Online Conversazione ~ On Not Being Naughty
Professor Helen Small regularly writes essays about Victorian fiction, poetry, and public moralism, and has edited several well-known and less well-known nineteenth-century literary works, including Vanity Fair, Wuthering Heights, The Lifted Veil and Brother Jacob, The Eustace Diamonds, The Last Chronicle of Barset, and (with Stephen Wall) Little Dorrit. She is on the editorial board of the Journal of Victorian Culture and the advisory board of History of Humanities.
On Not Being Naughty
‘I will not allow that I am indecent’, Trollope protested, after Thackeray rejected Mrs General Talboys for the Cornhill Magazine on the grounds that it was too naughty for the magazine’s audience. He pointed in his defence to numerous examples of women ‘not as pure as they should be’ in the fiction of contemporaries, including Thackeray himself. This paper will explore how variously Trollope negotiated the morality of the literary marketplace, with particular focus on the relationship between immorality in fiction and the immoralities recorded in the contemporary newspaper press.
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