Wilkie Collins: The Critical Heritage: Volume 58

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Action and Attitude: Wilkie Collins and the Language of Melodramatic Gesture

The reception given to a writer by his contemporaries and near-contemporaries isevidence of considerable value to the student of literature. On one side we learn a greatdeal about the state of criticism at large and in particular about the development of criticalattitudes towards a single writer; at the same time, through private comments in letters,journals, or marginalia, we gain an insight upon the tastes and literary thought ofindividual readers of the period. Evidence of this kind helps us to understand the writershistorical situation, the nature of his immediate reading-public, and his response to thesepressures.

The separate volumes in the Critical Heritage Series present a record of this earlycriticism. Clearly, for many of the highly productive and lengthily reviewed nineteenthand twentieth-century writers, there exists an enormous body of material; and in thesecases the volume editors have made a selection of the most important views, significantfor their intrinsic critical worth or for their representative qualityperhaps evenregistering incomprehension! For earlier writers, notably pre-eighteenth century, the materials are much scarcer andthe historical period has been extended, sometimes far beyond the writers lifetime, inorder to show the inception and growth of critical views which were initially slow toappear.

In each volume the documents are headed by an Introduction, discussing the materialassembled and relating the early stages of the authors reception to what we have come toidentify as the critical tradition.

[Philip Collins] Charles Dickens the Critical Her(BookFi.org)

The volumes will make available much material whichwould otherwise be difficult of access and it is hoped that the modern reader will bethereby helped towards an informed understanding of the ways in which literature hasbeen read and judged. Most of the items reprinted here are reviews or essays from periodicals, publishedduring Dickenss lifetime and in the decade or so after his death, and most of them havebeen abbreviated, often drastically. This was a period when a review of a single bookcould extend over ten thousand words the Quarterly Review devoted about wordsto Pickwick and Sketches by Boz, in October , and a substantial assessment of anauthors work might go well beyond that length.

I have preferred to represent a widerange of response to all Dickenss fictional works, and a few others, rather than reprint entirea handful of the most intelligent, or representative, reviews: but I realize that my cuts,like my selection of items, are necessarily a very personal choice, and that another editor,as well-qualified as myself, would have plied his scissors quite differently. Inevitably, thefull argument being developed by a critic has sometimes been ill-represented when somuch of his evidence has been omitted; and sometimes I have selected from a long itemone or two minor points, rather than the authors main argument which may be of lessinterest, or may have been fully represented in other items.

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The reader should, therefore,remember that my aim has been to show a wide range of contemporary responses toDickens, rather than always to give adequate evidence for an assessment of his criticsqualities. These qualities will, of course, often enough be apparent, but any reader whowants to be sure of being fair to, say, Mrs Oliphant as a critic should consult her items intheir original fullness rather than rely on the selections which my special purposes have ledme to make. I have also included some less formal reactions to Dickens, from letters, diaries, andreports of the conversations of his contemporaries.

Particularly I have thus tried to showhow he struck various people illustrious in literary and public life.

(PDF) The Serial Publication in Britain of the Novels of Wilkie Collins | Graham Law - vilseawhigo.gq

The materials available for such a collection are overwhelmingly numerous, and I amfar from having examined them all. The task of doing so may be gauged from what isdoubtless the most complete published list of reviews of one novelProfessor KathleenTillotsons,in an Appendix to her Clarendon edition of Oliver Twist The past twenty years has seen a growing interest in the phenomenon of the sensation novel which is no longer regarded as indisputably unimportant or devoid of interest in studies of Victorian literature.

Arguing that research into the genre has reached a crossroads, this article offers an overview of the sensation genre and some of the issues which have interested critics to date, in particular the association with women writers and readers. It suggests some of the different ways in which future work might go and draws attention to the sensation novel's diversity in terms of genre, form and subject matter, suggesting that the genre is not as easy to label as it first seems.

Volume 2 , Issue 1.

The full text of this article hosted at iucr. If you do not receive an email within 10 minutes, your email address may not be registered, and you may need to create a new Wiley Online Library account. If the address matches an existing account you will receive an email with instructions to retrieve your username. Andrew Maunder University of Hertfordshire Search for more papers by this author. Tools Request permission Export citation Add to favorites Track citation. Share Give access Share full text access. Share full text access.


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Institutional Login. Log in to Wiley Online Library. Purchase Instant Access. View Preview. Learn more Check out. Abstract The past twenty years has seen a growing interest in the phenomenon of the sensation novel which is no longer regarded as indisputably unimportant or devoid of interest in studies of Victorian literature.