Invented during a period of anxiety about the ability of human memory to cope with the demands of expanding knowledge, the camera changed the way the Victorians saw the world around them. By picturing scenes fixed in a point of time, it offered a new sense of connectedness with the past. For the first time, Victorian Photography, Literature and the Invention of Modern Memory traces how photography came to define our sense of memory by exploring its representation and significance in nineteenth-century literature.
Analysing a broad range of texts by inventors, cultural critics, photographers, novelists and poets from the early-mid nineteenth century to the turn of the twentieth, this book shows how photography influenced the organization and narration of private and public experiences of the past. Exploring writing on both the theory and experience of photography by W. H. Fox Talbot, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Elizabeth Eastlake, Charles Dickens, Virginia Woolf and other major commentators, the book shows how Victorian photography defined the concept of memory for generations to come, including our own.
In addition to being invaluable for scholars working within the relatively new field of research at the intersection of photography studies and literature, this pioneering volume will also be of interest to students of Victorian studies, visual culture and intellectual history.