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Victorians were fascinated with how accurately photography could copy people, the places they inhabited, and the objects surrounding them. Much more important, however, is the way in which Victorian people, places, and things came to resemble photographs. In this provocative study of British realism, Nancy Armstrong explains how fiction entered into a relationship with the new popular art of photography that transformed the world into a picture. By the 1860s, to know virtually anyone or anything was to understand how to place him, her, or it in that world on the basis of characteristics that either had been or could be captured in one of several photographic genres. So willing was the readership to think of the real as photographs, that authors from Charles Dickens to the Brontes, Lewis Carroll, H. Rider Haggard, Oscar Wilde, D. H. Lawrence, E. M. Forster, and Virginia Woolf had to use the same visual conventions to represent what was real, especially when they sought to debunk those conventions. The Victorian novel's collaboration with photography was indeed so successful, Armstrong contends, that literary criticism assumes a text is gesturing toward the real whenever it invokes a photograph."

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780674008014
ISBN-10: 0674008014
Format: Paperback
(235mm x 152mm x 24mm)
Pages: 352
Imprint: Harvard University Press
Publisher: Harvard University Press
Publish Date: 7-May-2002
Country of Publication: United States

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Author Biography - Nancy Armstrong

Nancy Armstrong is Professor of English at Duke University. She is the author of Desire and Domestic Fiction and coauthor of The Imaginary Puritan.

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