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Second SightThe Visionary Imagination in Late Victorian Literature$
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Catherine Maxwell

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780719071447

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: July 2012

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719071447.001.0001

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(p.1) Introduction
Second Sight

Catherine Maxwell

Manchester University Press

This book focuses on a range of authors from the late Victorian period, some canonical, some non-canonical, whose works, in addition to poetry, encompass a variety of literary forms such as the essay, the short story and the novel. The sublime is now treated as only one among a number of forms of imaginative vision used by chosen writers, all of whom are deeply indebted to Romantic influences. The analysis of the following writers – Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Walter Pater, Vernon Lee, Eugene Lee-Hamilton, Theodore Watts-Dunton and Thomas Hardy – centres on the iconic aesthetic image of the human face and form mediated through shadows, spirits, ghosts, corpses, body substitutes, paintings, sculptures or sculptural fragments, and finds certain repeated motifs, such as the non-finito, the Michelangelesque incomplete or unfinished body, the suggestive fragment and the allied, widely used figure of synecdoche, the part for the whole, which so often acts as stimulus for the visionary imagination. These repeated images or patterns of images illuminate each author's creativity, aesthetic practice and understanding of the imagination. An overview of the subsequent chapters is also presented.

Keywords:   late Victorian literature, Romanticism, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Walter Pater, Vernon Lee, Eugene Lee-Hamilton, Theodore Watts-Dunton, Thomas Hardy

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