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The Powers of Distance : Cosmopolitanism and the Cultivation of Detachment - Amanda Anderson

The Powers of Distance

Cosmopolitanism and the Cultivation of Detachment

Paperback Published: 19th August 2001
ISBN: 9780691074979
Number Of Pages: 196

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Combining analysis of Victorian literature and culture with forceful theoretical argument, "The Powers of Distance" examines the progressive potential of those forms of cultivated detachment associated with Enlightenment and modern thought. Amanda Anderson explores a range of practices in nineteenth-century British culture, including methods of objectivity in social science, practices of omniscience in artistic realism, and the complex forms of affiliation in Victorian cosmopolitanism. Anderson demonstrates that many writers--including George Eliot, John Stuart Mill, Charlotte Bronte, Matthew Arnold, and Oscar Wilde--thoughtfully address the challenging moral questions that attend stances of detachment. In so doing, she offers a revisionist account of Victorian culture and a tempered defense of detachment as an ongoing practice and aspiration.

"The Powers of Distance" illuminates its historical object of study and provides a powerful example for its theoretical argument, showing that an ideal of critical detachment underlies the ironic modes of modernism and postmodernism as well as the tradition of Enlightenment thought and critical theory. Its broad understanding of detachment and cultivated distance, together with its focused historical analysis, will appeal to theorists and critics across the humanities, particularly those working in literary and cultural studies, feminism, and postcolonialism. Original in scope and thesis, this book constitutes a major contribution to literary history and contemporary theory.

Industry Reviews

"The Powers of Distance ... consistently delivers the double payoff of enriched views on both Victorian texts and contemporary debates."--Victorian Studies

Acknowledgmentsp. ix
Introduction: Forms of Detachmentp. 3
Gender, Modernity, and Detachment: Domestic Ideals and the Case of Charlotte Bronte's Villettep. 34
Cosmopolitanism in Different Voices: Charles Dickens's Little Dorrit and the Hermeneutics of Suspicionp. 63
Disinterestedness as a Vocation: Revisiting Matthew Arnoldp. 91
The Cultivation of Partiality: George Eliot and the Jewish Questionp. 119
"Manners Before Morals": Oscar Wilde and Epigrammatic Detachmentp. 147
Conclusion: The Character of Theoryp. 177
Bibliographyp. 181
Indexp. 193
Table of Contents provided by Syndetics. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780691074979
ISBN-10: 0691074976
Audience: Tertiary; University or College
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 196
Published: 19th August 2001
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 22.86 x 15.24  x 1.22
Weight (kg): 0.31