About the Book
To write about the sea in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries was to do so against a vast accretion of past deeds, patterns of thought, and particularly patterns of expression, many of which had begun to feel not just settled but exhausted. The Victorian Novel and the Problems of
Marine Language takes up this circumstance, showing how prose writers in this period grappled with the super-conventionalized nature of the sea as a setting, as a shaper of plot and character, as a structuring motif, and as a source of metaphor. But while writing about the sea required careful negotiation of multiple andsometimes conflicting associations, the sea's multiplicity and freight function not just as impediments to thought or expression but as sources of intellectual and expressive possibilities. The Victorian Novel and the
Problems of Marine Language treats a provocatively diverse group of key authors spanning from the 1830s to the 1930s and including both those inextricably associated with the sea (Frederick Marryat, Joseph Conrad) and those whose writings are less obviously marine, such as Charlotte Brontë, Charles
Dickens, George Eliot, William Makepeace Thackeray, and Virginia Woolf. What these writers share, among other things, is that they simultaneously register and turn to account the difficulties that attend writing about, and writing with, the sea. In the process, their sea-writing sheds new light on
the value of marginalized representational techniques including repetition, cliché, and imprecision.
About the Author:
Matthew P.M. Kerr, Lecturer in British Literature from 1837 to 1939, University of Southampton Matthew P. M. Kerr completed his undergraduate degree at Mount Allison, a small liberal arts college in the Canadian Maritimes, and his postgraduate degrees at the University of Oxford, where he was a Clarendon Scholar and a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada
award-holder. He has worked at the University of Southampton since 2015. Matt is from Vancouver, Canada.