Focusing on works by George Meredith, W. M. Thackeray, and Anthony Trollope, Alice Crossley examines the emergence of adolescence in the mid-Victorian period as a distinct form of experience. Adolescence, Crossley shows, appears as a discrete category of identity that draws on but is nonetheless distinguishable from other masculine types. Important more as a stage of psychological awareness and maturation than as a period of biological youth, Crossley argues that the plasticity of male adolescence provides Meredith, Thackeray, and Trollope with opportunities for self-reflection and social criticism while also working as a paradigm for narrative and imaginative inquiry about motivation, egotism, emotional and physical relationships, and the possibilities of self-creation. Adolescence emerges as a crucial stage of individual growth, adopted by these authors in order to reflect more fully on cultural and personal anxieties about manliness. The centrality of male youth in these authors’ novels, Crossley demonstrates, repositions age-consciousness as an integral part of nineteenth-century debates about masculine heterogeneity.
Note on Textual Editions. 1 Introduction. 2 The Bildungsroman and Advertising: Thackeray. 3 Manly Conduct: Meredith and the Culture of Improvement. 4 Investments in Youth: Speculation and Liberal Adolescence in Trollope. 5 The Language of Filial Dialogue in Meredith. 6 Aberrant Youth: The Dandy, the Wild Man, and the Deviant. Conclusion. Bibliography.
The Nineteenth Century Series aims to develop and promote new approaches and fresh directions in scholarship and criticism on nineteenth-century literature and culture. The series encourages work which erodes the traditional boundary between Romantic and Victorian studies and welcomes interdisciplinary approaches to the literary, religious, scientific and visual cultures of the period. While British literature and culture are the core subject matter of monographs and collections in the series, the editors encourage proposals which explore the wider, international contexts of nineteenth-century literature – transatlantic, European and global. Print culture, including studies in the newspaper and periodical press, book history, life writing and gender studies are particular strengths of this established series as are high quality single author studies. The series also embraces research in the field of digital humanities. The editors invite proposals from both younger and established scholars in all areas of nineteenth-century literary studies.