The Reinterpretation of Victorian Literature

The Reinterpretation of Victorian Literature

The Reinterpretation of Victorian Literature

The Reinterpretation of Victorian Literature

Excerpt

The Victorian Literature Group of the Modern Language Association of America, at the 1939 meeting in New Orleans, agreed to put out this volume to further the reinterpretation of a literature of great significance for us today. The writers of Victorian England first tried to salvage humane culture for a new world of science, democracy, and industrialism. We owe to them--and to Pre-Victorians like the prose Coleridge--a revival of Christian thought, a new Classical renaissance (this time Greek rather than Latin), an unprecedented mastery of the facts about nature and man--and, indeed, the very conception of "culture" that we take for granted in our education and in our social planning. In that age, a consciousness that human life is subject to constant development, a sense of historicity, first spread throughout the general public, and literature for the first time showed that intimate integration with its social background which marks our modern culture. In protest against this came the aesthetic movement, another Victorian phenomenon that still commands and repels so much of our modern literary mind. These "new" attitudes cannot be understood without reading the literature that made them current. The Victorians are indispensable to bridge the gap that too often yawns between the traditional thought and art of the great ages of European mankind, and the immediate pursuits of present-day writers and readers.

That there is a place for a volume like this was first suggested by the success and influence of The Reinterpretation of American Literature, but the two books are not exactly parallel, since this one is not national in its interest. We have not substituted a British for an American point of view. Thackeray is our best critic concerning our own van-

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.