- Copyright Page
- List of Illustrations
- Notes on Contributors
- In Ancient Rome
- In the Classroom
- In the Custom House
- In Public
- Across Borders
- Mental Representation
- Mindreading and Social Status
- Dyslexia: Through the Eyes of da Vinci
Abstract and Keywords
Technical language is not literary in the eyes of many critics; it tends to exclude readers and so we often leave it unread on the page, as ornament or reality effect. This chapter suggests that technical language is literary language and that understanding what it signifies both literally and in relation to what we (too confidently) think of as “standard” language can take us down various philological, critical, and political paths of reading. Our exemplary text is The Return of the Native, in which Hardy deploys a “Wessex” dialect that is always surrounded by standard English. Indeed, dialect is a particularly problematic technical language because it is so local, and often connotes the claustrophobia of the regional. At the same time, it imparts to us a knowledge of place and the means of survival in various places that does crucial work, in literature as well as out of it.
Elaine Freedgood teaches in the Department of English at New York University and in NYU’s Prison Education Program. She is the author of Victorian Writing about Risk: Imagining a Safe England in a Dangerous World (2000) and The Ideas in Things: Fugitive Meaning in the Victorian Novel (2006). She is also the editor of Factory Writing in Nineteenth-Century Britain (2003). Her current book is on how to undo the literary critical invention of realism.
Cannon Schmitt, Professor and Director of Graduate Studies in English at the University of Toronto, is the author two books, Darwin and the Memory of the Human: Evolution, Savages, and South America (2009) and Alien Nation: Nineteenth-Century Gothic Fictions and English Nationality (1997), and essays in Representations, ELH, Victorian Studies, and elsewhere. At present he is completing a book on the sea in Victorian fiction and the possibility of literal (and technical) reading.
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