Mimicry and display in Victorian literary culture: nature, science and the nineteenth-century imagination

Abberley, Will (2020) Mimicry and display in Victorian literary culture: nature, science and the nineteenth-century imagination. Cambridge Studies in Nineteenth-Century Literature and Culture . Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. ISBN 9781108770026

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Abstract

Revealing the web of mutual influences between nineteenth-century scientific and cultural discourses of appearance, Mimicry and Display in Victorian Literary Culture argues that Victorian science and culture biologized appearance, reimagining imitation, concealment and self-presentation as evolutionary adaptations. Exploring how studies of animal crypsis and visibility drew on artistic theory and techniques to reconceptualise nature as a realm of signs and interpretation, Abberley shows that in turn, this science complicated religious views of nature as a text of divine meanings, inspiring literary authors to rethink human appearances and perceptions through a Darwinian lens. Providing fresh insights into writers from Alfred Russel Wallace and Thomas Hardy to Oscar Wilde and Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Abberley reveals how the biology of appearance generated new understandings of deception, identity and creativity; reacted upon narrative forms such as crime fiction and the pastoral; and infused the rhetoric of cultural criticism and political activism.

Item Type: Book
Schools and Departments: School of English > English
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PR English literature
Depositing User: Laura Vellacott
Date Deposited: 20 Dec 2019 10:50
Last Modified: 29 Jun 2020 17:49
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/88922
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