"Circe among cities" : images of London and the languages of social concern, 1880-1900
Hapgood, Lynne, 1943- (1990) "Circe among cities" : images of London and the languages of social concern, 1880-1900. PhD thesis, University of Warwick.
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Official URL: http://webcat.warwick.ac.uk/record=b1456902~S1
This thesis is an investigation of sociological, documentary and literary texts whose central concerns are the social conditions in London during the period 1880-1899. London is chosen as a focus because during this time it was perceived as being in a state of crisis which produced an unprecedented amount of writing in response. The investigation has two complementary objectives: (i) to analyse, through the changing presentation of London in literary texts, the response of novelists working within the realistic tradition to the challenge of divesting language and form of inherited social meanings; (ii) to ascertain how conditions in London were articulated in a wide range of non-fictional writings, and to assess the role played by discourses inherited from Christian perspectives of society in absorbing, hindering, expressing or developing radical thought. The first part of the thesis will establish what the dominant images of London were. It will concentrate on the inner city texts of the 1880s and the suburban texts of the 1890s. What these images reveal about changing moral and political responses to social issues are assessed. The second part will be concerned with a London of spiritual and moral significance. Certain doctrinal, sociological and fictional works which attempted to make Christian terminology appropriate to the contemporary city will be considered. The impact of Socialism on religious and fictional discourses is evaluated. The thesis will conclude with a discussion of London as a political construct and assess how far such a perception sets up a break with tradition. Fictional texts assume a peculiar importance here since they are strongly differentiated from each other and from their literary tradition. In fictional texts in particular, images of London highlight the particular difficulty of redeploying a tradition of realism to accommodate radical ideas and the consequent formal challenges. The presentation of London in a diverse body of literature can therefore be seen to offer a variety of perspectives on the process of change in both language and form.
|Item Type:||Thesis or Dissertation (PhD)|
|Subjects:||D History General and Old World > DA Great Britain|
|Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH):||London (England) -- Social conditions -- 19th century, London (England) -- In literature, Social problems in literature|
|Institution:||University of Warwick|
|Theses Department:||Department of English and Comparative Literary Studies|
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