What was the “space of art” during the Victorian period, and indeed what does that phrase mean? What relation does this space bear to novels? What does it mean for fictional form to be “on display”? These are some of the questions Dehn Gilmore raises and sets out to answer in her original, enlightening, and very busy argument. The book addresses, among other matters, the changing status of art that accompanied the development of mass culture in the nineteenth century; the new forms taken by audiences or spectators in this connection and their relation to one another; and the way the “polyglot” (Gilman's term) quality of artistic displays (of pictures, paintings, sculpture) affected the novel's themes and forms. It is also about the overwhelming increase, proliferation, and—crucial to the argument—confusion engendered by and within these contexts, one symptom of which is the...

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