It has become commonplace to claim that, as imagined communities, nations are constituted through the incitement of feelings and the operations of fantasy. But what about the state? Can we think of it as a subject of feeling, as well? This study of late Victorian culture argues that novels certainly did. Revisiting major works by Olive Schreiner, Thomas Hardy, George Gissing, and Sarah Grand, among others, it shows how novels dramatized the feelings and fantasies of a culture that was increasingly optimistic, as well as increasingly anxious, about the state's capacity to “step in” ... Read more
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