Victorian Studies: Introduction

According to George Levine, the writer of this essay, last twenty-five years is a good reference point to restart the interest in "Victorianism". It seems ironical that the left wing scholars are, 'being interested in academy to read Victorian period, its culture and literature, but the Victorian period, itself was marked by politics, culture and commerce of "Margaret Thatcher" and "Laura Ashley" and "the National trust" which in fact was against of left (communist/Marxist).

The preoccupation with Victorian objects can reflect an ideological emphasis on the ordinary, of daily life, of "unimportant" people in the life of a culture, or it can be a symptom of a new monied (money oriented) elitism (control by high class), an acquisitive rather than a democratic or socialist thrust. But, this reflection seems retrospective; as it draws back to the authoritative age by challenging the democratic era, it is also somewhat ironic.

We meet with boundless of ironies while rereading Victorian period. It seems ironical again when Walter Scott (175 years ago wrote about Victorian ordinary life and culture) and first brilliant and enormously talented English-Marxist William Morris have been studied together in academies. The rereading of Victorian canonical as well as non-canonical authors is a continuous process, every author is in touch with the process, whether Ruskin or Morris or Dickens or George Eliot or anybody else.

Victorian period has been studied not from a single parameter, scholars are at once interpreting from the political and formalistic ground, the study is at once subversive and reactionary and scholars of historicist and idealist schools are reading the single age though they have their own standards and parameters.

At present Victorian period is being studied as seriously as others. Such as Renaissance or as Romanticism, but to develop it as a serious genre, to bring it in academies, many-recent scholars have paid due attention, though they are from different- schools of, thought; either Raymond Williams, or Terry Eagleton, or the student of popular culture Richard Hoggart, or the recent feminist critics as Mary Poovey, Nancy Armstrong, and Nina Auerbach. The interest in things Victorian is still increasing in academies.

Fredric Jameson and Edward Said positioned the Victorian fiction at the center for their critical analysis, Bakhtin needed Dickens as a center case for his dialogic theory. In recent years, the astonishing progress has been seen in publishing new, additions or conserving the past works of many Victorians, such as Ruskin, Thackeray, George Eliot, Newman, Darwin, Carlyle, Dickens, Tennyson and so on others. But the explosions of these editions are not for safekeeping and preservation only, but for new inventions, for true representation either politically or structurally,

There is no single voice to represent the story of whole "Victorianism", it is impossible to redraw the boundaries of Victorian, period without listening the stories from multiple perspectives.