The idea of the gentleman in the Victorian novel
Part of the Routledge Library Editions: The Nineteenth-Century Novel series
First published in 1981, this book represents the first comprehensive examination of Victorian society's preoccupation with the 'notion of the gentleman' and how this was reflected in the literature of the time.
Starting with Addison and Lord Chesterfield, the author explores the influence of the gentlemanly ideal on the evolution of the English middle classes, and reveals its central part in the novels of Thackeray, Dickens and Trollope.
Combining social and cultural analysis with literary criticism, this book provides new readings of Vanity Fair and Great Expectations, a fresh approach to Trollope, and a detailed account of the various streams that fed into the idea of the gentleman.