Review 19: An Online Review of New Books on English and American Literature of the 19th Century
 

New Reviews
 
Ian Duncan
HUMAN FORMS: THE NOVEL IN THE AGE OF EVOLUTION
(Princeton, 2019) xiii 290 pp.
Reviewed by Lauren Cameron on 2020-03-25.

This book begins by intriguingly promising to explore "a commonplace that has largely escaped critical attention." While novels are grounded in "human nature" during the age of European realism (circa 1750-1880), the human species itself is redefined by a "natural history of man" that is "[d]ensely entangled with the rise of evolutionary science," so the supposed formlessness of the novel "now marked...
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Anne C. McCarthy
AWFUL PARENTHESIS: SUSPENSION AND THE SUBLIME IN ROMANTIC AND VICTORIAN POETRY
(Toronto UP, 2018) x + 218 pp.
Reviewed by Sasha Tamar Strelitz on 2020-02-10.

Throughout its intellectual history extending as far back as Longinus, a central characteristic of the sublime is reflection, mostly in the emotional realm as opposed to the rational. Regardless of where it lies on the spectrum between grand and grotesque, what makes an object sublime is the observer's affective reflection on it. For example, the ocean itself is not sublime (as I understand the...
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Jayne Thomas
TENNYSON ECHOING WORDSWORTH
(Edinburgh, 2019) 210pp.
Reviewed by Thomas J. Brennan, S.J. on 2020-02-10.

This book offers a careful and comprehensive discussion of the formative influences of William Wordsworth's work on that of Alfred, Lord Tennyson. I use "formative" quite deliberately and even literally here because it calls attention to the stress that Thomas--following Christopher Ricks--places on the poetry itself. Not inclined to producing his own criticism, Tennyson sees poetry as the medium...
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Adrian Wisnicki
FIELDWORK OF EMPIRE, 1840-1900: INTERCULTURAL DYNAMICS IN THE PRODUCTION OF BRITISH EXPEDITIONARY LITERATURE
(Routledge, 2019), xviii +205 pp.
Reviewed by Laura Franey on 2020-02-01.

This book offers precisely the kind of dense, complex, intercultural reading of Victorian travelers, their journeys, and their literary and cartographic productions that scholars of travel writing on Africa have envisioned since the boom in such criticism began in the late 1980s and early 1990s. For both ideological and practical reasons, scholars of that era focused almost exclusively on the polished...
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Sheshalatha Reddy
BRITISH EMPIRE AND THE LITERATURE OF REBELLION: REVOLTING BODIES, LABORING SUBJECTS
(Palgrave, 2017) xl + 271 pp.
Reviewed by Aaron Worth on 2020-01-21.

Episodes of violent social and political resistance make us, or ought to make us, peculiarly aware of the framing power of language. There are shades, and sometimes worlds, of difference between a "mutiny," an "insurrection," a "rebellion," a "revolt," a "rising," and the big "R," "revolution." When all of these terms are used to denote the same event--like the one sparked in the garrison town of...
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