Forms of Feeling in Victorian Literature by Barbara Hardy - review by John Bayley

John Bayley

Reader, I Felt it …

Forms of Feeling in Victorian Literature

By

Peter Owen 216pp £12.50 order from our bookshop
 

Feeling is hardly mentioned by theorists who write about the novel today. Like excretion and sex in former days it is not a subject for discussion; it does not fit into patterns of deconstruction and linguistic analysis. In her recent exhaustive and scholarly examination of Keats’ Odes Professor Helen Vendler relegated to a note at the back the question of feeling – Keats’ and our own – putting it in an unexpectedly quaint proposition: ‘Can we weep for the heroine while admiring the zoom-shot?’

Well, can we? Only in our own age, probably, could the question be asked, or asked in quite this form. If the world is divided into those who weep in the cinema and those who admire the zoom-shot, then it is the latter nowadays who call the critical tune; and

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