Narratives of toil: A study of labor, ideology, and narrative form in late-Victorian social fiction
"Narratives of Toil: A Study of Labor, Ideology, and Narrative Form in late-Victorian Social Narratives," examines (1) the historical relation between narrative and ideology and (2) the problematic theme of labor in selected "social novels" of the 1880s and 1890s. As Britain's economy declined during the last decades of the 19th century, a general anxiousness concerning the "condition of the nation" inscribed itself in much of the cultural production of the period. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the so-called "problem novels" of the 1880s and 1890s. Although the problem or social novels of the 1880s/90s often concern themselves with various, troubling aspects of late-Victorian society, the dominant concerns are related to issues of labor and the working class. Within their historic context, the social novels of the 1880s/90s functioned largely as "symbolic actions" that seek to strategically contain, represent, and work out issues related to labor, according to the narratives' various ideological perspectives and agendas. The study examines Walter Besant's All Sorts and Conditions of Men, Thomas Hardy's Tess of the d'Urbervilles and Jude the Obscure, Margaret Hackness' Out of Work, George Moore's Esther Waters and Arthur Morrison's A Child of the Jago. ^
Kevin Ray Swafford,
"Narratives of toil: A study of labor, ideology, and narrative form in late-Victorian social fiction"
Dissertations and Master's Theses (Campus Access).