Victorian Subjects

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Duke University Press, 1991 - 330 pages
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Written over a thirty-five year period, these essays reflect the changes in J. Hillis Miller’s thinking on Victorian topics, from an early concern with questions of consciousness, form, and intellectual history, to a more recent focus on parable and the development of a deconstructive ethics of reading.
Miller defines the term “Victorian subjects” in more than one sense. The phrase identifies an historical time but also names a concern throughout with subjectivity, consciousness, and selfhood in Victorian literature. The essays show various Victorian subjectivities seeking to ground themselves in their own underlying substance or in some self beneath or beyond the self. But “Victorian subjects” also discusses those who were subject to Queen Victoria, to the reigning ideologies of the time, to historical, social, and material conditions, including the conditions under which literature was written, published, distributed, and consumed.
These essays, taken together, sketch the outlines of ideological assumptions within the period about the self, interpersonal relations, nature, literary form, the social function of literature, and other Victorian subjects.
 

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Contents

1
1
Charles Dickens Oliver Twist
31
The theme of the disappearance of God in Victorian poetry
49
Money in Our Mutual Friend
69
Some implications of form in Victorian fiction
79
firstperson narration in David Copperfield and Huckleberry Finn
91
from American Notes to Martin Chuzzlewit
117
Sketches by Boz Oliver Twist and Cruikshanks illustrations
119
The values of obduracy in Trollopes Lady Anna
263
Trollopes Thackeray
271
Theology and logology in Victorian literature
279
George Eliots bestiary
289
Carlyle and the language of parable
303
xi 1
319
31
321
79
322

Interpretation in Dickens Bleak House
179
Nature and the linguistic moment
207
Béguin Balzac Trollope and the double double analogy
213
Middlemarch chapter 85
233
vast gaps and parting hours
237
Anthony Trollopes Cousin Henry
257
91
323
119
324
229
325
237
326
303
329
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About the author (1991)

J. Hillis Miller, Jr. (born March 5, 1928) is an American literary critic. He was born in Newport News, Virginia and graduated from Oberlin College. He also went on to earn a master's degree from Harvard University. From 1952 to 1972, Miller taught at Johns Hopkins University. Miller's works include The Disappearance of God: Five Nineteenth-Century Writers; The Form of Victorian Fiction: Thackeray, Dickens, Trollope, George Eliot, Meredith, and Hardy; Versions of Pygmalion; Hawthorne & History: Defacing It; Literature as Conduct: Speech Acts in Henry James; The Conflagration of Community: Fiction Before and After Auschwitz, and Reading for Our Time: Adam Bede and Middlemarch Revisited.

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