The Victorian Novel of Adulthood

The Victorian Novel of Adulthood

Plot and Purgatory in Fictions of Maturity

eBook - 2015
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In The Victorian Novel of Adulthood, Rebecca Rainof confronts the conventional deference accorded the bildungsroman as the ultimate plot model and quintessential expression of Victorian nation building. The novel of maturity, she contends, is no less important to our understanding of narrative, Victorian culture, and the possibilities of fiction.

Reading works by Charles Dickens, George Eliot, Henry James, John Henry Newman, and Virginia Woolf, Rainof exposes the little-discussed theological underpinnings of plot and situates the novel of maturity in intellectual and religious history, notably the Oxford Movement. Purgatory, a subject hotly debated in the period, becomes a guiding metaphor for midlife adventure in secular fiction. Rainof discusses theological models of gradual maturation, thus directing readers’ attention away from evolutionary theory and geology, and offers a new historical framework for understanding Victorian interest in slow and deliberate change.



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In The Victorian Novel of Adulthood, Rebecca Rainof confronts the conventional deference accorded the bildungsroman as the ultimate plot model and quintessential expression of Victorian nation building. The novel of maturity, she contends, is no less important to our understanding of narrative, Victorian culture, and the possibilities of fiction.

Reading works by Charles Dickens, George Eliot, Henry James, John Henry Newman, and Virginia Woolf, Rainof exposes the little-discussed theological underpinnings of plot and situates the novel of maturity in intellectual and religious history, notably the Oxford Movement. Purgatory, a subject hotly debated in the period, becomes a guiding metaphor for midlife adventure in secular fiction. Rainof discusses theological models of gradual maturation, thus directing readers’ attention away from evolutionary theory and geology, and offers a new historical framework for understanding Victorian interest in slow and deliberate change.



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The author argues that Victorian stories of adulthood and midlife illustrate a model of plot separate from that of coming-of-age stories and examines how the bildungsroman has shaped and limited the understanding of experience in Victorian novels. She analyzes the gradual plots novels of adulthood and midlife have that represent adulthood, midlife, and maturity and the development that unfolds slowly through introspection rather than outward action. She considers how the religious and intellectual concepts from the Oxford movement, particularly purgatory and gradual transformation in theology, influenced Victorian fiction by Charles Dickens, George Eliot, Henry James, John Henry Newman, and Virginia Woolf. Annotation ©2016 Ringgold, Inc., Portland, OR (protoview.com)

Publisher: Athens, Ohio :, Ohio University Press,, [2015]
Copyright Date: Ă2015
ISBN: 9780821445389
0821445383
0821421786
9780821421789
Characteristics: 1 online resource (xii, 252 pages) : illustrations

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