'Each century', wrote Charles Dickens ' is] more amazed by the
century following it than by all the centuries before'. "Victorians
in Theory" explores the startling conceit that nineteenth-century
poetry is amazed by twentieth-century literary theory. In a daring
and exciting departure from critical convention, Schad re-reads
poststructuralist theory through Victorian poetry. Each chapter
pairs a poet with a theorist: Robert Browning meets Jacques
Derrida; Christina Rossetti encounters Luce Irigaray; Matthew
Arnold is after Michel Foucault; Gerald Manley Hopkins dreams with
Jacques Lacan; and Elizabeth Barrett Browning haunts Helene Cixous.
Reading both across and between these writers, Schad opens up a
radically intertextual space; he wanders, in Matthew Arnold's
words, 'between two worlds'. Across this no-man's land appear a
host of unlikely spectres, among them T. S. Eliot, Martin Luther,
Friedrich Nietzsche, Lewis Carroll's Alice, Walter Benjamin's
'angel of history', and the woman taken in adultery. This
groundbreaking book will fascinate anyone interested in the
Victorians or theory; at once rigorous and readable, it will appeal
to both the scholar and the student.
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