A comprehensive encyclopedia of English and American literature derived from individual print editions of The Cambridge History of English literature and The Cambridge History of American literature, published between 1907 and 1921. Vol. XIII Covers Victorian literature.
Available on Bartleby.com/223/
Throughout the long nineteenth century and into the twentieth, challenges to received beliefs, and the growing influence of the sciences of man – anthropology, sociology, psychology – compelled Victorian men and women to defend, redefine, and reconsider the nature of human identity. Increasingly they were forced to address new questions, about the meaning of the past, the idea of the good life, and the possibility of life after death. Some writers sought to find meaning and value in an secular world; others reached out to alternative spiritualities, turning to the east or to ancient belief systems. The tension between these two positions, the one focused on the present, the other looking to an ‘afterlife’, however broadly defined, would change the way writers came to understand themselves, the role and power of literature, and their legacy to the future.