© 2012

Writing Death and Absence in the Victorian Novel

Engraved Narratives

  • Authors

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-x
  2. Jolene Zigarovich
    Pages 1-22
  3. Jolene Zigarovich
    Pages 85-117
  4. Jolene Zigarovich
    Pages 139-156
  5. Back Matter
    Pages 157-199

About this book


This book asks why Brontë, Dickens, and Collins saw the narrative act as a series of textual murders and resurrections? Drawing on theorists such as Derrida, Blanchot, and de Man, Zigarovich maintains that narrating death was important to the understanding of absence, separation, and displacement in an industrial and destabilized culture.


Charles Dickens Jacques Derrida Narrative Victorian era

About the authors

Jolene Zigarovich is a research assistant professor in the Department of English at Claremont Graduate University.

Bibliographic information


"A sustained and brilliant meditation on the deep intimacy between death and fiction-making. Death is distant, other, never truly our own, and accessible only as a representation the representation of the other's death as ours. Zigarovich's readings demonstrate how the novels of Brontë, Dickens, and Collins render anxieties about mortality inseparable from questions of language and representation, while remaining scrupulously attentive to the material culture out of which these narratives arose. This book contributes decisively to our understanding of the culture as well as the literature of the Victorian era." - Marc Redfield, professor of English and Comparative Literature, Brown University

"Empty tombs, missing corpses, ghostly epitaphs, the rhetoric of loss these are some of the topics that Zigarovich explores with subtlety and theoretical sophistication in her fine study of major novels by Brontë, Dickens, and Collins." - John O. Jordan, professor of English, University of California, Santa Cruz

'These wonderfully lively musings on the Victorian cult of death add significantly to the study of both an historical commonplace and of its uses in five exemplary novels.' - Edgar Rosenberg, Professor Emeritus, Cornell University