Gambling in the Nineteenth-Century English Novel

'A Leprosy is o'er the Land'

By Michael Flavin

This book explores the theme of gambling in a wide range of nineteenth-century English novels. It examines the representation of gambling in the novels themselves and the role that gambling played in the lives of the individual novelists. It also considers the significance of gambling in the novels within the wider context of the development of Victorian society. Following an historical overview, the book comprises individual chapters on: Benjamin Disraeli, Charles Dickens, William Makepeace Thackeray, George Eliot, Thomas Hardy, Anthony Trollope and George Moore. Gambling in the Nineteenth-Century English Novel not only provides fresh readings of established texts within a distinctive social and cultural context, but it is also a comprehensive barometer of the social history of the time as attitudes towards leisure changed. It is essential reading for all those interested in the development of English society and culture in the Victorian era. Gambling occurred in all strata of society and was a national pastime. The pursuit of gambling took many forms: from after-dinner cards to pugilism, and indeed Stock Exchange transactions were considered by many to be gambling at its worst. Then a shift took place in the perception of gambling, primarily as a result of economic encounters relating to the Industrial Revolution. Representations of gambling in novels of the period place the industrious middle class against both the wasteful rich and the idle poor.

254 pages

Publication Date: 2/15/2003
Format: Paper
ISBN: 9781845192112