Knowing the Past
Victorian Literature and Culture
Edited by Suzy Anger
To what extent is it possible to know the past or to know other cultures? Can one describe the past without imposing one's own cultural, political, social, or personal preconceptions? Testing the current skepticism that insists that it is impossible not to read one's own moment onto other times and cultures, the essays in this collection use the Victorian era as a means of developing a theory and critique of historical reclamation.In Knowing the Past, a distinguished group of Victorian scholars reflect on the Victorian past and examine the Victorians' own sophisticated contributions to debates about historical and cultural knowledge. Confronting, confirming, and opposing the skeptics, the essays provide close readings of particular texts. They encompass the larger constellation of ideas and questions that went into the making of the texts while participating in larger theoretical debates about knowledge of the past and other cultures.
Suzy Anger is Associate Professor of English at the University of British Columbia. She is the author of Victorian Interpretation, also from Cornell.
Anger's book demonstrates that much current thought on interpretation has its antecedents in the Victorians, who were already deeply engaged with the problems of interpretation that concern literary theorists today.