19: Interdisciplinary Studies in the Long Nineteenth Century, No 2 (2006)

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When Was the Nineteenth Century Where? Whither Victorian Studies?

Margot Finn

Abstract


Whilst acknowledging the usefulness of the descriptor ‘Victorian' to the work of social historians, this essay argues that a proper account of modernity, and of the Victorians' positioning within it, can only be apprehended by taking a longer view, be it within the framework of a long nineteenth or a long twentieth century. Finally, though, Finn argues that chronology is less important than the disciplinary and geographical boundaries of the field. The question should not be ‘when was the Victorian era?' but also ‘ where was it?' Interdisciplinarity, Britain's place in Europe, and the problems of empire are the three issues that Finn deems should be at the forefront of Victorian Studies in the twenty-first century.

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