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Pleasures of Benthamism – Victorian Literature, Utility, Political Economy - Oxford Scholarship Online
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Pleasures of Benthamism: Victorian Literature, Utility, Political Economy

Kathleen Blake


This book offers a fresh look at the often‐censured but imperfectly understood traditions of Utilitarianism and political economy in their bearing for Victorian literature and culture. It treats writings by Jeremy Bentham, Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, David Ricardo, James and John Stuart Mill, Charles Dickens, Thomas Carlyle, Anthony Trollope, George Eliot, Elizabeth Gaskell, and Rabindranath Tagore. It sets texts in historical context, examines style as well as ideas, and aims to widen awareness of commonalities across seemingly divided expressions of the age. A work of ‘new economic criticism ... More

Keywords: capitalist age, ‘dismal science’, liberalism, liberal imperialism, Mr. Gradgrind, Panopticon, pleasure, political economy, Utilitarianism, Victorian literature and culture, class, gender, reform

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2009 Print ISBN-13: 9780199563265
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2010 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199563265.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Kathleen Blake, author
University of Washington
Author Webpage