Moral Uses, Narrative Effects: Natural History in Victorian Periodicals and Elizabeth Gaskell's Wives and Daughters

Victorian Periodicals Review, Volume 43, Number 1, pp. 1-18.

 By Anne Dewitt 

This article situates Elizabeth Gaskell's Wives and Daughters, serialized in Cornhill Magazine between 1864 and 1866, in the context of contemporary periodical articles that represent natural history as a moral endeavor and that depict men of science as moral exemplars. Gaskell thematizes scientific morality through her naturalist-hero Roger Hamley, linking his personal excellence to his scientific gifts and thus presenting scientific ways of thinking as relevant to the "every-day" world the novel chronicles and as integral to the development of the novel's courtship plot. The article ends by briefly considering the changing place of natural history in George Eliot's oeuvre.

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(My publication)Posted: Wednesday, April 14, 2010 by cait
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