Chapter 2. Crystal Palace and Bleak House: Expansion and Anomie, 1851–1873

  1. James Eli Adams

Published Online: 6 APR 2009

DOI: 10.1002/9781444305944.ch2

A History of Victorian Literature

A History of Victorian Literature

How to Cite

Adams, J. E. (2009) Crystal Palace and Bleak House: Expansion and Anomie, 1851–1873, in A History of Victorian Literature, Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781444305944.ch2

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 6 APR 2009
  2. Published Print: 20 MAR 2009

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780631220824

Online ISBN: 9781444305944



  • expansion and anomie, 1851–1873;
  • literary riposte to mid-Victorian smugness – Podsnap's character in Dickens's Our Mutual Friend;
  • novel and society - triumphant success of Copperfield and favorite of readers;
  • Crimea and the forms of heroism;
  • association of athleticism and martial heroism - Tom Brown's Schooldays;
  • muscular manhood - leaving little place for poetry;
  • pre-Raphaelite proclamation of a return to nature - defense of realism in art;
  • Carroll's poetic parodies - opening onto immense range and popularity of Victorian comic verse;
  • criticism and belief - English poetry undergoing major generational shift;
  • hellenic tradition - authority of classical Greece in intellectual life of Victorian Britain


This chapter contains sections titled:

  • The Novel and Society

  • Crimea and the Forms of Heroism

  • Empire

  • Spasmodics and Other Poets

  • The Power of Art

  • Realisms

  • Two Guineveres

  • Sensation

  • Dreams of Self-Fashioning

  • Narrating Nature: Darwin

  • Novels and their Audiences

  • Literature for Children

  • Poetry in the Early 1860s

  • Criticism and Belief

  • The Pleasures of the Difficult

  • The Hellenic Tradition

  • Domesticity, Politics, Empire, and the Novel

  • After Dickens

  • The Persistence of Epic

  • Poisonous Honey and Fleshly Poetry