The Modern and the Everyday

Part of the Palgrave Studies in Nineteenth-Century Writing and Culture book series (PNWC)


‘Everyday life’ is today a serious and increasingly fashionable subject of academic study. We have now a sociology, a phenomenology, a philosophy, and a cultural theory of everyday life, drawing on methods as diverse as psychoanalysis, ethnomethodology and dramaturgy in order to capture, comprehend, classify or find sites of resistance or quiet revolution in the daily lives of ‘ordinary’ people. In one sense, of course, everyday life is the common portion of humanity, peculiar to no time or place; yet, as sociologists attest, ‘there is another sense in which everyday life is a relatively recent invention’.1 It is generally agreed that the work of Georg Lukács in the 1920s marks the earliest appearance of a fully developed concept of everyday life,2 a concept that emerges out of a number of shifts within Western social and cultural life over the course of the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.


Everyday Life Modern Life Contemporary Life Modern Setting Contemporary Subject 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Tony Bennett and Diane Watson (eds) (2002) Understanding Everyday Life (Oxford: Blackwell), p. x.Google Scholar
  2. 6.
    Jürgen Habermas (1987) The Theory of Communicative Action, Volume 2. Lifeworld and System: The Critique of Functionalist Reason, trans. by Thomas McCarthy (Boston: Beacon Press), p. 155.Google Scholar
  3. 7.
    Ben Highmore (2002) Everyday Life and Cultural Theory: An Introduction (London: Routledge), p. 32.Google Scholar
  4. 9.
    William Makepeace Thackeray (1914) ‘De Juventute’, in Roundabout Papers (London: Dent), pp. 86–7.Google Scholar
  5. 11.
    Paul D. Sheats (ed.) (1982) ‘On the projected Kendal and Windermere Railway’ (1844), The Poetical Works of Wordsworth (Boston: Houghton Mifflin).Google Scholar
  6. 12.
    Paul Veyriras (1964) Arthur Hugh Clough (1819–1861) (Paris: Didier), pp. 280–1: ‘une double audace: celle d’introduire le chemin de fer dans sa poésie trois ans après que Wordsworth eût fulminé contre lui–et celle de considérer qu’un tunnel, un pont, un train, étaient des objets suffisamment poétiques en soi pour pouvoir prêter un peu de leur poésie aux sentiments humains qui leur sont comparés’ (translation mine).Google Scholar
  7. 13.
    [William Barnes] (1863) ‘Patmore’s Poems’, Fraser’s Magazine, LXVIII, 130–4 (p. 132).Google Scholar
  8. 18.
    Virginia Woolf (2003) ‘Modern Fiction’, in The Common Reader: Volume I (London: Vintage), p. 150.Google Scholar
  9. 19.
    Anthony Kenny (2005) Arthur Hugh Clough: A Poet’s Life (London: Continuum).Google Scholar
  10. 22.
    H. F. Lowry, A. L. P. Norrington and F. L. Mulhauser (eds) (1951) The Poems of Arthur Hugh Clough, (Oxford: Clarendon Press). All further references to Clough’s poetry are to this edition and are hereafter given in the text.Google Scholar
  11. 25.
    Shirley Chew (1987/2003) Introduction to Arthur Hugh Clough: Selected Poems (Manchester: Fyfield Books/Carcanet), p. 15.Google Scholar
  12. 31.
    Wendell V. Harris (1970) Arthur Hugh Clough (New York: Twayne), p. 118.Google Scholar
  13. 36.
    Quoted by Geoffrey Tillotson, in Geoffrey and Kathleen Tillotson (1965) Mid-Victorian Studies (London: Athlone Press), p. 148.Google Scholar
  14. 38.
    John Goode (1971) ‘1848 and the Strange Disease of Modern Love’, in John Lucas (ed.) Literature and Politics in the Nineteenth Century (London: Methuen), pp. 45–76 (pp. 57–8).Google Scholar
  15. 39.
    John Goode (1969) ‘Amours de Voyage: The Aqueous Poem’, in Isobel Armstrong (ed.) The Major Victorian Poets: Reconsiderations (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul), pp. 275–97 (pp. 290–1).Google Scholar
  16. 40.
    ‘Mr. Clough’s Poems’, National Review, XIII, 310–26. Reprinted in Michael Thorpe (ed.) (1972) Clough: The Critical Heritage (New York: Barnes & Noble), pp. 161–75 (pp. 165–6).Google Scholar
  17. 41.
    C. B. Tinker and H. F. Lowry (eds) (1950) Arnold: Poetical Works (London: Oxford University Press).Google Scholar
  18. 48.
    Carol Christ (1980) ‘Victorian Masculinity and the Angel in the House’, in Martha Vicinus (ed.) A Widening Sphere: Changing Roles of Victorian Women (London: Methuen), pp. 146–62 (p. 147).Google Scholar
  19. 51.
    Herbert Read (1936) ‘Coventry Patmore’, in In Defence of Shelley and Other Essays (London: W. Heinemann), p. 94.Google Scholar
  20. 53.
    See Sister Mary Anthony Weinig (1981) Coventry Patmore (Boston: Twayne), p. 21, and Meynell, p. 24.Google Scholar
  21. 54.
    J. C. Reid (1957) The Mind and Art of Coventry Patmore (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul), p. 58.Google Scholar
  22. 56.
    B. Ifor Evans (1933) English Poetry in the Later Nineteenth Century (London: Methuen), p. 135.Google Scholar
  23. 61.
    Wilkie Collins (2008) Basil (Oxford: Oxford University Press), p. 4.Google Scholar
  24. 66.
    [Coventry Patmore] (1862) ‘William Barnes, The Dorsetshire Poet’, Macmillan’s Magazine, VI, 154–63 (p. 156). A parallel concept to this everyday divinity of Patmore’s is to be found in Markus Poetzsch’s analysis of Romantic poets’ engagement with what he terms the ‘quotidian sublime’ in his 2006 book “Visionary Dreariness”: Readings in Romanticism’s Quotidian Sublime (New York: Routledge).Google Scholar
  25. 68.
    [Coventry Patmore] (1856) ‘New Poets’, Edinburgh Review, CIV, 337–62 (p. 339).Google Scholar
  26. 69.
    [Coventry Patmore] (1857) Review of Aurora Leigh, North British Review, XXVI, 443–62 (p. 454). To be fair, Patmore was basically correct about how exceptional Barrett Browning’s (and Aurora’s) career was at the time; Dorothy Mermin notes that the real-life poet’s biography lent credibility to ‘what would otherwise seem fantasy or wish-fulfillment, her heroine’s accomplishments being no more remarkable than her own’ (Elizabeth Barrett Browning: The Origins of a New Poetry (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1989), p. 220). Of course, that the uniqueness of the example makes it ‘uninteresting’ is a leap not many readers seem to have made alongside Patmore.Google Scholar
  27. 78.
    Things to Be Studied’ (1857), in E. T. Cook and Alexander Wedderburn (eds) (1903–12) The Works of John Ruskin, 39 vols (London: George Allen), VI, p. 227.Google Scholar
  28. 80.
    Deirdre David (1995) ‘“Art’s a Service”: Social Wound, Sexual Politics, and Aurora Leigh’, in Joseph Bristow (ed.) Victorian Women Poets: Emily Brontë, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Christina Rossetti (London: Macmillan), pp. 108–31 (p. 109).Google Scholar
  29. 84.
    For more extensive discussion of the significance of Byron as a precursor to and point of orientation for Barrett Browning and for Aurora Leigh in particular, see Marjorie Stone (2008) ‘Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Victorian Versions of Byron and Wollstonecraft: Romantic genealogies, self-defining memories, and the genesis of Aurora Leigh’, in Andrew Radford and Mark Sandy (eds) Romantic Echoes in the Victorian Era (Aldershot: Ashgate), pp. 123–41Google Scholar
  30. Dorothy Mermin (1993) Godiva’s Ride: Women of Letters in England, 1830–1880 (Bloomington: Indiana University Press).Google Scholar
  31. 91.
    [W. E. Aytoun] (1857) ‘Mrs. Barrett Browning–Aurora Leigh’, Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine, LXXXI, 23–41 (pp. 39, 41).Google Scholar
  32. 93.
    [H. F. Chorley] (1856) ‘Aurora Leigh’, Athenaeum, 22 November, 1425.Google Scholar
  33. 94.
    Arthur Symons (1924) ‘Modernity in Verse’ (1892), Studies in Two Literatures (London: Martin Secker), p. 46.Google Scholar
  34. 95.
    Stone, ‘Genre Subversion and Gender Inversion’, in Reynolds, p. 502. For further discussion of Aurora Leigh’s depiction of cities, see in particular Daniel Karlin’s essay ‘Victorian Poetry of the City: Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s Aurora Leigh’ in Valeria Tinkler-Villani (ed.) (2005) Babylon or New Jerusalem? Perceptions of the City in Literature (New York: Rodopi), pp. 113–23.Google Scholar
  35. 102.
    [William Caldwell Roscoe] (1857) ‘Aurora Leigh’, National Review, IV, 239–67 (p. 254); [Aytoun], p. 34.Google Scholar
  36. 108.
    Reynolds, p. 339 (10–18 December 1856). For comprehensive and nuanced treatments of Barrett Browning’s religious beliefs (including her Swedenborgianism) and their influence on her poetics, see, among others, Linda Lewis (1998) Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s Spiritual Progress: Face to Face with God (Columbia: University of Missouri Press)Google Scholar
  37. Charles Laporte (2011) Victorian Poets and the Changing Bible (Charlottesville, VA: University of Virginia Press)Google Scholar
  38. Karen Dieleman (2012) Religious Imaginaries: The Liturgical and Poetic Practices of Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Christina Rossetti, and Adelaide Procter (Athens, OH: Ohio University Press).Google Scholar
  39. 109.
    Angela Leighton (1986) Elizabeth Barrett Browning (Brighton: Harvester), p. 115.Google Scholar
  40. 111.
    [William Stigand] (1861) ‘The Works of Elizabeth Barrett Browning’, Edinburgh Review, CXIV, 513–34 (p. 533).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Natasha Moore 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Public ChristianityAustralia

Personalised recommendations