In reflecting on Victorian studies and its publics, we must remember the peculiar history of the term Victorian—a historical characterization that emerged even while the queen still reigned, a derisive caricature on the part of early twentieth-century writers, and an academic definition of a field of study. Because the Victorians were the first to experience many of the changes fundamental to modern society, Victorian studies has a particular resonance for its many publics.
Carol Christ is the President of Smith College and Professor Emeritus of English at the University of California at Berkeley. She is the author of The Finer Optic: The Aesthetic of Particularity in Victorian Poetry and Victorian and Modern Poetics, and she is an editor of the Norton Anthology of English Literature.
- Appleman, Philip, William Madden, and Michael Wolff. “Prefatory Note I.” Victorian Studies 1.1 (Sept. 1957): 3. Print.
- Bristow, Joseph. “Why ‘Victorian’? A Period and its Problems.” Literature Compass 1.1 (2004): 1-16. Web.
- Houghton, Walter E. The Victorian Frame of Mind. New Haven: Yale UP, 1957. Print.
- Levine, George, ed. The Emergence of Victorian Consciousness. New York: The Free P, 1967. Print.
- Mill, John Stuart. “The Spirit of the Age” Collected Works. Vol. 22. Toronto: U of Toronto P, 1986. 227-34. Print.
- Young, G. M. Victorian England: Portrait of an Age. London: Oxford UP, 1953. Print.