At once an invitation and a provocation, The Socio-Literary Imaginary represents the first collection of essays to illuminate the historically and intellectually complex relationship between literary studies and sociology in nineteenth and early twentieth-century Britain. During the ongoing emergence of what Thomas Carlyle, in "Signs of the Times" (1829), pejoratively labeled a new "Mechanical Age," Britain’s robust tradition of social thought was transformed by professionalization, institutionalization, and the birth of modern disciplinary fields. Writers and thinkers most committed to an approach grounded in empirical data and inductive reasoning, such as Harriet Martineau and John Stuart Mill, positioned themselves in relation to French positivist Auguste Comte’s recent neologism "la sociologie." Some Victorian and Edwardian novelists, George Eliot and John Galsworthy among them, became enthusiastic adopters of early sociological theory; others, including Charles Dickens and Ford Madox Ford, more idiosyncratically both complemented and competed with the "systems of society" proposed by their social scientific contemporaries. Chronologically bound within the period from the 1830s through the 1920s, this volume expansively reconstructs their expansive if never collective efforts. Individual essays focus on Comte, Dickens, Eliot, Ford, and Galsworthy, as well as Friedrich Engels, Elizabeth Gaskell, G. H. Lewes, Virginia Woolf, and others. The volume's introduction locates these author-specific contributions in the context of both the international intellectual history of sociology in Britain through the First World War and the interanimating intersections of sociological and literary theory from the work of Hippolyte Taine in the 1860s through the successive linguistic and digital turns of the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries.
Maria K. Bachman and Albert D. Pionke
Mill, Comte, and the Literature of Sociological Critique
Albert D. Pionke
Harriet Martineau, Sociological Foremother
Deborah Anna Logan
"The Shortest Way Out of Manchester": Literary Sociology, Sociological Literature, and the Substance Abuse Question
Carol Margaret Davison
Harriet Martineau and the Narrative Transmission of Social Knowledge
World Making: Character as Goffmanian Co-Presence in The Pickwick Papers and Our Mutual Friend
Goffman Goes to Middlemarch
Character and Life: Sociological Method in George Eliot’s Fiction
Keeping Up Appearances: Criminality, Durkheim, and the Case of A.J. Raffles, Gentleman-Thief
Maria K. Bachman
The Persistence of Social Groups: Georg Simmel and John Galsworthy
This series publishes monographs and essay collections on literature, art, and culture in the context of the diverse aesthetic, political, social, technological, and scientific innovations that arose among the Victorians and Modernists. Viable topics include, but are not limited to, artistic and cultural debates and movements; influential figures and communities; and agitations and developments regarding subjects such as animals, commodification, decadence, degeneracy, democracy, desire, ecology, gender, nationalism, the paranormal, performance, public art, sex, socialism, spiritualities, transnationalism, and the urban. Studies that address continuities between the Victorians and Modernists are welcome. Work on recent responses to the periods such as NeoVictorian novels, graphic novels, and film will also be considered.