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Reading Constellations – Urban Modernity in Victorian Fiction - Oxford Scholarship Online
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Reading Constellations: Urban Modernity in Victorian Fiction

Patricia McKee


The modern city in the works of Charles Dickens, Thomas Hardy, and Henry James disrupts the ideal of progressive improvement which often framed modernity in the Victorian imagination. This study uses Walter Benjamin’s idea of the constellation to clarify these authors’ undermining of presumptions of progressive history and to elaborate the disputed and distracted urban modernities of their fictions. What are for Benjamin modes of thinking philosophically appear in fiction with revisionary social and emotional effects, in constellations that interrupt the individual self and social relations, a ... More

Keywords: Charles Dickens, Thomas Hardy, Henry James, Walter Benjamin, modernity, city

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2014 Print ISBN-13: 9780199333905
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2014 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199333905.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Patricia McKee, author
Dartmouth College