The study of Victorian masculinities is now a burgeoning field. In 1995 an emphasis on pluralities was registered in titles such as Herbert Sussman’s Victorian Masculinities: Manhood and Masculine Poetics in Early Victorian Literature and Art and Joseph A. Kestner’s Masculinities in Victorian Painting. Ten years on, Martin A. Danahay’s Gender at Work in Victorian Culture: Literature, Art and Masculinity would still be concerned with the many and competing ways in which masculinity was represented in the nineteenth century. This is not the only task of writers on masculinity, however. In 1995 R.W. Connell noted: ‘To recognize more than one kind of masculinity is only a first step. We have to examine the relations between them. Further, we have to unpack the milieux of class and race and scrutinize the gender relations operating within them.’ Much recent work on masculinity does just that and the essays published here reflect this imperative.
Graeme Smart and Amelia Yeates
Remembrance and Ritual Commemoration
This essay focuses on David Garrick's Shakespeare Jubilee held in 1769 and the Royal Gala of 1830, comparing the two Stratford-based events in function, festivity, and form. Both occasions furthered Shakespeare's status as the national Bard and both included processions and grand balls. But there were striking differences in format. Some of the divergences include issues of class, while others echoed Shakespearean debates, such as the tension between page and stage Shakespeare. By looking at the commemorations side-by-side, we will be able to use the two gatherings as a microcosm to help us chart the various changes in the cultural and theatrical climate in London and Stratford vis-à-vis Shakespeare during the half-century that separated the festivities.
the Courtly and the Popular in The Merry Wives of Windsor
This paper explores the controversy as to whether The Merry Wives of Windsor is a celebration of royal and aristocratic power and of an imagined national community, or a suburban comedy whose viewpoint is that of the contemporary English middle-class. Drawing on recent work on female authority in household and community, it is suggested that Shakespeare's Windsor is not only discontinuous with the culture of nobility, but is presented as a parallel world or alternative universe where things are done quite differently. The play thus engages in a critique of the aristocratic values embodied in the Order of the Garter, and offers an alternative source of power in the domestic lives of ordinary women.
Rewriting Lesbian Stereotypes in Summer Will Show
Intertextuality is basic to Sylvia Townsend Warner’s narratives: she is a formidably learned, effortlessly allusive writer. From her slyly absurd references to Wordsworth in the lush tropical setting of Mr. Fortune’s Maggot (1927) through her retelling of Apuleius’s Cupid and Psyche to produce an allegory of class oppression in her first historical novel, The True Heart (1929), to the densely woven intertextuality of Summer Will Show (1936), she uses allusion both to ground her apparently implausible narratives within literary history and to question and parody the politics, ‘history’, and narratology of her predecessors. It is appropriate that in this novel, where the lesbian romance in Paris is precisely coterminous with the 1848 revolution, many of the allusions are to nineteenth-century French literary history. Warner’s ‘unwriting’ of Flaubert’s L’Éducation Sentimentale has received a great deal of attention since it was first noted by Terry Castle in her 1990 theorisation of the lesbian triangular plot. Later writers, in contrast, have emphasised the allusion’s Marxist significance. Quite another fictional genealogy seems more to the point, however, when we consider Warner’s characterisation of Minna Lemuel, the revolutionary Jewish story-teller: the representation, usually by women writers, of the powerful, sexually active, sometimes evil and sometimes doomed femme artiste, as in Madame de Stael’s Corinne, Charlotte Brontë’s Villette, George Sand’s Consuelo, and Colette’s La Seconde. It is now abundantly clear that the intertextuality of Summer Will Show demonstrates that the novel is narratologically, politically, and sexually revolutionary.
David Evans, Joanne Trevenna, David C. Green, Tina M. Kelleher, Mary Waldren, Andy Croft, George Wotton, Dennis Brown, Shorsha Sullivan, Dimitris Lyacos, and Adam Rounce
ILLUMINATIONS: An International Magazine of Contemporary Writing – New Writing from South and Southern Africa. The Rathasker Press; Summer 1998. ISSN 0736–4725. Subs $20; STO £5, Illuminations, Department of English, College of Charleston, 66 George Street, Charleston, SC 29424–0001, USA
Gothic Forms of Feminine Fictions. Susanne Becker (Manchester University Press, 1999), ISBN 0–7190–5331–5
In the Shadow of the Holocaust and Other Essays. C. Ponomareff (Amsterdam-Atlanta: Rodopi, 1998), ISBN: 90–420–0562–9
Strange Gourmets: Sophistication, Theory and the Novel. Joseph Litvak (Durham: Duke University Press, 1997), ISBN 0–8223–2016–9; £14.95
Maria Edgeworth’s Irish Writing: Language, History and Politics. Brian Hollingsworth (London: Macmillan, 1997), ISBN 0–333–68166–5.
Working-Class Fiction from Chartism to Trainspotting. Ian Haywood (Plymouth: Northcote House, 1997). Writers and theirWork Series, ISBN 0–7463–0780–2; £8.99
A Preface To Greene. Cedric Watts (Longman, 1997), ISBN 0–582–25019–6; £14.99 (paperback)
The Radical Twenties: Aspects of Writing, Politics and Culture. John Lucas (Five Leaves Publications, 1997), ISBN 0–907123–17–1 paperback; £11.99
Lives of the Poets. Michael Schmidt (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1999), ISBN 0–297–84014–2; £22.00
Jonz. Philip Ramp (Athens, 1997). Translated by Lydia Stephanou. Bilingual edition.
Studies in Classic Australian Fiction. Michael Wilding (Sydney and Nottingham: Sydney Studies in Society and Culture, and Shoestring Press, 1997), ISBN 0–949405–13–2; £12.99
The early novels of Elinor Glyn (1864–1943) were very well received for their ‘originality, wit and high spirits’. They were written at the turn of the century when Glyn was in her early 30s in order to solve financial problems and they are acutely observed accounts of the late Victorian and Edwardian marriage market. She contrasts British high society with continental arrangements to manage wives and mistresses and in doing so tentatively begins to explore the place of sexuality within marriage or more significantly the prospect of extramarital liaisons as young brides become mature women. Biographical accounts of Glyn’s career emphasise the surprise and hurt she felt at the response from the press and society acquaintances to Three Weeks (1907) when it was published. Whereas her other novels were seen as humorous and daring, this is the novel that overstepped the mark. Three Weeks became notorious because its focus is not society manners or pre-nuptial morality, but an adulterous affair that is treated sympathetically, almost reverentially by the authoress. Even more controversially, it is an older woman who seduces a younger man, with the intention of conceiving a child. The gender relations regarding class, culture, money, initiative, status, and more specifically power are unequivocally reversed and celebrated in the expression of a mature woman’s sexual pleasure.
Niall Griffiths in Conversation
Ian Peddie and Niall Griffiths
Born in Toxteth, Liverpool, in 1966, Niall Griffiths lives in the west Wales town of Aberystwyth. Now with seven novels to his credit, Griffiths originally arrived on the literary scene in 2000 with his first book, Grits, much of which was based on personal experience. Incorporating a narrative style critics frequently describe as ‘uncompromising’, Griffiths’s convincing regional vernacular lends his work a good deal of its authenticity, or, as the author puts it, the argot of place and class ‘carries a weight of nonestablishment, marginal knowledge’ (see page 102). This conviction is akin to shibboleth, to the recovery of custom and place and language that dominates his work. To see his fiction in this light necessitates acceptance that the vast multitude so often unrecognised in literature have a story to tell. Yet critics unwilling to comprehend the world inhabited by Griffiths’s characters invariably reach for adjectives such as ‘stark’, ‘raw’ and ‘uncompromising’ – the accustomed synonyms attributed to his work – as a means of explaining away a view of society at odds with their own.
Class, Authority, and the Reception of Knowledge in Victorian Women's Travel Writing
This essay considers epistemological vocabularies in aristocratic women’s travel writing of the Victorian period, examining the ways in which travelogues use ideas of ‘interest’ to stage the processing and dissemination of knowledge about, and personal experience of, ‘the Orient’ over the course of the nineteenth century. Each of the three travellers who are the main focus of my essay develops her own distinctive model of engagement with the regions in which she journeys: models which nevertheless all turn upon particular invocations of concepts of ‘interest’. I will first discuss what aspects of knowledge these writers are interested in and how they represent their own interest in the East, then analyse the ways through which the publication of their writings appeals to the interests of their British readership, before asking how the travellers’ best interests are furthered or hindered by the modes of epistemological authority they formulate. Ultimately, I argue that these inflections of interest reflect both the British upper class’s increasing emphasis on elite societal and cultural responsibility and, more generally, changing Victorian models of epistemological engagement with the Orient.
Counter-Sporting Victorian Reviving the Carnivalesque
In much of his work, H. G. Wells consciously criticises the conservativeness of contemporary sports such as cricket and emphasises cycling as a recreational sport which contributes to the democratisation of social class and gender. This stance is apparent in Wells's first social novel, The Wheels of Chance (1896) which captures the fin-de-siècle passion for cycling but also its social impact. For Wells, Victorian team/spectacle sports such as rugby, football, horseracing, and boxing are overtly competitive, promoting gentlemen's amateur sportsmanship and masculinity. This essay argues that The Wheels of Chance, by featuring recreational cycling as the main motif and casting an unfit draper as the protagonist, is an indirect criticism of gentlemen's sporting activities. It creates a space of amusement where strict rules are shunned in favour of casual pastime, generating carnivalesque games and performances in the Bakhtinian sense. It explores the author's will to change the social order through the carnivalesque, in the ambivalent depiction of Mr Hoopdriver's bi-cycling as play.
Mary Ellen Lamb
Addressing the question, ‘Am I saved?’, the diary of Margaret Hoby is primarily an exercise in the Puritan discipline of selfexamination, a pre-condition for ‘assurance’ or certain knowledge of election. Covering the years 1599–1605, Hoby’s entries represent a life saturated by print – the reading of Scripture and contemporary devotional authors, as well as of copying reading material into her commonplace and testament books. Hoby’s religious discipline was not unusual for devout women of the gentry class, whose piety came to resemble ‘a kind of self-imposed career’. As Diane Willen has aptly noted for Protestant women, ‘Denied the status of the Puritan divine, women might seek the greater status of Puritan saint’. There is a sense in which Margaret Hoby, as well as other Reformation women, may have found in private religious exercises a focus upon the states of their souls which in fact freed them momentarily from gender roles. Yet Reformation women incorporated their religious experiences into lives which were inevitably affected by gender.