Victorian, Victorianist, Neo-Victorian: A Critical Overview
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This essay presents a historical overview of diverse critical readings and revaluations of Victorian Studies interpreted as reflections of cultural tenets of different periods from Victorian times to the present. Current concerns about the Victorian past inevitablyimply a mirroring image imposing our presence onto a period that defies definition by postmodern standards. In this respect, it may be argued that Victorianism has often been envisioned as a cultural construct shaped by changing necessities to go back to the past in an attempt to reify concepts of identity. Deconstructive and interdisciplinary tenets may serve the purpose of providing a more accurate picture of the Victorian past, rejecting any clearly-distinguished set of oppositional dichotomies. It is also through deconstruction that we become aware of the impossibility of attaining any objective knowledge of the past. This essay presents a survey of the way the Victorians have been interpreted through history, outlining different cultural periods, and evolving readings of the past, with a particular view to evaluate and assess contemporary methods and approaches to Victorian Studies through emerging terms such as Neo-Victorian or Post-Victorian Studies.