By Gage McWeeny
Within the traditional debts, literature of the 19th century compulsively tells the tale of the person and interiority. yet amidst the newly dense social landscapes of modernity, with London because the first urban of 1 million population, this literature additionally sought to symbolize these unknown and unmet: strangers. targeting the ways in which either Victorian literature and smooth social idea replied to an emergent "society of strangers," the relaxation of Strangers argues for a brand new relation among literary shape and the socially dense environments of modernity, insisting upon strangers in those works now not as alienating, fearsome others, yet a comparatively banal but transformative truth of daily life, the darkish subject of the nineteenth-century social universe.
Taking up "the literature of social density," Gage McWeeny engages with more than a few generically various works from the age of Victorian sympathy to light up marvelous investments in ephemeral relatives, anonymity, and social distance. lifestyles amidst strangers on city streets and markets produced new social studies, either attractive and fearsome, and McWeeny exhibits how realist literary shape is remade by means of the relational chances provided by way of the impersonal intimacy of lifestyles between these unknown and the ability of susceptible social ties. interpreting works by means of Charles Dickens, Matthew Arnold, George Eliot, Oscar Wilde, and Henry James, he discovers a species of Victorian sociality now not imagined less than J.S. Mill's description in On Liberty of society as a crowd impinging upon the person. as an alternative, McWeeny mines nineteenth-century literature's sociological mind's eye to bare a collection of works diverted by means of and into intensities situated in strangers and the trendy sorts of sociality they emblematize.
Treating heavily the choice for the various over the few, the impersonal intimacy of strangers over people who are acquaintances and associates, the relief of Strangers exhibits how literature and sociology jointly produced sleek understandings of the social, commencing up canonical works of the 19th century to a number of wierd, new meanings