In this collection of interdisciplinary essays, experts from Britain and the United States in the fields of nineteenth-century literature, and social and cultural history explore new directions in the field of Victorian life writing. Chapters examine a varied yet interrelated range of genres, from the biography and autobiography, to the relatively neglected diary, collective biography, and obituary. Reflecting the rich research being conducted in this area, the contributors link life writing to the formation of gendered and class-based identities; the politics of the Victorian family; and the broader professional, political, colonial, and literary structures in which social and kinship relations were implicated. A wide variety of Victorian works are considered, from the diary of the Radical Samuel Bamford, to the diary of the homosexual George Ives; from autobiographies of professional men to collective biographies of eminent women. Embracing figures as diverse as Gandhi, Wilde, and Bradlaugh, the collection explores the way in which narratives contested one another in a society that devoted an abundance of cultural energy to writing about, and reading of, lives.
Table of Contents
Contents: Introduction: Victorian life writing: genres, print, constituencies, David Amigoni; Diary, autobiography and the practice of life history, Martin Hewitt; Men and women of the time: Victorian prosopographies, Alison Booth; The self in society: middle-class men and autobiography, Donna Loftus; Male masochism: a model of Victorian identity formation, Martin A. Danahay; Promoting a life: patronage, masculinity and Philip Meadows Taylor's The Story of My Life, Trev Lynn Broughton; Excursive discursive in Gandhi's Autobiography: undressing and redressing the transnational self, Julie F. Codell; In the name of the Father: political biographies by radical daughters, Helen Rogers; The deaths of heroes: biography, obits, and the discourse of the press, 1890-1900, Laurel Brake; Sex lives and diary writing: the journals of George Ives, Matt Cook; 'House of Disquiet': the Benson family auto/biographies, Valerie Sanders; Index.
David Amigoni is Senior Lecturer in English at Keele University, where he also works on the graduate programme in Victorian Studies. He has published widely on Victorian life writing, and is editor elect of The Journal of Victorian Culture.
'David Amigoni's new collection of essays is a decisive confirmation of the current trends in the study of life writing, and will prove, I think, an extremely useful exemplification of developments in this area over the last ten years of so... Authoritative and appealing, David Amigoni's collection contours major debates in the area, and pushes forward important questions about the shape of its continued development.' Biography ’Whether new to the field of life writing or long familiar with its development and debates, Victorianists are sure to find abundant stimulation foward future work as they explore this volume's own innovative ways of thinking.’ Victorian Studies