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date: 13 November 2019

Abstract and Keywords

“Industrialism and the Victorian Novel” offers a new model for thinking about the relation between industrialism and literature, emphasizing the acceleration of social and economic change by contrast with the longstanding tendency to focus on the machinery of industry alone. The benefits of this approach are twofold, providing at once a more complete (and more up-to-date) account of what industrial change entailed and offering a wider vision of what should count as an industrial novel. The first section details the precise value of what has long been called the social problem novel (or, also, the industrial novel), with examples from Disraeli’s Sybil, Dickens’s Hard Times, and George Eliot’s Felix Holt. After a fuller discussion of economic history, progress, and social transformation, the second section reveals the deep industrial resonances of such less industry-saturated novels as Dombey and Son and Middlemarch.

Keywords: Industrialism, Industry, Progress, Social Problem Novel, Charles Dickens, George Eliot, Benjamin Disraeli

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