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Voice and the Victorian Storyteller
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 (ISBN-13: 9780511133893 | ISBN-10: 0511133898)

The nineteenth-century novel has always been regarded as a literary form pre-eminently occupied with the written word, but Ivan Kreilkamp shows it was deeply marked by and engaged with vocal performances and the preservation and representation of speech. He offers a detailed account of the many ways Victorian literature and culture represented the human voice, from political speeches, governesses' tales, shorthand manuals, and staged authorial performances in the early- and mid-century, to mechanically reproducible voice at the end of the century. Through readings of Charlotte Brontë, Browning, Carlyle, Conrad, Dickens, Disraeli and Gaskell, Kreilkamp re-evaluates critical assumptions about the cultural meanings of storytelling, and shows that the figure of the oral storyteller, rather than disappearing among readers' preference for printed texts, persisted as a character and a function within the novel. This 2005 study will change the way readers consider the Victorian novel and its many ways of telling stories.

• An original revision of traditional ideas about literary 'voice' in fiction • Combines close analysis of texts with a synthesis of contemporary ideas about voice and orality • Discusses Dickens, the Brontës, Browning, Conrad and others


1. 'The best man of all': mythologies of the storyteller; 2. When good speech acts go bad: the voice of industrial fiction; 3. Speech on paper: Charles Dickens, Victorian phonography, and the reform of writing; 4. 'Done to death': Dickens and the author's voice; 5. Unuttered: withheld speech in Jane Eyre and Villette; 6. 'Hell's masterpiece of print': voice, face, and print in The Ring and the Book; 7. A voice without a body: the phonographic logic of Heart of Darkness.


'… exciting and suggestive analysis.' The Times Literary Supplement

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