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Title: Things That Linger: Secrets, Containers & Hoards in the Victorian Novel
Authors: Jacob, Priyanka Anne
Advisors: Nord, Deborah
Contributors: English Department
Keywords: 19th Century
Subjects: Literature
Issue Date: 2015
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: Things That Linger examines the residual objects of Victorian fiction. Remnants, trinkets, and scraps are lodged in the background of the novel, grounding the text in a solid, shabby, and contingent material world. In chapters on Charles Dickens, Mary Elizabeth Braddon, and George Eliot, I uncover the Victorian preoccupation with the fixedness of minor things, from the stubbornness of the clue to the scarred presence of the ruin. Departing from the critical emphasis on circulation, I draw attention to those things suspended just outside familiar networks: the newspaper abandoned on the table of a public house, the debris of the river, the perpetually unsold wares of a shop. These damaged yet durable objects evoke broader cultural concerns about what to keep, what to discard, and the possibility of accomplishing either task. Tucked in pocketbooks and forgotten caches, residual objects register the novel’s narrative and material function as a container and carve depth and stillness into the space of the text. Hoards of objects even shape the novel’s collection of information, as its settings and plots are given over to the containment of secrets: secrets that will be kept, rather than exposed, at the novel’s end. I argue that the hoard—in all its meanings as stockpile, stoppage, accumulation, repository, and secret—is a structuring principle of Victorian culture and the novel form.
Alternate format: The Mudd Manuscript Library retains one bound copy of each dissertation. Search for these copies in the library's main catalog:
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:English

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