First published in 1989, this book analyses fiction and long narrative, drawing on a broad range of writing from earlier periods and on recent narrative theory. Gillian Beer looks at the work of writers as diverse as Thomas Carlyle and Philip Sydney, Samuel Richardson, and George Eliot. Three chapters on Virginia Woolf demonstrate how Woolf’s reading of past literature, philosophy, and science gave her an intellectual and emotional purchase on problems of feminism and modernism. Beer examines how writers create dialogues with past writing, how readers of the present day engage with the difference of past literature, and how we make contact with the desires and debates of past readers.
Preface; Acknowledgements; 1. Introductory 2. Origins and Oblivion in Victorian Narrative 3. Pamela and Arcadia: Reading Class, Genre, Gender 4. Richardson, Milton, and The Status of Evil 5. Carlylean Transports 6. Circulatory Systems: Money, Gossip, and Blood in Middlemarch 7. Beyond Determinism: George Eliot and Virginia Woolf 8. The Victorians in Virginia Woolf: 1832-1941 9. Virginia Woolf and Pre-History 10. Hume, Stephen, and Elegy in To the Lighthouse; Index
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