Cover image for Victorian literature and the Victorian state character and governance in a liberal society
Title:
Victorian literature and the Victorian state character and governance in a liberal society
Author:
Goodlad, Lauren M. E.
ISBN:
9780801881541
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Publication Information:
Baltimore : Johns Hopkins University Press, c2003. (Baltimore, Md. : Project MUSE, 2015)
Physical Description:
1 online resource (xv, 298 p. )
Series:
UPCC book collections on Project MUSE.
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Summary

Summary

Studies of Victorian governance have been profoundly influenced by Discipline and Punish , Michel Foucault's groundbreaking genealogy of modern power. Yet, according to Lauren Goodlad, Foucault's analysis is better suited to the history of the Continent than to nineteenth-century Britain, with its decentralized, voluntarist institutional culture and passionate disdain for state interference. Focusing on a wide range of Victorian writing--from literary figures such as Charles Dickens, George Gissing, Harriet Martineau, J. S. Mill, Anthony Trollope, and H. G. Wells to prominent social reformers such as Edwin Chadwick, Thomas Chalmers, Sir James Kay-Shuttleworth, and Beatrice Webb--Goodlad shows that Foucault's later essays on liberalism and "governmentality" provide better critical tools for understanding the nineteenth-century British state.

Victorian Literature and the Victorian State delves into contemporary debates over sanitary, education, and civil service reform, the Poor Laws, and the century-long attempt to substitute organized charity for state services. Goodlad's readings elucidate the distinctive quandary of Victorian Britain and, indeed, any modern society conceived in liberal terms: the elusive quest for a "pastoral" agency that is rational, all-embracing, and effective but also anti-bureaucratic, personalized, and liberatory. In this study, impressively grounded in literary criticism, social history, and political theory, Goodlad offers a timely post-Foucauldian account of Victorian governance that speaks to the resurgent neoliberalism of our own day.


Table of Contents

Prefacep. vii
1 Beyond the Panopticon: The Critical Challenge of a Liberal Societyp. 1
2 Making the Working Man Like Me: Charity, the Novel, and the New Poor Lawp. 32
3 Is There a Pastor in the House? Sanitary Reform and Governing Agency in Dickens's Midcentury Fictionp. 86
4 An Officer and a Gentleman: Civil Service Reform and the Early Career of Anthony Trollopep. 118
5 A Riddle without an Answer: Character and Education in Our Mutual Friendp. 159
6 Dueling Pastors, Dueling Worldviewsp. 192
Epilogue: Social Securityp. 238
Notesp. 245
Works Citedp. 267
Indexp. 287