Stephen Wall, Trollope and Character and Other Essays on Victorian Literature
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A collection of the principal publications of the distinguished scholar-critic Stephen Wall.

‘Stephen Wall, “Trollope and Character” (1988) and Other Essays on Victorian Literature’, with an introduction by Nicholas Shrimpton, gathers together the principal publications of the distinguished scholar-critic Stephen Wall. Wall was widely regarded for his writings on the Victorian novel, and this book contains all his major writings about Anthony Trollope and Charles Dickens, including the full text of his book-length study ‘Trollope and Character’ (1988) and a history of Dickens's reception. Alongside these texts are included Wall's reflections on Jane Austen and George Eliot and on other aspects of nineteenth-century fiction, as well as his influential essay on the ways in which English novels should be edited. Together, the essays communicate the mixture of learning, human sympathy, critical intelligence and dry wit that made Wall's voice so distinctive and trusted.

Preface; Introduction: ‘Stephen Wall and Trollope’ by Nicholas Shrimpton; PART ONE: ON TROLLOPE; 1. The Artist as Philistine (1984); 2. Trollope and Character (1988); PART TWO: ON DICKENS AND OTHERS; 3. George Eliot and Her Readers (1965); 4. Jane Austen’s Judgments (1968); 5. Dickens: New Words and Old Opinions (1969); 6. Dickens and His Readers (1970); 7. Dickens in 1970 (1971); 8. Annotated English Novels? (1982); 9. Affective Intentions (1985); 10. Virtuoso Variations (1987); 11. Going Beyond the Repertory (1990); 12. A Little Local Irritation (1998); Index.



Publié par
Date de parution 14 juillet 2018
Nombre de lectures 0
EAN13 9781783088195
Langue English

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Stephen Wall Trollope and Character and Other Essays on Victorian Literature
Anthem Nineteenth-Century Series
The Anthem Nineteenth-Century Series incorporates a broad range of titles within the fields of literature and culture, comprising an excellent collection of interdisciplinary academic texts. The series aims to promote the most challenging and original work being undertaken in the field and encourages an approach that fosters connections between areas including history, science, religion and literary theory. Our titles have earned an excellent reputation for the originality and rigour of their scholarship and our commitment to high-quality production.
Series Editor
Robert Douglas-Fairhurst – University of Oxford, UK
Editorial Board
Dinah Birch – University of Liverpool, UK
Kirstie Blair – University of Stirling, UK
Archie Burnett – Boston University, USA
Christopher Decker – University of Nevada, USA
Heather Glen – University of Cambridge, UK
Linda K. Hughes – Texas Christian University, USA
Simon J. James – Durham University, UK
Angela Leighton – University of Cambridge, UK
Jo McDonagh – King’s College London, UK
Michael O’Neill – Durham University, UK
Seamus Perry – University of Oxford, UK
Clare Pettitt – King’s College London, UK
Adrian Poole – University of Cambridge, UK
Jan-Melissa Schramm – University of Cambridge, UK
Stephen Wall Trollope and Character and Other Essays on Victorian Literature
Selected by
Seamus Perry
with an introduction by
Nicholas Shrimpton
Anthem Press
An imprint of Wimbledon Publishing Company

This edition first published in UK and USA 2018
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or PO Box 9779, London SW19 7ZG, UK
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© 2018 the estate of Stephen Wall with the introduction
© 2018 Nicholas Shrimpton

The moral right of the authors has been asserted.

All rights reserved. Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above,
no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored or introduced into
a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means
(electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise),
without the prior written permission of both the copyright
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British Library Cataloguing-in-Publication Data
A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library.

ISBN-13: 978-1-78308-817-1 (Hbk)
ISBN-10: 1-78308-817-6 (Hbk)

This title is also available as an e-book.
Introduction: Stephen Wall and Trollope
Nicholas Shrimpton
1 The Artist as Philistine [1984]
2 Trollope and Character [1988]
3 [George Eliot and Her Readers] [1965]
4 Jane Austen’s Judgments [1968]
5 Dickens: New Words and Old Opinions [1969]
6 [Dickens and His Readers] [1970]
7 Dickens in 1970 [1971]
8 Annotated English Novels? [1982]
9 Affective Intentions [1985]
10 Virtuoso Variations [1987]
11 Going Beyond the Repertory [1990]
12 A Little Local Irritation [1998]
This is a gathering of Stephen Wall’s writings about the great nineteenth-century novelists to which he devoted so much of his generous critical intelligence. It is, naturally, dominated by Wall’s major study, Trollope and Character , published in 1988. Alongside that, I have put his account of Trollope as a letter writer; the historical commentary he wrote for his invaluable Penguin anthology of Dickens criticism; and a number of other pieces, mostly about Dickens, which originally appeared in the Times Literary Supplement , the London Review of Books and Essays in Criticism , the journal he edited from 1973 until his death in 2010. Among other pieces first to appear in Essays in Criticism was an important essay about the editing of English novels – the implications of which range far beyond Victorian literature – which it also seemed proper to include. The resulting book by no means constitutes a complete collection of Stephen Wall’s criticism: he was a prolific reviewer of new fiction for the Observer , and many of his notices have a lasting value; his essay on Iris Murdoch’s The Bell ( Essays in Criticism , 1963) remains one of the best accounts of that novel; and the piece he wrote about his former pupil Ian Hamilton (‘Ian Hamilton and the Poet’s Life’, Essays in Criticism , 2002) memorably captures the achievement of a great man of letters. This volume cannot even pretend to include all his criticism of nineteenth-century subjects. I have not included the introduction to Can You Forgive Her? , written for his Penguin edition (1974), which was largely reworked in Trollope and Character , as were the essays ‘Trollope, Balzac, and the Reappearing Character’ ( Essays in Criticism , 1975) and ‘Trollope, Satire, and The Way We Live Now ’ ( Essays in Criticism, 1987). The excellent introduction to Little Dorrit , which appears in the edition he co-edited for Penguin with Helen Small (2003), remains readily available. Finally, I reluctantly accepted that space did not allow me to print some of Stephen Wall’s shorter fiction, much of which shows the distinct impress of the Victorian literature in which he was so expert.
To avoid irritating inconsistencies, I have standardized punctuation, publication details and the forms of section headings; but I have not generally interfered with the text other than silently to correct obvious typos and missing punctuation. I have not attempted to bring Stephen Wall’s footnotes up to date with references to more recent scholarship. In the essay on Dickens’s critical reception, I have removed page numbers and other cross-references to material included in the anthology, which the essay originally introduced. The titles of these pieces are mostly those they had when they first appeared in print, but where no such title was to hand I have supplied my own in square brackets.
I am grateful to Faber and Faber for permission to print the text of Trollope and Character (1988); to Penguin for permission to include material that originally appeared in Charles Dickens: A Critical Anthology (1970); to the Times Literary Supplement and the London Review of Books for permission to print reviews that originally appeared in their pages; and to Oxford University Press for permission to print the pieces that originally appeared in Essays in Criticism . I have given publication details at the end of each item. I believe I have tracked down all relevant permissions, but of course I would be very glad to hear of any inadvertent oversights.
I am indebted to Yvonne, Stephen Wall’s widow, for her great help, her patience and for telling me about the dedication that was inadvertently dropped from the Trollope volume, which is included here; and, also, to Oliver de Soissons. Robert Douglas-Fairhurst kindly offered his support to this book at an early stage; and Jemma Stewart provided invaluable help with the text in its final phases. I am pleased to acknowledge the support of the Oxford English Faculty and Balliol College, Oxford. Nicholas Shrimpton kindly provided an excellent introduction, exploring Stephen Wall’s long and profound engagement with Trollope, for which I am most grateful.
As this book will amply demonstrate, Stephen was a fine, versatile critic; he was also a gifted and giving teacher, and a kindly, generous, funny man. Personally, I owe him a great debt, not least for signing me up as the junior editor of Essays in Criticism , but also for many enriching conversations, including innumerable jokes, insights and anecdotes that have now become part of my own arsenal. This volume is a small gesture of my gratitude to him.
Textual Note: In Trollope and Character , quotations from Trollope’s Autobiography and from individual novels are followed by the number in roman numerals of the chapter in which they appear.
Nicholas Shrimpton
Stephen Wall published his first essay on Trollope in 1972, early in a decade that has since come to be celebrated for its ‘re-invigoration of Trollope studies’. Wall’s argument was certainly invigorating. An introduction to the Penguin edition of Can You Forgive Her? , it supplied a robust and ingenious defence of a book Henry James had once dismissed as trivial: ‘Can we forgive Miss Vavasour? Of course we can, and forget her, too, for that matter’. Wall’s introduction reclaimed, not just Alice Vavasour, but the entire novel as imaginative creations that deserved our serious attention. As it did so, it struck several of the notes that would be sounded again, more reverberantly, in his later work. Trollope is ‘more interested in the particular case than the general principle’. The ‘remarkable tenacity of his imagination’ makes possible his achievement ‘in maintaining and deepening his knowledge’ of characters. Trollope’s moral subtlety ‘makes one realize afresh how inadequate terms such as “hero” and “villain” are’ in his novels. And (a bold claim this in 1972) ‘the integration of different but concurrent plots into some sort of “organic” unity may not be as necessary for artistic su

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