Victorian Literature and Culture



EDITORS' TOPIC: VICTORIAN BOUNDARIES

INTRODUCTION: BOUNDARIES IN THEORY AND HISTORY


Regenia Gagnier a1
a1 University of Exeter

WHEN ANGELIQUE RICHARDSON AND I began collecting the essays included here, we were interested to see how recent theorists of boundaries like Audre Lorde (hyphenated identities), Gloria Anzaldua (borderlands), Donna Haraway (cyborg), J-F Lyotard (the in-between), or Jacques Derrida (deconstruction) fared in relation to classic theorists of boundaries like Aristotle, Hegel, Marx, and Darwin. We found that while the field of Victorian Studies has absorbed the theory, current practitioners may refer little to past or present theoretical masters. Rather they describe which boundaries were salient to the Victorians and why; when they were permeable and how; and who enforced them and to what ends. The essays in this volume focus on specific boundaries and amass a wealth of detailed knowledge about them. They include the boundaries or boundlessness of London and her suburbs (Parrinder, Cunningham); transnational or deterritorialized boundaries of empire (Spear and Meduri); psychological boundaries (Rylance, Trotter); boundaries between body and soul (Moran) and living and dead (Robson); generic boundaries (Barzilai, Howsam, Small, Toker); boundaries of popular representation between art and politics (Ledger, Livesey); and boundaries between humans, animals, and machines (Joseph and Sussman). The essays here interrogate boundaries historically and pragmatically, with a high tolerance of the in-between or queer, to which I shall return below.



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