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