'Part barrier, part entrance to a parallel dimension': London and the modernity of urban perception

Julian Leonard Wolfreys

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


The city novel, a subgenre of the neo-Victorian novel, covers much ground familiar to readers of Victorian novels, and particularly that ground familiar to readers of Charles Dickens. The debts in representation owed principally to Dickens, but other writers of the nineteenth century are clearly there in descriptive and representational urban passages in novels by writers such as Peter Ackroyd, Charles Palliser, Peter Carey, and Sarah Waters, amongst others. The question arises: how and in what ways do writers of the neo-Victorian re-imagine and re-invent the representation and perception of London in their novels? How are the models of representation different? This essay argues that the register of representation in the neo-Victorian urban text is avowedly phenomenological: while the phenomenological register may be implicit of imminent in narrative form in Victorian novels, the shaping of character and narrator perception in relation to place is consciously foregrounded in the neo-Victorian texts in question.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationNeo-Victorian Cities
Subtitle of host publicationReassessing Urban Politics and Poetics
EditorsMarie-Luise Kohlke, Christian Gutleben
Number of pages22
ISBN (Electronic)978-90-042-9233-8
ISBN (Print)978-90-04-29234-5
Publication statusPublished - 4 Feb 2015

Publication series

NameNeo-Victorian Series
ISSN (Print)2211-1018


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