particular region of Victorian life. Although it is designed as a work of reference, to be ‘dipped into’, I found it almost impossible to put down. The entry on Charles Spurgeon (‘the most published English-speaking Christian of all time’) led me to W.T. Stead then to Robert Louis Stevenson and on to John Addington Symonds and I emerged with a much richer sense of the texture of life of a period I thought I already knew well. This is a tour de force of scholarship which should become indispensable, not only to the 19C scholar, but to anyone needing a deeper understanding of the Victorian Age.”—Valerie Purton, emeritus professor of Victorian literature, Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge

• “Kathy Rees’ book is a must-have for anyone interested in the Victorian age and the varieties of nonfiction prose produced then. With individual entries on specific writers, subgenres, issues and events, this exciting volume reasserts the centrality of nonfiction prose to the cultural, artistic, social, political and scientific shifts of the period. The introduction, examining the place of nonfiction in the nineteenth century and its complex reception and critical histories across the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, is a skilful piece in its own right and the volume as a whole is full of astute and engaging discussion. From Harriett Martineau to Philip Gosse, conduct books to manifestos, nonconformism to the Contagious Diseases Acts, this wide-ranging and enthralling book will be of interest to researchers, students, teachers and general readers.”—Simon Avery, reader in Nineteenth Century Literature and Culture, and co-director of the Queer London Research Forum, University of Westminster, London