Second Sight: The Visionary Imagination in Late Victorian Literature

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9780719071454: Second Sight: The Visionary Imagination in Late Victorian Literature

'[a] truly fascinating work - Maxwell's ability to take the reader into the hallowed area of her writers' imaginations makes this a spectacular work. Second Sight is a profoundly complex study of the workings of the interior language of the creative imagination - beautifully written... desirable on the bookself of anybody interested in Romantic, Victorian and early twentieth-century literature.' The Oscholars

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This challenging and important study, which examines a range of canonical and less well-known writers, is an innovative reassessment of late Victorian literature in its relation to visionary Romanticism. It examines six late Victorian writers - Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Walter Pater, Vernon Lee, Eugene Lee-Hamilton, Theodore Watts-Dunton and Thomas Hardy - to reveal their commitment to a Romantic visionary tradition which surfaces towards the end of the nineteenth century in response to the threat of a growing materialism. Offering detailed and imaginative readings of both poetry and prose, Second sight shows the different ways in which late Victorian writers move beyond materiality, though without losing a commitment to it, to explore the mysterious relation between the seen and the unseen. A major re-evaluation of the post-Romantic visionary imagination, with implications for our understanding of literary modernism, Second sight will be required reading for scholars interested in the literature of the late Victorian period.

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