Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Deborah Thomas

Thomas takes a break after hiking to the putative site of Wuthering Heights (in Brontë country, near Haworth, England) and makes a new friend.

My specialty is the nineteenth-century British novel, with particular attention to Dickens, Thackeray, and women writers of this era. However, I’m generally interested in all aspects of Victorian literature and culture. My current major project is a book-length study of archaeology and Victorian fiction, in which I’m exploring affinities between several major Victorian novels and the emerging field of archaeology—a subject that fascinated the Victorians, although their ideas tended to be filtered through their own cultural preconceptions. For example, one chapter of this book-in-progress discusses the presence and recurrence of certain famous ancient Assyrian sculptures in Victorian popular culture and literature, including some illustrations for Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

I’m the author of three previous books—Dickens and the Short Story, Thackeray and Slavery, and “Hard Times”: A Fable of Fragmentation and Wholeness—as well as editor of a fourth book, Charles Dickens: Selected Short Fiction. More recently, I’ve published on subjects ranging from a hugely popular mid-nineteenth-century account of the excavation of what was believed to be the long-buried but once great Assyrian city of Nineveh to Margaret Atwood’s late twentieth-century dystopia, The Handmaid’s Tale.    

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