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The Climates of the Victorian Novel: Seasonality, Weather, and Regional Fiction in Britain and Australia

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  25 June 2021


Anthropocene criticism of Victorian literature has focused more on questions of temporality and predictability than on those related to climate in the nineteenth century. Climate knowledge is central to the regional novel, which is attuned to the seasonal basis of agriculture and sociality, but the formal influence of the British climate also becomes more apparent through a consideration of the genre's adaptation to colonial conditions. Thomas Hardy's The Mayor of Casterbridge highlights how a known seasonal cycle underpins the differentiation of climate and weather and explores the role of economic systems in mediating the experience of climate. Rolf Boldrewood's The Squatter's Dream, set amid the nonannual seasonal change of Australia, demonstrates the fracturing of the regional novel form under the stress of sustained drought. Such a comparative approach highlights the importance of regular seasonality as the basis of the Victorian novel's ability to conceptualize the relation of climate, weather, and capital.

Copyright © 2021 The Author(s). Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of the Modern Language Association of America

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