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Victorian AfterlivesThe Shaping of Influence in Nineteenth-Century Literature$
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Robert Douglas-Fairhurst

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780198187271

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198187271.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 09 December 2021

Voices in the Air

Voices in the Air

Chapter:
(p.85) 2 Voices in the Air
Source:
Victorian Afterlives
Author(s):

Robert Douglas-Fairhurst (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198187271.003.0003

It is in the nature of a writer to be a type of escape-artist, for whom no contextual bonds are strong enough to prevent his or her work from wriggling free and asserting its independence. As Roland Barthes puts it, the work is ‘something else than its history, the sum of its sources, influences, or models’. Not all critics have concluded from this that the protracted evasiveness of a literary work should be met with a corresponding critical restraint. This chapter describes some of the currents of Victorian thought, including the ways in which one person is understood to influence another physically and morally; the overlapping interest of Positivists and theologians in what of the individual changes over time and what remains; and the resources of print that allows a writer like Dickens to investigate and dramatise the influence on his work of others, and of his own earlier self.

Keywords:   writer, Roland Barthes, literary work, Victorian though, Positivist, Charles Dickens

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