SHARE

Creating character

Theories of nature and nurture in Victorian sensation fiction

By Helena Ifill

Creating character

ALSO AVAILABLE IN OTHER FORMATS:

  • eBook

Book Information

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-1-7849-9513-3
  • Pages: 240
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £75.00
  • Published Date: February 2018
  • BIC Category: Literature, United Kingdom, Great Britain, Literature: history & criticism, Literary theory, Literary studies: fiction, novelists & prose writers, Literature & literary studies / Literary studies: c 1800 to c 1900, Literary studies: c 1800 to c 1900, Ireland, LITERARY CRITICISM / European / English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh, LITERARY CRITICISM / General, Literature & literary studies / Literary theory, Literature & literary studies / Literary studies: fiction, novelists & prose writers
  • Series: Interventions: Rethinking the Nineteenth Century

Description

This book explores the ways in which the two leading sensation authors of the 1860s, Mary Elizabeth Braddon and Wilkie Collins, engaged with nineteenth-century ideas about personality formation and the extent to which it can be influenced either by the subject or by others. Innovative readings of seven sensation novels explore how they employ and challenge Victorian theories of heredity, degeneration, inherent constitution, education, upbringing and social circumstance. Far from presenting a reductive depiction of 'nature' versus 'nurture', Braddon and Collins show the creation of character to be a complex interplay of internal and external factors. Drawing on material ranging from medical textbooks, to sociological treatises, to popular periodicals, Creating character shows how sensation authors situated themselves at the intersections of established and developing, conservative and radical, learned and sensationalist thought about how identity could be made and modified.

Author

Helena Ifill is a member of the School of English at the University of Sheffield

Contents

Introduction
Part I: Self-control, willpower and monomania
1. Basil and No Name
2. John Marchmont's Legacy
Part II: Heredity and degeneration
3. The Lady Lisle
4. Armadale
Part III: Education, environment and circumstance
5. Man and Wife
6. Lost for Love
Conclusion
Index

Sign up to our newsletter
and receive 20% off all future book orders