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The Victorian Geopolitical AestheticRealism, Sovereignty, and Transnational Experience$
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Lauren M. E. Goodlad

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780198728276

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198728276.001.0001

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Coda: The Way We Historicize Now

Coda: The Way We Historicize Now

(p.268) Coda: The Way We Historicize Now
The Victorian Geopolitical Aesthetic

Lauren M. E. Goodlad

Oxford University Press

The Coda reflects on new critical trends that have emerged during the course of this book’s production. Influential examples include Best and Marcus’s special issue on “surface reading,” Felski’s Latour-inspired critique of “context,” and the interest in “new” sociologies. Such work overlooks the potential of the geopolitical aesthetic to work against the stalemate that pits a surface-focused ethics of reading against a depth-focused politics of reading. Yet, Jameson’s recent study of realism’s antinomies ignores nineteenth-century geopolitics. The larger ambit of the Victorian geopolitical aesthetic is a period of time which we inhabit today: serialized narratives of capitalist globalization capture the unfolding of structures that share fundamental commonalities over decades and centuries while elucidating incremental change. To acknowledge seriality as a constitutive feature of realist narrative—in recent and nineteenth-century media—is to recognize the inseparability of materialist sociology and materialist hermeneutics. The Coda thus elaborates the book’s commitment to historicism as a constitutive condition of the critical enterprise.

Keywords:   historicism, seriality, Bruno Latour, surface reading, descriptive reading, realism, naturalism, hermeneutics of suspicion, Fredric Jameson

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