Voice and the Victorian Storyteller

Voice and the Victorian Storyteller

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The nineteenth-century novel has always been regarded as a literary form pre-eminently occupied with the written word, but Ivan Kreilkamp shows it was deeply marked by and engaged with vocal performances and the preservation and representation of speech. He offers a detailed account of the many ways Victorian literature and culture represented the human voice, from political speeches, governesses' tales, shorthand manuals, and staged authorial performances in the early- and mid-century, to mechanically reproducible voice at the end of the century. Through readings of Charlotte Bronte, Browning, Carlyle, Conrad, Dickens, Disraeli and Gaskell, Kreilkamp re-evaluates critical assumptions about the cultural meanings of storytelling, and shows that the figure of the oral storyteller, rather than disappearing among readers' preference for printed texts, persisted as a character and a function within the novel. This 2005 study will change the way readers consider the Victorian novel and its many ways of telling stories.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 268 pages
  • 152 x 229 x 15mm | 400g
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Reissue
  • Worked examples or Exercises
  • 0521111498
  • 9780521111492
  • 1,499,573

Table of contents

1. 'The best man of all': mythologies of the storyteller; 2. When good speech acts go bad: the voice of industrial fiction; 3. Speech on paper: Charles Dickens, Victorian phonography, and the reform of writing; 4. 'Done to death': Dickens and the author's voice; 5. Unuttered: withheld speech in Jane Eyre and Villette; 6. 'Hell's masterpiece of print': voice, face, and print in The Ring and the Book; 7. A voice without a body: the phonographic logic of Heart of Darkness.
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Review quote

'... exciting and suggestive analysis.' The Times Literary Supplement
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About Ivan Kreilkamp

Ivan Kreilkamp is an Assistant Professor of English at Indiana University.
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