The Thames in Victorian Literature

Professor Robert Hampson (Royal Holloway University of London), Dr Matthew Ingleby and Dr Jaclyn Rajsic (Queen Mary University of London)

Joseph Conrad’s novella, ‘Heart of Darkness’, famously begins among the shipping in the Thames estuary while its narrator reflects how easy it is ‘to evoke the great spirit of the past upon the lower reaches of the Thames’. Robert Hampson, Matt Ingleby and Jaclyn Rajsic will together discuss the Thames as a presence in a number of Victorian novels from Dickens’s Our Mutual Friend, George Eliot’s Daniel Deronda, and William Morris’s News from Nowhere to Conrad’s ‘Heart of Darkness’ and Chance. With Jacyln looking specifically at the medieval Thames, as a period of deep interest to the Victorians.

They will consider the Victorian Thames as a space where the local and global collide – sometimes literally; as a site of trade and labour; and as the historical product of material practices and intertextual echoes.

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