Much has been written about the Victorian novel, and for good reason. The cultural power it exerted (and, to some extent, still exerts) is beyond question. The Oxford Handbook of the Victorian Novel contributes substantially to this thriving scholarly field by offering new approaches to familiar topics (the novel and science, the Victorian Bildungroman) as well as essays on topics often overlooked (the novel and classics, the novel and the OED, the novel, and allusion). Manifesting the increasing interdisciplinarity of Victorian studies, its essays situate the novel within a complex network of relations (among, for instance, readers, editors, reviewers, and the novelists themselves; or among different cultural pressures - the religious, the commercial, the legal). The handbook's essays also build on recent bibliographic work of remarkable scope and detail, responding to the growing attention to print culture.
With a detailed introduction and 36 newly commissioned chapters by leading and emerging scholars - beginning with Peter Garside's examination of the early nineteenth-century novel and ending with two essays proposing the 'last Victorian novel' - the handbook attends to the major themes in Victorian scholarship while at the same time creating new possibilities for further research. Balancing breadth and depth, the clearly-written, nonjargon -laden essays provide readers with overviews as well as original scholarship, an approach which will serve advanced undergraduates, graduate students, and established scholars. As the Victorians get further away from us, our versions of their culture and its novel inevitably change; this Handbook offers fresh explorations of the novel that teach us about this genre, its culture, and, by extension, our own.