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Longing

Tamara S. Wagner

Narratives of Nostalgia in the British Novel, 1740-1890

2004
297 pages
$42.50
ISBN 0-8387-5600-
LC 2004010450

Nostalgia formed an important cultural force in the formation of Western modernity, while the novel of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries at once reflected and influenced the changing definition of nostalgia as an emotion and way of remembering. Both were significant for a new understanding of personal feeling. Longing: Narratives of Nostalgia in the British Novel, 1740-1890 provides new insight into its creative attributes, while emphasizing its cultural contexts. In close readings of a range of clinical and literary texts, including novels by Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, and Wilkie Collins as well as by such lesser-known novelists as Frances Sheridan, Charlotte Smith, and Charles Reade, it shows how nostalgia was transformed from a clinical condition into an emotional experience in late-eighteenth-century novels of sensibility, ridiculed after the genre's heyday, finally becoming a wistful memory in mid-Victorian fiction before it had to be defended against new pathologies of both longing and memory at the fin-de-siècle.

About the author:

Tamara S. Wagner is a postdoctoral junior research fellow at the National University of Singapore where she teaches a course on eighteenth- and nineteenth-century fiction.

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