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Re-visiting the Victorian subject

Chapter


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Abstract


  • In entitling this collection of essays Changing the Victorian Subject, we are not

    supposing that the Victorian subject has ever been singular or monolithic.

    Indeed, we take Martin Hewitt’s caution against just such an assumption to be

    self-evident. In 2001 Hewitt wrote:

    The denomination ‘Victorian’ continues to be widely used in the 1990s

    both denotatively and connotatively, but in ways which make no attempt to

    interrogate the nature of the ‘Victorian.’ Where the ‘Victorian’ is subject to

    direct critical enquiry, it is almost always as part of a conventional reading

    against the grain, in which some monolithic ‘Victorian’ identity is conjured

    only for the doubtful and unenlightening pleasure of deconstructing it.

    Taken to its logical conclusion, such a stance leaves Victorian Studies as a

    label of purely temporal convenience. (143)

    As academics based in Australia but working within a field that goes by the name

    of a British sovereign, we are fully cognisant of the plurality of what might

    fall under the rubric ‘Victorian’. The imagined relationships of colonial subjects

    to a foreign monarch, and a foreign yet hegemonic culture, need always to be

    imagined in the plural. For colonial subjects, the ‘Victorian’, even taken as ‘a label

    of purely temporal convenience’, is fraught with complexity and nuance, since

    in the colonies that very epoch saw the emergence of discourses of nationhood

    and of anti-colonial rhetoric, alongside strident declarations of allegiance and

    conformity to metropolitan values. In the colonies, the Victorian and the anti-

    Victorian co-existed: indeed, the colonies were the prime sites of contestation of,

    and ambivalence about, metropolitan values and social mores.

Authors


  •   Tonkin, Maggie (external author)
  •   Treagus, Mandy (external author)
  •   Seys, Madeleine (external author)
  •   Crozier-De Rosa, Sharon

Publication Date


  • 2014

Citation


  • Tonkin, M., Treagus, M., Seys, M. & Crozier-De Rosa, S. (2014). Re-visiting the Victorian subject. In M. Tonkin, M. Treagus, M. Seys & S. Crozier-De Rosa (Eds.), Changing the Victorian Subject (pp. 1-19). South Australia: University of Adelaide. http://www.adelaide.edu.au/press/titles/victorian-subject/

International Standard Book Number (isbn) 13


  • 9781922064738

Ro Full-text Url


  • http://ro.uow.edu.au/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2469&context=lhapapers&unstamped=1

Ro Metadata Url


  • http://ro.uow.edu.au/lhapapers/1464

Book Title


  • Changing the Victorian Subject

Start Page


  • 1

End Page


  • 19

Place Of Publication


  • South Australia

Abstract


  • In entitling this collection of essays Changing the Victorian Subject, we are not

    supposing that the Victorian subject has ever been singular or monolithic.

    Indeed, we take Martin Hewitt’s caution against just such an assumption to be

    self-evident. In 2001 Hewitt wrote:

    The denomination ‘Victorian’ continues to be widely used in the 1990s

    both denotatively and connotatively, but in ways which make no attempt to

    interrogate the nature of the ‘Victorian.’ Where the ‘Victorian’ is subject to

    direct critical enquiry, it is almost always as part of a conventional reading

    against the grain, in which some monolithic ‘Victorian’ identity is conjured

    only for the doubtful and unenlightening pleasure of deconstructing it.

    Taken to its logical conclusion, such a stance leaves Victorian Studies as a

    label of purely temporal convenience. (143)

    As academics based in Australia but working within a field that goes by the name

    of a British sovereign, we are fully cognisant of the plurality of what might

    fall under the rubric ‘Victorian’. The imagined relationships of colonial subjects

    to a foreign monarch, and a foreign yet hegemonic culture, need always to be

    imagined in the plural. For colonial subjects, the ‘Victorian’, even taken as ‘a label

    of purely temporal convenience’, is fraught with complexity and nuance, since

    in the colonies that very epoch saw the emergence of discourses of nationhood

    and of anti-colonial rhetoric, alongside strident declarations of allegiance and

    conformity to metropolitan values. In the colonies, the Victorian and the anti-

    Victorian co-existed: indeed, the colonies were the prime sites of contestation of,

    and ambivalence about, metropolitan values and social mores.

Authors


  •   Tonkin, Maggie (external author)
  •   Treagus, Mandy (external author)
  •   Seys, Madeleine (external author)
  •   Crozier-De Rosa, Sharon

Publication Date


  • 2014

Citation


  • Tonkin, M., Treagus, M., Seys, M. & Crozier-De Rosa, S. (2014). Re-visiting the Victorian subject. In M. Tonkin, M. Treagus, M. Seys & S. Crozier-De Rosa (Eds.), Changing the Victorian Subject (pp. 1-19). South Australia: University of Adelaide. http://www.adelaide.edu.au/press/titles/victorian-subject/

International Standard Book Number (isbn) 13


  • 9781922064738

Ro Full-text Url


  • http://ro.uow.edu.au/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2469&context=lhapapers&unstamped=1

Ro Metadata Url


  • http://ro.uow.edu.au/lhapapers/1464

Book Title


  • Changing the Victorian Subject

Start Page


  • 1

End Page


  • 19

Place Of Publication


  • South Australia