Publisher description for The professional ideal in the Victorian novel : the works of Disraeli, Trollope, Gaskell, and Eliot / by Susan E. Colon.

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This book makes the claim that Victorian novels do not simply reflect professional ideology; they also scrutinize its dilemmas, contradictions, and limitations. In this volume, innovative readings of canonical texts like Sybil, Barchester Towers, Romola, and Daniel Deronda accompany groundbreaking work on less familiar texts like Tancred and My Lady Ludlow to illuminate the Victorians’ own struggles with the emerging professional ideology. The Victorians’ engagement with fundamental ideas of professional identity—such as autonomy, meritocracy, and the service ethic—reveal professionalism’s dual basis in materialist and idealist rationalities.

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