By John Plotz

ISBN-10: 0691146624

ISBN-13: 9780691146621

What fueled the Victorian ardour for hair-jewelry and memorial earrings? while might a daily item metamorphose from commodity to valuable relic? In transportable estate, John Plotz examines the recent position performed by means of moveable items in persuading Victorian Britons that they can commute in another country with non secular sentiments, kinfolk ties, and nationwide id intact. In an empire outlined as a lot through the move of capital as through strength of palms, the problem of retaining Englishness whereas dwelling in another country turned a primary Victorian preoccupation, making a urgent want for items which could without difficulty commute out of the country as personifications of Britishness. whilst a considerably new dating among funds price and mawkish institutions arose in sure resonant mementoes--in teacups, earrings, sprigs of heather, and handkerchiefs, yet so much of all in books. moveable estate examines how culture-bearing gadgets got here to face for far-off humans and locations, developing or conserving a feeling of self and neighborhood regardless of geographic dislocation. Victorian novels--because they themselves got here to be understood because the integral moveable property--tell the tale of this variation such a lot truly. Plotz analyzes quite a lot of works, paying specific consciousness to George Eliot's Daniel Deronda, Anthony Trollope's Eustace Diamonds, and R. D. Blackmore's Lorna Doone. He additionally discusses Thomas Hardy and William Morris's vehement assault at the very suggestion of cultural portability. the result's a richer knowing of the function of gadgets in British tradition at domestic and in a foreign country in the course of the Age of Empire.

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Extra resources for Portable Property: Victorian Culture on the Move

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I also make the case in chapters 5 and 6, below, that an overtly antiportable logic pervades both the localism of Thomas Hardy’s prose (and poetry) and the utopianism of William Morris’s late novels. 43 Kirsteen is an evident response to the novels of Walter Scott: indeed, the title’s echo of Waverly, or, ’Tis Sixty Years Since is confirmed by a staged reading of that novel midway through. Oliphant’s preoccupation with the role played by information-laden trinkets certainly brings to mind Scott’s battery of revelatory amulets, talismans, and broken necklaces.

By century’s end, certain writers had begun to signal a mounting unease with the paradigmatic assumptions of portability. In chapter 3, below, for example, I argue that Daniel Deronda (1876) experiments with installing Introduction • 13 cultural knowledge deep within an individual’s body, signaling that the provincial novel can no longer serve flawlessly as a vessel for the guiding assumptions of cultural portability. I also make the case in chapters 5 and 6, below, that an overtly antiportable logic pervades both the localism of Thomas Hardy’s prose (and poetry) and the utopianism of William Morris’s late novels.

Rather, Cohen discerns a Victorian capacity to imagine one’s personality as constituted out of a problematic back-and-forth between oneself and one’s belongings. ”9 To analyze Victorian novels via any kind of thing theory, then, apparently requires focusing on the way that an object’s singularity calls forth unsuspected reservoirs of emotion. Such outbursts, clearly, are far removed from Simmel’s argument that the love felt for one’s jewelry is at core nothing more than a reflection (objective, impersonal, predictable) of that jewelry’s market value.

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Portable Property: Victorian Culture on the Move by John Plotz


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