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Look Inside Ancestry and Narrative in Nineteenth-Century British Literature

Ancestry and Narrative in Nineteenth-Century British Literature
Blood Relations from Edgeworth to Hardy


Part of Cambridge Studies in Nineteenth-Century Literature and Culture

  • Date Published: November 2005
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521023573

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About the Authors
  • This 1999 study addresses the question of why ideas of ancestry and kinship were so important in nineteenth-century society, and particularly in the Victorian novel. Through readings of a range of literary texts, Sophie Gilmartin explores questions fundamental to the national and racial identity of Victorian Britons: what makes people believe that they are part of a certain region, race or nation? Is this sense of belonging based on superstitious beliefs, invented traditions, or fictions created to gain a sense of unity or community? As Britain extended her empire over foreign nations and races, questions of blood relations, of assimilation and difference, and of national and racial definition came to the fore. Gilmartin's study shows how the ideas of ancestry and kinship, and the narratives inspired by or invented around them, were of profound significance in the construction of Victorian identity.

    • Original and illuminating study of ancestry and kinship in nineteenth-century fiction and culture
    • Places major nineteenth-century novelists in their historic, artistic and cultural context and rediscovers the importance of some forgotten texts
    • New insight into work by Edgeworth, Disraeli, Meredith and Hardy
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    Product details

    • Date Published: November 2005
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521023573
    • length: 300 pages
    • dimensions: 228 x 152 x 16 mm
    • weight: 0.444kg
    • contains: 11 b/w illus.
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    List of illustrations
    Textual note: the novels
    1. Oral and written genealogies in Edgeworth's The Absentee
    2. A mirror for matriarchs: the cult of Mary Queen of Scots in nineteenth-century literature
    3. Pedigree, nation, race: the case of Disraeli's Sybil and Tancred
    4. 'A sort of Royal family': alternative pedigrees and class in Meredith's Evan Harrington
    5. Pedigree, sati and the widow in Meredith's The Egoist
    6. Pedigree and forgetting in Hardy
    7. Geology and genealogy: Hardy's The Well-Beloved

  • Author

    Sophie Gilmartin, Royal Holloway, University of London

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