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date: 05 April 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This essay provides an overview of recent debates in Victorian studies over the ways in which we read urban space and literature. It places these debates in a broader theoretical and historical context, emphasizing the tension between a need to pay attention to the minutiae of city life on the one hand, and the politics of mapping space more broadly on the other. In order to crystallize these debates, the essay offers a survey of Victorian responses to the London Sunday. Beginning with Dickens’s early response to sabbatarian debates, the essay moves through the key London texts of the period, from Gissing to Stevenson and Wilde, demonstrating that despite the increasing secularity of Sundays by the end of the century the singular character of the day remained.

Keywords: London, cultural geography, sabbatarianism, Sunday trade, Charles Dickens, George Gissing, Henry James, leisure

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