Sensationalism made real : the role of realism in the production of sensational affect

Allan, JM ORCID: 2015, 'Sensationalism made real : the role of realism in the production of sensational affect' , Victorian Literature and Culture, 43 (01) , pp. 97-112.

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Like all complicated relationships, that between realism and sensationalism has been subject to a good deal of rumour and speculation. In what might be described as the pair's first critical encounter – in an 1852 joint review of W. M. Thackeray's The History of Henry Esmond and Wilkie Collins's proto-sensation novel Basil – a critic for Bentley's Miscellany intimates that a partnership between two such different forms is anything but likely. “We have,” he explains, “put these two books ‘over against’ each other, to use one of Mr. Thackeray's favourite Queen-Anne-isms, because they have no kind of family resemblance. They are, indeed, as unlike each other as any two books can be. They constitute a kind of literary antithesis” (“Esmond” 576). The inherently contradictory nature of this originary “over against” gesture – conflating proximity and distance, contiguity and difference – sets the keynote for subsequent discussions, contemporaneous and current, of a generic relationship that continues to attract and elude definition.

Item Type: Article
Schools: Schools > School of Arts & Media > Arts, Media and Communication Research Centre
Journal or Publication Title: Victorian Literature and Culture
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISSN: 1060-1503
Related URLs:
Funders: Non funded research
Depositing User: JM Allan
Date Deposited: 16 Dec 2015 09:38
Last Modified: 15 Feb 2022 20:07

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